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David Tuthill

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10/28/06 I'm voting against all 12 propositions.

I happened to be cruising the cable channels the other day and came across the
Dallas City Council meeting. 

It was no surprise that the topic was another tax abatement,  this time for the developer of Pinnacle Park project.  Despite the success of this development, certain council members were hell bent on granting yet another tax abatement for this project.

As I read The Dallas Morning News, hardly a week goes by when the city council is there ready to grant yet another tax abatement to a developer.  This is despite the disproportionant amount of tax revenues coming from residential property as opposed to commercial/business property.

Last week, the council wrestled with Dean and the questionable relationship between Dean and Councilman Blaydes.  The $500.000.00 was chicken feed to some on the council.  It is no surprise since the residential taxpayer foots the bill.  This is not new.

The city can't control itself in its attempts to please well financed developers.  One would think certain council members would show more discretion in regard to their travels on the city's wallet.

When I attended a town hall meeting on the bond proposal, the aura was like a big party:  "Look at all the money we have.  Help us spend it".   No word from the city that this is taxpayers' money and we will be footing the bill, no complete disclosure about the estimated tax burden to a homeowner would have pay.  The estimates conveniently omitted the greater than 10% per year the Dallas County Appraisal District increases the value of your home

There is
no real assurance bond money would be spent as intended and not diverted to other projects such as the over budgeted suspension bridges that will grace the flood plains of the Trinity River.

This brings to mind several points:

1) Councilman Mitchell Rasansky suggested to his colleagues that the voters be allowed to approve the suspension bridges.   This idea died a quiet death due to lack of a second.  Of course, those who support this project would not want a vote due to the distinct possibility of it not passing.  No voting is just as effective as a no vote in when the project would be turned down.
2) Councilman Rasansky warned during the Pinnacle Park tax abatement discussion that sooner or later the taxpayers would revolt.  Some time ago, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal regarding various municipalities being sued by taxpayers.   This may be the only way to get your elected officials' attention.  Perhaps a tax revolt is in order after reading about and watching the council dole out developer abatements down at city hall.
3) I wonder where I can get my own personal abatement too.   After all if developers get them like candy at Halloween then why can't the residential taxpayers get one too?  After all we live here too.  It is our city too.  Oh. but I forgot that the city of Dallas' slogan is "Dallas owned by developers".

Needless to say, I am saddened to have to vote against the upcoming bond proposals because because tax abatements and shuffling of bond monies is
standard operating procedure down at city hall.  

If the city council showed more control of itself in tax abatements, if they had a stricter form of ethics, and if there was more assurance that the bond monies would go to the projects where they were intended, I might have been more receptive to the price tag of OVER A BILLION DOLLARS!

Whatever happened to the FBI investigation?

David W. Tuthill





  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8