Council Debates Using Money Set Aside For Debt

The Longview City Council agrees the roads need to be widened and fire stations need to be moved.  However, when it comes to how they'll pay for it,  some of the possibilities have some council members worried they'll lose credibility.

The city of Longview has already set aside $8 million to pay off debt, but councilman Jay Dean wants to use that money now to pay for capital improvement needs. However, Mayor Pro Tem, Karen Hailey doesn't like the idea.

"The problem with the $8 million is that some of it did come from drainage and other places to be collectively used to pay off debt over the next three years," says Karen.

Karen says the issues of widening Reel Road and moving fire stations should be a tax payer decision. "The capital improvements projects are always taken to the people to vote on."

"They're wanting the citizens to make their decision for them. They know what the correct decision is, but they're saying, let me put it off on somebody else to make the decisions. We were elected to make decisions like this," says Dean.

Karen says if the council does in fact use the debt retirement money to fund these capital improvements, they'll lose credibility with the public. Jay Dean says the citizens are more worried about doing what's best for the city. "Where we're going to lose credibility is if we have something right out in front of us that is so easy to see and understand and we choose not to take the correct path."

The capital improvement decision has already been tabled twice by disagreeing council members. It's scheduled for meeting three, next week on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Amy Tatum reporting.