The countdown for Wichita Falls city bond election is moving along and with May 5th around the corner, both sides of the spectrum are taking their stand to inform the public how they should vote soon.
On Thursday, both held events to explain what they think is best for the future of the city. In what the Chamber of Commerce says has been their biggest event yet, they released their economic development plan as another incentive to vote on the propositions. The opposition on the other hand, says many tax payers have had enough.
Before graduating from Midwestern State University, Michael Olaya says he’s moved back and forth to bigger cities but couldn’t help to come back to Wichita Falls.
“I’m here to talk about why this new economic development plan matters. Why these bonds matter,” Olaya said.
With the momentum in downtown and beyond, Olaya says he couldn’t help but to launch his startup here and he says he’s ready to see Wichita Falls thrive some more.
“We’re watching to see, is the city going to invest in the long term future of this city? Is it willing to take on the burden of responsibility of building a place that is great to live at?”
With a lot of talk about the bond election, Olaya says the conversations are a healthy sign. On the other side of the debate, if it all passes, Kevin Hunter says a 23 percent tax hike raises concerns.
“I am not against all seven,” Hunter said. “There’s some that probably need to happen but I think, do we trust the city right now with our spending?”
Hunter has lived in Wichita Falls his entire life and as a property owner already paying taxes following the county jail bond, he says the budget is already tight.
It’s why Hunter and several other residents are teaming up to turn the bonds down.
“Who’s going to pay for all of this? You know, is it going to be the people that are left? Is it going to be the younger generation and these lower paying jobs if the better paying jobs don’t come?”
Hunter says with many propositions expected to be paid off within a 20 to 30 year time frame, the bond would be a burden not only current property owners but future taxpayers down the line. He worries that jobs won’t come as promised if the bonds pass.
“The jobs would have to be here for the people to come,” Hunter said. “They have to be able to pay the bills and make a living and I am all for that better quality of life but we’ve got to treat it like a private enterprise.
Hunter also says residents against the bond are for some of the concepts on the ballot.. However, he says there could be better ways of funding projects on the ballot.
To look at the latest economic development plan, click here.