Figuring out how to best spend the remainder of the 2007 parks bonds budget was on the mind of the Hays County Commissioners Court in today’s meeting.County Judge Elizabeth Sumter asked for the agenda item, which stated, “Discussion and possible action to adopt the ‘vision statement’ agreed upon by CPAT [Citizen’s Parks Advisory Team] and set aside the remaining balance of parks bond funds for implementing the ‘vision’.”
In 2007 Hays County voters approved $30 million in bonds for parks and open space. $12 million has already been spent. The ‘vision’ the court was considering is, “Hays County will focus the remaining bond funds on projects that secure lands that best fulfill the water protection, open space, water access and habitat protection objectives set forth in the ballot language and campaign materials.”
Sumter backed the ‘vision’ stating that, “It’s time we honored what the voters voted for.”
The court, however, appeared more cautious, which led to a debate over what the voters want and what has already been done. The entire court seemed to like the ‘vision’ but opinions varied on how to best spend the money. Precinct 4 Commissioner Karen Ford asked openly what the hurry was and stated, “I’m not ready to put a number on what were willing to dedicate,” adding that the language should be embraced but funding should be held off until the court sees, “what comes through the door.” Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton pointed out that while the polling that had been done on the issue was important it, “wasn’t gospel”, adding that things like polls are often a snapshot of opinions on certain days.
Sumter then stated that she was disappointed but was willing to negotiate. “I think it’s great to endorse the vision but we ought to put our money where our mouth is,” said Sumter.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley put forth a motion that a minimum of $13 million be allocated towards this ‘vision’ which passed. Newstreamz will be following up on this issue in a separate story within the next few days.
In other business the court approved a 35 mph speed limit on Bunton Lane and ordered the extension of all traffic rules that apply to Hays County roads to those in the Ruby Ranch subdivision.
The court is also seeking public input on ways to cut energy costs and fuel consumption throughout the county, as it pertains to county business. Sumter stated that she wanted to “plant a seed” among members of the court on this topic.
Sumter had recently attended a workshop where many counties had cut their workweek down to 4 days for most offices. No action was taken at this time but the court would like for the public to make its opinion known. Contact information for the court can be found at the county website, www.co.hays.tx.us
Commissioners Court will not meet next week due to summer scheduling. The next meeting will be at 9 AM on July 22nd. The public is always welcome to attend and offer comment.
By SEAN WARDWELL