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Council should support voters' decision

By BY PAUL POLASEK
June 11, 2012 at 1:11 a.m.

Paul Polasek

Recently, I witnessed one of the most disappointing events during my service on city council when several council members attempted to overturn the will of the voters by not ratifying the results of the recent charter amendments election. On May 12 of this year, the public was asked to vote on 17 amendments to the city charter. Mr. Hagan, along with several other council members and Mr. Pruitt maintain the citizens did not understand proposition 5. I beg to differ.

What was Proposition 5 addressing? Proposition 5 was merely a clean-up amendment to the charter to remove obsolete language, please note that Article 7244c, Section 1, V.T.C.S. (Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes) was repealed in 1982 by the Texas Legislature with the passage of Chapter 26 of the Texas Tax code, which later developed into the "Truth in Taxation" law. Continuing to reference a statute that no longer is in force confused Mr. Pruitt and many others and cost you, the City of Victoria taxpayers in staff time and extra attorney fees. As a practical matter and cost saving measure, this charter language really needed to be removed, and the voters agreed on May 12th.

What is the effect of removing the language? There is no real effect, since the statute referenced is not in force. Keep in mind that even though the truth in taxation law allowed the city to potentially increase the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate up to 8 percent, it has never been increased more than 5 percent since 1982 due to the will of the voters as expressed by the charter and a respect for reasonable limits on taxation. Again, the referenced statute was no longer in effect! That is what I meant in my comments at a recent council meeting about the language in the charter having "no teeth."

Tuesday night, it was the duty of the City Council to ratify the changes that the voters agreed with. I know that the will of the voters cannot be overturned. This concept is so basic to our democratic form of government that there should not have even been an attempt to try. I am of the opinion voters understood proposition 5, even if Mr. Hagan and Mr. Pruitt did not understand it. This is evidenced by the fact of all the propositions, No. 5 passed with one of the highest margins of all the propositions, with 80.1 percent of votes cast in favor and only 19.9 percent against. It is a time honored tradition among voters to disagree with how an election turned out, but that result cannot be changed.

Please contact Mayor Armstrong, David Hagan, Joe Truman, Josephine Soliz and Emett Alvarez and let them know that your vote is not to be overturned at their will. Thank you for taking your time to vote and rest assured, your vote and your time was not wasted and will not be nullified in an attempted power grab by some members of Council who believe that they know more than the voters.

Paul Polasek is a member of the Victoria City Council representing District 3. Residents can contact him with questions or comments at ppolasek@victoriatx.org.

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