Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Letters to the Editor

April 30, 2011

Questions about JEDCO’s money

JACKSONVILLE — I would like to elaborate as to why I spoke before the Jacksonville City Council on April 12, 2011.  It was to bring attention to the council that the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation is not following state guidelines when giving out tax dollars.  I wanted the council to hear my concerns regarding the usage of the ½ cent sales tax that JEDCO oversees.  You see JEDCO tends to play by its rules.  They continue to close the door when the city manager & council go before them for assistance with projects or needs.  For instance, plans to renovate the softball and baseball complex were a dual effort by both the city and JEDCO until the city did not qualify for a grant.  Now JEDCO has tabled the plans until after the mayor election.  When the ladder truck was purchased for the fire department about 5-6 years ago, JEDCO paid for the truck however the city had to pay back JEDCO.  In reality, the tax paying citizens of Jacksonville paid for that ladder truck twice!

The Jacksonville Economic Development Board of Directors oversees the 4B tax monies.  The JEDCO Board of Directors consists of seven (7) members who are appointed by the City Council.   

Here is a quick lesson between Type A and Type B Sales Tax.  Type A sales tax can fund manufacturing and industrial facilities; and etc.  Type B sales tax can be used for the same purposes as listed for Type A.  In addition, Type B sales tax can also fund retail business incentives; sport and athletic facilities, tourist and convention facilities; public parks; etc.  4B sales tax can be used for streets and roads; public safety facilities and equipment; demolition of existing structures; general municipally owned improvements; etc.  

What has JEDCO generated for Jacksonville in the last 5-10 years?  Who is JEDCO?  Are they committed to pursue business with integrity and in compliance of all laws?  Are they committed to work with the city manager/council? Are they committed to the taxpayers?  If they are not there are options that both the city and the voters can do to intervene with JEDCO: first, the council can replace their appointments and second, the city council can go back to the voters to ask the voters to rescind the ½ tax from JEDCO.

Why can’t JEDCO use our tax monies on other developments?  Wouldn’t it be for the better of the city to have a convention center, new fire stations, new water-lines, a YMCA, new baseball and softball fields?  When you have these new developments you have people wanting to come to Jacksonville to spend money to put on a gun and knife or boat show, an indoor facility to host the Tomato Festival or to host sports tournaments at an athletic complex that can provide quality sports entertainment.  Isn’t this what everyone wants for Jacksonville?

To know more information about economic development and resources, you can go to www.texasahead.org or you can contact you city councilman.  

Phyllis Wilburn,

Jacksonville

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