According to the April/May “Community Impact”, Round Rock residents may get an opportunity to say “No” to more city debt, “No” to wasteful city spending, and “No” to debt without representation.
The last time the city issued new debt was in 2002, about 10 years ago. Ironically, the city is still paying on that debt. Debt service currently constitutes about 10% of the 2012 city budget. That means that, if the city had not issued all that debt, it would have had 10% more money to spend on essential city services today.
According to Fitch Ratings, “overall debt levels remain elevated” for the city of Round Rock.
The city says it needs this new debt because tax income from Dell Corp is lower. This is a bad reason to take on new debt. When normal people see a drop in their income, they normally look to cutting back their expenses. The City of Round Rock, however, wants to take out new loans, making our city fathers seem very unlike normal people.
Also troubling is that it’s not the current residents who will vote in the bond election who will necessarily be paying back these loans. The city council cites the cities growth in the last 10 years, nearly 40,000 new residents, as the reason it needs to max out the credit cards. It is those new residents whose money is paying the debt taken on before they even moved here. It will be residents new and old who will bear the burden of new debt in the future.
The city says it needs this money for parks and outdoor sports facilities. If so, I’m sure users of those facilities would be excited to pay fees to enjoy such things. Alas, we’ll never know. The city proposes to take the money from all of us, if a bit over 5% of Round Rock residents give them the go ahead (turnout in city elections is around 10%). Don’t be one of them. Vote NO on any new bond elections for Round Rock.