AMARILLO - During the Amarillo City Commission meeting Tuesday night, one man spoke to them saying he's against the proposed Certificate of Obligation.
Amarillo resident, Bill Sumerford, was vocal about freezing property taxes for the elderly and disabled. Tuesday, he said he didn't want the commissioners to raise property taxes in order to pay for new fire stations, police department and public health clinic renovations, and new parks. Sumerford believes people should get to vote on the issue first. But, with the Certificate of Obligation, the commission can decide without voters' approval. "I think that the Obligation Certificate that they're talking about is taxation without representation and I think our citizens deserve voting" Sumerford said.
City Commissioner Ron Boyd said taking the time to vote on the issue would only stall plans to improve the city - and those things can't wait he said. "If it's voted down, then what do you do? You never know what's going to happen. These are needs that need to be addressed now and taken care of now" said Boyd. Commissioner Brian Eades added, "And we're not talking about things with frills, and we're not talking about things that are wasteful. These are absolute essentials, and had we done anything less, I think we'd be irresponsible."
Sumerford also pitched the idea of using money from the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation's reserve funds, rather than raise taxes. According to the city commission, using that money is illegal, because rules say that money can only be used if it has to do with developing new business in Amarillo.
The commission will have a public hearing over the Certificate of Obligation issue at their July 10 meeting. Meantime, the public can go before them to talk about their concerns. Then, the city commission and mayor are expected to make a final decision mid-August.