Vote NO on Rockwall Bond Proposition 3 – Historic Downtown Fire Protection
ROCKWALL – Numerous buildings in the six blocks surrounding Rockwall’s historic Downtown Square are old and need fire protection equipment installed inside each business location, including underground fire lines, main feeds, risers, branch lines and sprinklers.
By passing Rockwall Bond Proposition 3, taxpayers would authorize the City to sell a bond – meaning borrow – $1.6 million to update and install the proposed fire protection improvements.
That amount would be paid back through sales tax revenues, but could increase property taxes by eight percent, or four cents per $100 valuation, if there is no growth in the local tax base and the bond is issued in a single year rather than phased as the projects are completed over a five-year period.
Fortunately, sales taxes have increased by about eight percent thus far in 2012, City Finance Director Mary Smith told a Rockwall Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting group yesterday. Sales tax grew by about six percent in 2011, she added. Projections are that revenues will continue at a similar pace.
It makes sense to seemingly everyone that we’ve talked to that the infrastructure be updated, including the proposed underground fire lines, main feeds, risers and branch lines. The City typically pays for the installation of infrastructure for all new businesses.
What does not make sense is for taxpayers to have to pay for the sprinkler systems, which makes up about $800,000 – nearly half – of the proposed bond amount, according to Rockwall City Manager Rick Crowley. Paying for sprinkler systems – equipment and installation – is normally the responsibility of building and business owners.
Since we have not yet heard one good reason why the City should go into debt by nearly $1 million to pay for sprinkler systems that building/business owners should themselves pay for, we recommend you vote “AGAINST” Proposition 3 on Election Day, May 12, or during early voting which continues through May 8.
Hopefully a new bond proposition will be given to voters soon, which calls only for the $800,000 or so to pay for the infrastructure installation alone. We would then recommend passage.
By J.J. Smith, Publisher