Thursday evening I had a Town Hall meeting and it was well attended by about 130 citizens that wanted to be informed. We covered many subjects, and one of them was the Senior Center. Now Mr. Saunders was in the crowd and he asked the question about how the Senior Center was coming along and what ways could be used to pay for the center:
- The Senior Center has been designed. There has been interest by developers to put senior living around the center and this could be a prime example as to how to build a senior living complex for other cities.
- Where will the center be located? There is about 25 acres at the Pierce Birch site on Green Oaks across the street from the Fire Department Training center
- How will the center be paid for? There are three options:
- Certificates of Obligation could be used. To issue certificates like these it would require a simple vote by Council, and the bonds would be floated and paid for through normal debt retirement. I don’t favor this option because it doesn’t give the people an opportunity to voice their opinion concerning having a Senior Center.
- General Obligation Bonds: This is simply a bond election. It would be put on the ballot and the people would decide if they want their tax money to be spent on a Senior Center. This is a good option.
- Lastly, a ¼ cent sales tax would be voted on to fund an Economic Development Corporation. Which simply means it would go into a fund and a committee of citizens would decide where the money would be spent. This ¼ cent would equate to $14.7 million annually. The cost of the Senior Center would be $37.7 million.
Mr. Saunders then tells people how I support a road diet. The truth is hard to come by with Mr. Saunders. I explained that the narrowing of Lamar was in the 380 agreement dated 2013. You can plainly see on a diagram that Lamar westbound is narrowed. After a traffic study was completed Mr. Kembel approached the city to amend the Thoroughfare Plan. This was met with resistance by some people like Mr. Saunders and Kelly Canon. A Town Hall meeting was held by Mr. Kembel to explain what he was trying to do. Over 200 people were in attendance, and after they heard the plan for the linear park, and the fact that if traffic is a problem he had to return the parking to a second lane for traffic, he posed one question. After hearing the plan how many people support the narrowing? 75% of the people in attendance were in favor of his plan. Then the next evening at Council, the Mayor asked those in favor to stand. Over 60 people stood in support and 3 were in opposition. The Council voted unanimously to approve the plan. I voted to support the people! That is the difference between me and my opponent. You can put whatever spin you want on the outcome, but we live in a democracy. Ms. Canon would have disregarded what the people wanted and done what she wanted regardless of the desires of the citizens. That is the difference between the two candidates. You will have a choice on May 7th. I hope you pick the one that listens to you the people.