By Pat Stacey
Both ballot initiatives dealing with alcohol sales in Smith County have passed and soon both the City of Tyler and Smith County and other municipalities will be the beneficiaries of an estimated total of more than 4-million dollars in tax revenue. The big question now is, what will the city and county do with the money? The impact probably won't truly be felt until next year but these are real dollars that can have real impact. Most of these government groups have already met on what kinds of changes in zoning and permits will need to go into effect but they have not started debating the use of the revenue. Most of the tax rates in east Texas are low compared to other areas of the state and while everyone loves a tax rate reduction, we really need improved services and infrastructure improvements from this money before anything else. Things like roads, law enforcement, sanitation services and others are critical in some areas already because they were cut when the recession hit and have not been restored to pre-recession levels. So residents in these areas need to be aware and tell their elected officials how to invest the revenue back into the community. Otherwise, re-election dreams based on big tax cuts will be the order of the day. This new revenue needs to be used for the improvement of the community and it will make for a Better East Texas.