Historically, city leaders in Saginaw have looked to you the voter to decide on projects that would impact your tax rate and cause you to take on debt. With [Tuesday’s] action, that is no longer the case.

Under the mantra “The voters elected us to make decisions for them,” your ability to weigh in on matters directly impacting your taxes is being eroded, and new debt is being issued for projects you have no say in.

Why does this matter?

There are appropriate times (like emergencies) for those of us who have been elected to take matters into our own hands and make decisions, but those times cannot be casual or for the purpose of convenience. I believe that my commitment to you is one of trust, and I believe that trust works both ways.

I firmly trust that if you the voter want your money to be used for city improvements, then you will authorize me to issue the debt in a bond election—just as you trust me not to go out and issue debt simply because I can or because perception makes it convenient.

I very well may be in the minority in our community in my thinking. This is a time where I hear colleagues justify the maximum tax increase permitted by law with the words: “It’s not that much money.” And in the next breath, they name the private organizations that should benefit from revenue or reserves such an increase creates. To me, this behavior is not only a breach of trust but, along with this new casual approach to putting you in debt, it has all the tell-tale signs of a train wreck.

This is a commentary submitted and published with the authors’ permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Patrick Farr

Patrick serves on the Saginaw City Council, Place 2.


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