Amarillo City Council members pulled back last week on a plan to issue $35 million in certificates of obligation for a new city hall following a citizen-led petition and litigation against the plan.

On Tuesday, August 24, the city council voted 4-1 to withdraw the city’s intent to issue the taxpayer-funded debt for a new city hall facility. While the original issuance passed by a vote of 4-1 earlier this summer, a successful citizen-led petition to place the item on the ballot, in addition to pending litigation over the debt issuance, sparked the withdrawal.

The item was a hot topic from the moment it was brought forward by the Amarillo City Council, with opponents of the project noting that a city hall revamp was included in the spending package brought forward in an unsuccessful bond election last November. While that item was handily defeated by voters, the city council pushed forward with the project, seeking the issuance of debt that would still be paid back by Amarillo taxpayers.

With the item tabled for the time being, the petition to place the item on the ballot in November will likely be moot. Voters, however, will still have the opportunity to vote on another tax increase in November, as a proposed 24 percent property tax increase will be on the ballot for Amarillo municipal voters in the November election.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.

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