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City Manager's Corner
This is the second in a series of articles on Downtown Development Myths and Facts. The Myth I wish to address in this article concerns the overall financial condition of the City of Lindale and specifically how the downtown development is and will impact that condition. I will also comment on what the downtown development will do for Lindale businesses.
The specific MYTH I wish to address is “THE CITY IS BROKE!” If you remember in the last article I used Merriam – Webster’s definition of myth. The dictionary defines a myth as “an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true; an unfounded or false notion; or a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence.” Well the particularly part of that definition which seems most suiting to this myth is “a thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence;” as the source of this myth is purely out of someone’s imagination and totally unfounded on fact.
Here are the facts:
- As of April 19 the General Fund had approximately $2.7 million which included reserves and unspent capital funds.
- The Water fund had approximately $1.3 million in reserves and unspent capital funds.
- The Tax Increment Finance fund had approximately $3.4 million out of an original balance of $5 million.
- Sales Tax revenue is on a trend to be at least $150,000 over 2015 sales tax collections. This is a trend we have witnessed the last five years.
- According to the 2015 Smith County Appraisal District Certified Values total property valuations in Lindale has increased nearly 5% from the 2014 valuations.
The city maintains a fund balance equal to approximately 5 months operating expense. Auditors recommend a minimum of 3 – 6 months reserves depending on capital needs of the City.
- The city has maintained the same tax rate ($.4821) for the past six years.
- According to the Smith County Appraisal District Taxable Values for the City for property within the City of Lindale increased by over 4% in 2016. This is consistent with the growth rate in Smith County and similar to that of Tyler.
- External auditors of the City’s financial statements for the 2014 – 2015 issued an unqualified opinion of the City’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015.
- The City Council reviews financial reports which include all expenditures, debt status, and revenue on a monthly basis. These reports also include the Tax Increment Finance (downtown development) expenditures. The review is conducted as part of the regularly scheduled Council meeting which is open to the public.
- The City’s budget, financial reports and audits are available to the public on the City’s website.
Again facts again totally dispute the myth that “”the city is broke.” The truth is the financial condition of the City of Lindale has never been better and the future economic outlook for our community has never been brighter. So from where do these accusation based on “imaginary or unverifiable beliefs” come…rumors. Meriam – Webster defines rumor as “information or a story that is passed from person to person but has not been proven to be true.” Rumors seem to originate from people who are unwilling to seek out the truth. Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist points out that “there are people who take rumors and embellish them in a way that can be devastating. And this pollution has to be eradicated by people in our business (journalism) as best we can.” I agree with Mr. Woodward, but would add that it is all of our business to eradicate rumors. We all have a right and an obligation to know and share the truth.
We should be proud of the economic condition of our city and the growth which has occurred and which is yet to come. Growth which is well managed means more jobs, higher standards of living, more construction and sales of property, greater business volumes and business starts, and ultimately abetter quality of life for us, our children and grandchildren. The downtown development is one factor in bringing economic growth to our community.
I hope this addresses any questions you may have regarding the financial condition of the city. I am always available to meet with you if you have additional questions. We are also scheduling some public meetings to provide updates on the status of the downtown development project, so please check our website and Facebook page for the times and locations of those meetings. I will discuss the timeline on the project in the next article. I planned to discuss it in this article, but felt the need to provide the facts concerning the financial condition of the city first.