Fates of bond proposals unclear in shifting economy - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

TYLER (KLTV)

Fates of bond proposals unclear in shifting economy

Advocates for two east Texas bonds say they are worried.

In November, Smith County voters will have to decide if the upcoming $59.6 million jail bond and a $124.9 million Tyler ISD school bond is worth the increase in their taxes. Some taxpayers worry about affording the bonds, and those for the bonds wonder if we can afford not to pass them.


Financial crisis, bailout and foreclosure.

Words east Texans are hearing a lot of lately as the government tries to solve our country's economic woes.

"Let me tell you what people are telling me, we can't afford this 59.6 million dollars. I can't put gas in the car for my kids to take them the places they need to go. To heck with spending more money in government," said Judge Kent.

In a press conference Thursday, Smith County District Judge Cynthia Kent and the "What Part Of No" committee stressed the concern taxpayers have over paying for a new jail.

Still, advocates for the jail bond say taxpayers have an obligation to their community.

"Criminals are not going to go away with a good economy, or a bad economy. They are going to be here all the time, so we have to look at our long term problem and begin working on them," said Martin Hines.  

That's not the only long term plan Tyler residents have to think about.

There's also the $124.9 million school bond.

If passed, you will start paying for this school bond in 2010.

That year, homeowners will be paying about $140 more per $100,000 of your home's value.

If the Smith County jail bond passes, taxpayers would be out an additional $24 dollars per $100,000.

That adds up to $164.

Former Tyler ISD school board president Andy Bergfeld says he understands the current economic scare, but hopes Tyler voters will think on the local level.

"My priorities would be to pay a little more for our local schools, and we are actually going to see bricks and mortars. I see a return for that in these elementary kids."

Only time will tell.

The $60 million bond is Smith County's third attempt to get a new jail.

The Tyler ISD school bond is the second phase of the district's master plan. It includes five new elementary schools and the St. Louis School.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com  

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