Something bizarre happened at a recent Colleyville City Council meeting; dissent amongst local officials. In fact, a newly elected member (and a TFR endorsee), Chris Putnam, raised several important questions no one else dared to ask, despite facing angst from colleagues.
The Mayor and Council have been debating redevelopment options for Glade Road for over two years. Originally, the project was sold as a “complete redevelopment”, although many critics insist it amounts to little more than a “beautification” project.
The city is considering four options, with all but one supporting the most expensive proposal, at over $15 million…with a completion date a decade from now.
Even for a city of Colleyville’s modest size, the cost is significant.
But there’s more at stake than just wasted tax dollars, unnecessary indebtedness and a misuse of funds that will not ease traffic congestion.
Components would likely require the city to exercise eminent domain, or forced property confiscation, from private landowners along the road. Along with the redevelopment of Hwy 26, Putnam made the Glade project a major plank of his campaign against moderate incumbent, Stan Hall.
Putnam says he knocked on doors throughout the community to get feedback from residents, including those along Glade. Few supported the plan favored by city officials, none of which were residents affected by this proposal.
“I have supported improving upon problem intersections along Glade. In fact, the council already approved a remedy”, stated Putnam. “But I am not going to tie up residents for over a decade, forcibly take their property, only to spend $15 million mainly on medians, trails and sidewalks. These won’t improve traffic flow and I have yet to hear from an affected citizen [along Glade] that supports this proposal…Furthermore, wasting money on this project will likely force the city to incur unnecessary debt for Hwy 26 and other projects, which itself isn’t a road expansion and is, instead, riddled with wasteful beautification components…It’s also primarily a responsibility of the State [of Texas].”
Citizens circled a petition opposing the Glade project, which garnered approximately 1000 signatures, or more than is required to place the measure on a ballot referendum before voters. The final signatures were gathered the weekend prior to the board meeting, where a decision on any measure was tabled in the face of vocal opposition from Putnam and some residents.
He says he supports a more modest proposal that would save taxpayers $12 million, and could be completed in approximately one year. This would allow for TIF and general-purpose funds to be repurposed in support of other projects of both higher priority and of greater utility to residents.
We’ve previously covered how citizens can be most effective by engaging at the state and local level. It’s our duty as citizens, to not only hold our current officials accountable, but to exercise diligence in whom we elect at all levels of government.
Texas currently has the second-highest, local debt per capita in the nation.
It’s essential that citizens elect principled leaders, like Putnam, who are unafraid to take a critical, common sense approach when spending your family’s hard-earned money…especially in the face of attacks by those who will not!
*This article has been updated since it was originally published on July 1st, 2014.