It's Not About Parks but Public Money

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 2, 2005

Dear Editor:
    Last week, after Hays County Commissioners Court narrowly approved a $100,000 grant for Belterra subdivision parks, County Judge Jim Powers is quoted as saying, “We are a pro-park people” and “What’s sad is when we get into a situation where the developer is involved and parks are bad things.” Powers' comments followed a 3-2 vote in which he voted to give public parks money to a high-end residential developer.
    Parks are not bad things, but using public money to subsidize a developer’s subdivision is.
    Putting a positive spin on a bad precedent is nothing more than 2006 election politicking by Powers and by Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Molenaar, who sponsored the agenda item simply to curry Belterra votes. Molenaar desperately needs to curry votes after his wasteful Nutty Brown Road fiasco, locally known as “Molenaar’s Folly.”
    County grants administrator Richard Salmon has leveraged the taxpayers’ parks bond money 4-1 in an outstanding series of public park projects. For every dollar contributed by the county, others contributed $4. The Commissioners Court unanimously approved each of these public parks. This time the Belterra developer scammed county taxpayers with help from Powers and Molenaar.
    Kudos to commissioners Debbie Ingalsbe and Susie Carter for voting in the public interest by voting against this project. Shame on Commissioner Will Conley, who voted for this project and failed to heed his own words about upholding the county’s parks bond reputation with reputable projects.
Charles O'Dell
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