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Section A: General News


Citizens petition against county debt




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Wilson County News
July 10, 2013 | 2,604 views | 28 comments

(Revised 7/14/13) Wilson County citizens concerned about the county government’s plan to issue certificates of obligation for courthouse repairs and other capital projects have started a petition drive.

Mike Abbott of Sutherland Springs has taken the lead in circulating a petition to put to the ballot the proposed $8.5 million in certificates of obligation. The funds would finance courthouse restoration and renovation, renovations and construction of Courthouse Annex No. 3, and more. See “What do you get for $8.5 million?” at right.

“I wasn’t pushing for a petition,” Abbott told the Wilson County News. “It’s a principled matter, the difference between certificates of obligation and a bond election. One -- a bond election -- asks for permission. The other, certificates of obligation, is more like a mandate -- we’re going to do this project and you’re going to pay for it.”

According to the petition organizers, “This is not a petition against the repair of our courthouse or against any of the issues that the county cites for this debt, but rather, a petition that will allow the voters to decide. ... If this goes unchallenged, it will be the largest debt instrument ever issued by any government in Wilson County without voter approval.”

Poth Mayor Travis Pruski supports the petition drive.

“I don’t think the government -- city, county, or federal -- should ever go into debt,” Pruski said. “If this is the only way to stop it [the certificates of obligation], then we will.” Pruski addressed the commissioners June 24, urging the county to pursue other means of financing the projects.

The Wilson County Commissioners Court, however, voted 4-1 to approve moving forward with the debt. Pct. 1 Commissioner Albert Gamez cast the dissenting vote. (See “County one step closer to issuing $8.5M in debt,” June 26.)

“It’s only right for the people of Wilson County to have a voice,” Gamez said about the petition. “It’s $8.5 million and they have a right to decide what we want for the courthouse. It’s not up to the commissioners court. The people should decide.”

County Judge Marvin Quinney maintained the need to act quickly to secure funds for the courthouse repairs and capital projects.

“We’ve had input from across the county and the majority of citizens want to know when they’re getting their courthouse back,” he said. “Many also are interested in improving the library. But with interest rates about to rise, any delay can cost us dearly. We need to act quickly. It can cost us $1 million if interest goes up 1 point. And a bond election will cost the county about $15,000.”

Pct. 4 Commissioner Larry Wiley said he was aware of the petition drive.

“If the citizens want to do that, they certainly have every right,” he said, offering no further comment.

“This is not an attack on the projects or on any elected official,” Abbott stressed. “But we don’t want to set a precedent for any political subdivisions in the future. ... I think the process is incorrect. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.”

“When the petition succeeds,” Abbott said, the county will have time to get a bond election before voters on ballots for the Nov. 5 election.

What do you get for $8.5 million?

According to the text of the notice regarding the proposed debt during the June 24 Wilson County Commissioners Court meeting, the sale of the certificates will pay contractual obligations for:

•Restoration and renovation of the Wilson County Courthouse

•Renovation, construction, and equipping of the Wilson County Courthouse Annex No. 3 for a criminal justice center, county library, and county offices

•Renovation and equipping of the existing Sam Fore Jr. Wilson County Public Library for county offices

•Construction and equipping of a county animal shelter

•The payment of professional services and the cost of issuing the certificate.

The debt will be repaid from the annual levy of ad valorem taxes.


For more information about the petition, contact Mike Abbott at 210-844-8108 or maa4041questnow@aol.com, or visit www.facebook.com/MakeItAVote?fref=ts.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
Michael Abbott  
Sutherland Springs, TX  
July 31, 2013 1:10pm
 
NEW SIGNUP LOCATIONS: Poth: Germania Insurance - Through Friday (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.) Farmer's Gin - Through Friday (7 a.m. - 7 p.m.) Kosciusko: Pruski's Feed & Seed - Through Friday (7 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

 
Michael Abbott  
Sutherland Springs, TX  
July 20, 2013 7:05pm
 
Special sign up event: Tomorrow, Sunday the 21st La Vernia Busy Bear 8am-2pm

 
I told you so  
adkins tx  
July 18, 2013 10:34am
 
well well all you voters had a chance to change the commissioner court but you decided to stick with the good ole boys well I told you so hee hee enjoy you tax increase!

 
Never going to change  
poth  
July 18, 2013 7:03am
 
Mr abbott any comment from your commissioner morales

 
Its Me  
Over Here  
July 18, 2013 12:07am
 
Is there a total on the signatures collected so far?

 
Michael Abbott  
Sutherland Springs, TX  
July 17, 2013 11:56pm
 
Sign up events this week are: 1)Sutherland Springs - Valero/SS Stop Thurs. 5:30pm-8:30pm 2)Floresville - Photos by Jim C St. Sat. 9am-12pm 3)La Vernia - Busy Bear Restaurant Sat. 8am-2pm

 
Michael Abbott  
Sutherland Springs, TX  
July 16, 2013 10:10pm
 
Something to think about..... Elected officials have to go to you, the voter, to get voted into the position to where they then, don't have to ask your permission concerning YOUR money? What's wrong with this picture???

 
Michael Abbott  
Sutherland Springs, TX  
July 16, 2013 7:03pm
 
Change of plans... Sign up event tonight has moved to the Valero/SS Stop in Sutherland Springs until 10:00pm. Sorry for the inconvenience.

 
Michael Abbott  
Sutherland Springs, TX  
July 16, 2013 5:51pm
 
This just in... A petition sign up event will be at the Sutherland Springs Ballpark located at 6th & 11th Streets starting at 6:30pm - 10:00pm tonight Tues. July 16th. This is a good opportunity for voters from La Vernia, ... More ›

 
Michael Abbott  
Sutherland Springs, TX  
July 16, 2013 2:24pm
 
Please use the Facebook link above at the end of the article...it is working.

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