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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
February 6, 2003     Hays Free Press
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February 6, 2003

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February 6, 2003 More Editorial Page Mayor-council government- closest to the people BY BOB MATH]IS Buda City Administrator Isuspect many you me to expected of address the rollback election results and the impact on the city budget and services. Sorry to disappoint you, but I think that there are a number of issues equal to, if not more important than, the rollback election. One major lesson learned from the rollback election is that we have to do a better job at keeping Buda citizens informed and, more importantly, involved in the decisions affecting them. While we are making strides in that endeavor, we need to go farther. My question to you is "how?" Having an election for each major decision is not practical. That is why the mayor/council form of government was established. By design this form of gov- ernment is closest to the public and should allow the governing body to reflect the will of the people. It should represent the opinion of the majority and not just the active. The city council will be addressing a number of key issues over the next sev- eral months that will have a tremendous impact on the city. First, we are in negotiations with the Winfield Municipal Utility District. This will define growth on the east side of IH-35 for years to come. Second, water and waste water rates need to be addressed. Both of these revenue funds are supposed to reflect the actual expenses that are incurred by the city to provide services and to expand or upgrade infrastructure. Third, how do we structure next year's budget? We need to know what your priorities are and we need to explain what we see as priorities. The budget process should be more than do "we want a increase in property taxes?" It should be a require- ments based budget and those require- ments validated through your input. Many of you have been reading about the petition to establish the Winfield Municipal Utility District (MUD) on what is commonly referred to as the A&M/Heep Property. While only a small section is within Buda's ETJ, the entire development will have impact upon the city. Within Buda's ETJ the proponents of this project would build approximately 1,200 single and multi-family homes and 373 retail establishments. While this is within our ETJ, the homes and retail facility inside a MUD do not necessarily come inside the city limits. This is extremely criti- cal to the city's finances since we may not be able to collect sales or property taxes. The city council and Buda's staff is in the midst of negotiating an agree- ment that will protect our financial base. On Feb 24,we hope'to present a proposal to the city council for its con- sideration. In the very near future each of you will be receiving a letter concerning the water and waste water rates. As was dis- cussed during the budget process, there is a need to raise both in order to meet the existing level of service and to pay for the infrastructure upgrades and expansion. The city will need to procure additional waste water capacity, additional water wells, and expand a number of our ser- vice lines to meet future demand. I hope the rollback elec- tion drove home the need for better communication on the part of the city and more involvement by the citizens in the budget process. That process begins this month. The city staff is already reviewing last year's budget and rev- enue projections for next year. Your input is critical. We will be sending out a newsletter in March highlighting the city staff's recommended projects. You need to provide the council your thoughts while they are deliberating the budget. The mayor/council form of gov- ernment provides you the best opportunity to participate in city policies. The council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month, cur- rently at the Buda Elementary Cafeteria at 7 p.m. Hopefully, we will be in our new building the first of April. Please plan on attend- ins. I strongly support this bond issue Dear Editor: This past Saturday I received a flyer on my mailbox proclaiming "No 2003 Bonds!" As I read through this flyer I was saddened by the concerns and alternatives listed in this document. It occurred to me that the information presented is the same backward think- ing that has made Hays High School such a mess of random buildings. My grandson proudly attends Hays High School, but he deserves a better , learning environment than he has now. In fact, all students in this district ' deserve better school facilities than they have now. I am one of thousands who have moved to this area within the past few years -- I love this communi- ty and the friends I have made here. Driving through my neighborhood, I know many more just like me are com- ing. We must have the schools for the children that are here today and those that are coming tomorrow. I strongly suPport this bond issue because I think building new schools and renovating existing schools is the right thing to do for all segments of the community. The absolute best state- ment a community can make about their quality of life is "We have great schools and we support all of our stu- dents!" I encourage everyone in the Hays CISD to vote yes on February 22nd. Sincerely, Rosemary EbeB Kyle Pushed to the 'heights of envy and the depths of shame' To the Editor: About 40 years ago, a tax paying gentleman of Buda wrote a letter to his school board to "lodge a protest" regarding their spending practices. The writer of the letter had been connected to the school system for 24 years, first as a student, then as teacher, bus driver, coach, principal and, finally, as super- The approval of the proposed bond intendent. He told of his efforts and package will help speed up a drive that those of others to serve the district sac- will push the Hays School District, like rificially, "rewarded by the achieve- Enron, to the "heights of envy and the merits of a great number of citizens." depths of shame." He said there was no sacrifice in the Opal Kay, quality of teaching. 'Teaching does not Buda consist of gadgets, buildings and unlimited athletic equipment; the learn- ing process requires 3 elements: a good We need teacher, a wing pupil enough better schools time for study." He told of earlier board members' response to his requests while serving as superintendent as Dear Voters of Hays County: always being: "Can we pay for them" You've heard it all. We need a new or "Do we need something else more?" high school. The elementary schools He voiced respect for prior school are overcrowded. Hays High needs boards' policies because they passed on work. You've probably heard it so often to their successors a sound financial that you have started tuning it out, not structure with no floating debts or out- even hearing it. Well, my goal is to standing warrants. In his letter of make you hear it and understand how protest, he told the Buda school board important voting yes is. that their current spending policies I can understand how parents don't were "wrecking the financial structure want to vote for the bond, but our of the district and that he was asking schools desperately need the money the them for 4 things: bond can supply. Taxes affect you here (1) "Tak e another hard look at an d now, but going to great schools and where we, are headed" .... ,., a; great education.affects your (2) "Slow down unlimited spend- child's entire life. Resisting a small tax ing" increase should not be more important (3) "Pay as you go" than getting the best education you can (4) "Don't ruin us who make our for your child. True, taxes are already living here by doubling our taxes" high enough, but consider this; if you This week I read an article offering knew that the extra four dollars a a warning to Americans about the road month this bond will make you pay was we are following in relation to morali- going directly to further your child's ty, integrity and greed. The article was education, would you vote yes? Every based on Houston minister Chris penny you pay will go to providing bet- Seay's new book, The Tao of Enron. ter schools, and your children will be The quotation which hit home for me attending these schools. and should wake up tax payers was Now to address some of youno-vot- this: "When affluence and material ers who don't have children. Do you prosperity become our all consuming want to be one of those people who sit goal, greed takes the wheel and drives and grumble about how this generation the whole speeding convoy over a doesn't know a thing about anything? cliff." What can you do to avoid this? The warning given to the Buda Children with better schools are bound School Board by R.C. Barton in 1963 to learn more, and therefore not mess that "their actions were wrecking the up as often. How can you provide bet- solid financial structure of a school dis- ter schools? By voting yes for the bond. trict which took 50 years of struggle It may seem like a long shot, but you and sacrifice to build" applies extreme- have to start somewhere. If I could, I ly well to the present Hays CISD would personally introduce each of you school .board. Administrators and to the elementary students in my sis- school board members have been busy ter's class who have no desks. Maybe tearing down structures they fmd aes- seeing a drenched student come into thetically displeasing without regard to math class one winter day would help the question: Can tax payers afford it? persuade you that covered sidewalks Pro-School Bond, from page 4 designed to hold 650 students, miles from IH35. Our teachers and staff do a tremendous job, given the openness of this cam- pus, preventing any undesirable people on this campus; but there is a lot of access to the campus. These are just a few of the prob- lems we deal with on a daily basis with our current situation at Hays High School. We are excited about the opening of our Phase 1 building that will open in the very near future. On February 6, 2003 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. you are invited to come and see. It is a Students currently eat oufside and inside. This is great when the weather is nice, but is a real problem on cold, hot or bad weather days. Our old buildings have seen their day. I am sure in the hey- days of the 1960s, 70s and 80s these buildings were very func- tional. Ask our teachers that teach in these buildings current- ly just how functional they are to meet the advanced technolog- ical education demands of today. You will hear stories of first-class, high-tech building. It is the way a high school today should be to meet the needs of our stu- dents' education. The Completion Phase adds new classrooms and incorporates the most recently built build- ings into one school. The upcoming bond on which you will vote February 22, 2003, determines if we complete Hays High School through power failures, no air condition- state-of-the-art, ing or heat, leaking roofs, lack of security due to poor locks, and no two-way communication to the office building. The size and openness of the present Hays High campus also presents a real security issue. We are no longer a campus out in the country with nothing around. We are surrounded by community and subdivision growth, and we are just a few Phases 2 and 3. This Completion Phase brings Hays High School all under the one roof concept. Students will not have to change classes in inclement weather. The new classrooms are designed to meet the needs of the high-tech educational programs we have to offer our students. The build- ing will have room to accom- modate 2,500 students in a much more condensed, control- lable, secure area, with ample space allowed for education programs. The cafeteria will" be enlarged to meet the demands of 2,500 students. Most importantly, this com- pletes the renovation of Hays High School into a totally new, first class, high school, one in which this community, our stu- dents and staff will have much pride. Your vote will determine if we will continue to add to the hodge-podge concept we have had over the last 30 years by not completing the improve- are needed at Hays High. I hope you can see we need new schools now, let alone in the future. If enough people get out and vote yes, I could be in a much improved high school before I graduate. If you still want to vote no, it's your decision. My life focuses on getting the best educa- tion I can, but hey, I need your help. Sincerely Cat Swanson Freshman, Hays High School I must say NO To the Editor: Like most citizens of the school dis- trict, it is clear to me which direction I should take with respect to the upcom- ing bond issue. I can say that I have been impressed with the presentation made by Bryce Bales and Tommy Seargeant. They ref- erence their data in such a way that one can verify what they are saying. It is disappointing to me that those who support the bond have resorted, altogether too often, to tactics which turn the debate into a personality issue. I am wondering why so many of our administrators live outside the school district. It bothers me that our debt per student is so high when compared with school districts who are in comparable situations. Not once have those who support the bond issues said publicly that the figures and conclusions of Mr. Bales and Mr. Seargeant are wrong or that their conclusions are inaccurate ... they tend to change the subject. Lastly, it appears that the school board must believe the data presented by Mr. Bales and Mr. Seargeant and have reached the conclusion that there is no urgency in building classrooms, Why else would they have remodeled the football stadium before building classrooms? Why would they have torn down classrooms before building their replacements. I have not been given answers to these questions. Until I get those answers I will vote against the upcom- ing bond. Russel Law, Buda ments, or whether it will be done right, and a new 5A high school, that meets modern day needs, is constructed. The growth is coming; fast or slow, it is coming. Take a ride anywhere in our district and you will see it. Houses and subdivisions are popping up all over. It hasn't stopped. This bond package also includes another middle school, two elementary schools, Phase 2 of Lehman HighSchool, plus major improvements to all existing campuses, as well as completing the renovation of Hays High School. All is need- ed to meet the student growth of this district and continue to make the education of our youth in Hays CISD a major priority in this community. Thank you for reading this and for your support. Please vote ! Carl Hall Principal Hays High School It's time for you to know the facts Dear Editor: It is amazing to me to see what lengths soma people will go to and try to convince you that this bond package should be voted down. Since I am on the commit- tee that put together this package, let me tell you the 'acts" so that you can make an informed decision. I. Currently; Fucntes, Hemphill, Kylc Elementary and Tom Green have a com- bined student population of 3,200+ stu- dents for buildings designed to hold 2,600 students, these schools are overcrowded. This is a fact. 2. The committee decided to put Phase fl and Phase Ill of Hays High School in this package to cut down the con- struction time by several years, thereby increasing the quality of education. This is a fact. 3. Since the 2001 bond election, there have been over 20 new subdivisions in Hays County, mostly congregating in the Kyle area. This is a fact. 4. Even in a downward economy, peo- ple from the Austin and surrounding areas are moving to our community, because of the quality of life we offer. This is a fact. 5. There is an independent communi- ty oversight committee whose sole pur- pose is to monitor the 2001 bond money being spent to ensure financial responsibility. This is a fact. 6. The current school board has been voted as one of the best in Texas for their hard work and dedication to the commu- nity that they represent. This is a fact. There are more "Facts" that can be listed in this short letter but space limita- tions do not allow for this. One thing that you might want to keep in mind is that if you are a homeowner and you itemize your deductions and your in the 27% Income Tax Bracket, that when the actual rate on the bonds gets to .675 per $100 valuation, you effectively will pay about .495 per $100 valuation because the govemment allows you to deduct real estate .taxes on your return, thereby, actually saving you tax dollars ! I urge you to join me and vote "YES" to the bonds. Eugene S. Lusby, CPA Buda County Governing, from page 4 Inglesbe and Susie Carter for their dissenting vote last week, although we must add that Carter's subsequent attack on Walther is not justified. Our criticism of Commissioners Bill Burnett and Russ Molenaar is muted by the fact that they are apparently just looking for someone to handle the administrative task that in the past has been satisfactorily per- formed by former county judges, ranging from Eddy Etheredge to Don Rains to Bud Bumett to Max Smith to Charlle Decker to W'ill Burnett and clear back to Henry Cheatham. If the county is going to pay Walther an extra $22,000 for tak- ing on the role that traditional is handled by the county judge, then it seems just and proper to reduce the pay of County Judge forms the ceremonial duties of the office well. He won re- election by about 55 percent, although he might not have made it if the voters had known that a portion of his duties were going to be passed off two months afterwards to a non- elected official. These are tough economic times. The jaundiced new lead- ers of state government seem set on cutting back on state aid to our public schools and the governor is diverting road funds that should go to the much needed extension to the Interstate of FM 1626 because he has a pet road project else- where. We are already paying approximately $269,000 in salaries for the operations of the commissioners court. Jim Powers by a like amount, or Another hit, even if it is only a at least to what we pay our coun- paltry $22,000, is pushing this ty commissioners, new version of so-called con- Judge Powers is a friendly servative county government and affable fellow and he per- beyond justifiable limits.