Was up late (early) working and decided to check the news feeds and came across this editorial in todays FWST. I wish they would have called someone to clarify the facts of the situation, you know Bud, you have my cell phone number. Heck, they could have called the President of KYA who just sent a letter to the City asking them to support this proposal….and he’s a resident of Fort Worth. He understands the consequenses if this doesn’t pass.
Seems that Keller is becoming too popular for its own good, and its city officials want Fort Worth to pay for the privilege of playing there.
The question will be, What’s a fair deal between neighbors?
Keller is proposing that Fort Worth taxpayers help defray the costs of operating Keller Sports Park, a multisport municipal complex on Golden Triangle Boulevard. The reasoning is that 47 percent of the kids using the park for sports leagues live in Fort Worth, based on 2010 data. (Slightly more than 40 percent of the youth association players live in Keller, and 12.6 percent live elsewhere, according to Keller documents.)
With seven lighted baseball fields; four lighted softball fields; 15 soccer fields (seven of them lighted); two lighted fields for football, T-ball and rugby; and five concession/restroom buildings, the 148-acre park is the kind of amenity any community with sports-minded residents would love to have.
In a recent presentation, Keller City Manager Steve Polasek gave his City Council members a draft letter that proposed seeking $351,226 annually for two years to pay 47 percent of the park’s $747,290 maintenance/operation costs. Some members insisted that Fort Worth should also help cover Keller’s interest on bonds used to build the facility, which opened in 1996.
Let’s call a timeout.
It’s not as if Fort Worth families are freeloading. Youth sports leagues charge kids to play, and there are fees to rent fields for games. As one Keller council member pointed out, Fort Worth residents eat and shop and otherwise spend money in Keller, contributing sales taxes toward retiring the bonds.
Representatives of both cities recently had what Fort Worth Assistant City Manager Susan Alanis called a “really friendly meeting” on the issue. Councilman Sal Espino, who represents north Fort Worth, said it could be much cheaper to help with the upkeep and expansion of Keller Sports Park than to spend millions on something new.
Alanis said city staff would probably bring the Fort Worth council recommendations in a month or two. Finding a “win-win” might sound too cliche, but a tie would be better for both cities than one getting the better of the other.
OK, now the comment I posted on the article:
As the Keller City Councilman that made the quote you put in your editorial, I feel the need to correct a few things you stated in your piece. None of the Keller Youth Associations pay to use the fields at Keller Sports Park. The money collected by them goes to run their leagues, pay for uniforms and officials. None of that money goes to defray the costs of operating the fields.
My point by bringing up that Fort Worth citizens eat and spend money in Keller was directed when the conversation started moving towards asking Fort Worth to also pay their share of the bond payments that were issued to build the facilities. Those bonds payments are in fact paid for by sales tax dollars, which include citizens of Fort Worth shopping and eating in Keller. Those sales tax dollars are not included in the over $700,000 a year that the taxpaying citizens of Keller pay to maintain the fields and pay the light bill. That $700,000 comes directly out of our General Fund, not from the associations, not from sales tax revenue, but funds that could be used to improve other parks around town, pay for public safety, build roads or heck, even returned to the citizens of Keller in the form of reduced property taxes. The nearly $400,000 a year that Keller is asking from Ft. Worth is equal to a full cent on our property tax rate.
We hope this turns into a win, win, win for all parties involved, the taxpaying citizens of Keller, the residents of Fort Worth and the Youth Associations that run the leagues at Keller Sports Park.
I understand the FWST is going to go out of its way to protect the City of Fort Worth, they are a home town paper. But for them to write an editorial with such blatant misrepresentation of the facts, well, I shouldn’t be surprised.
To suggest that we are trying to get the better end of this deal is ludicrous. Again, if they would have called me, or even our City Manager we could have informed the paper of record that the cost to the citizens of Fort Worth the replicate what we have in Keller would be over $30,000,000. So I guess asking for $400,000 a year for upkeep is getting the better of Fort Worth? That wouldn’t even pay for a small percentage of the interest on a bond to build facilities for their residents, let alone a fraction of the cost the City of Fort Worth would have to pay to maintain their own facilities.
Fort Worth City staff know it, the elected officials I want to believe know it, and the FWST should know it, but in their little old way, they want to give political cover to the folks downtown by making Keller look like we are trying to get one over on our big brothers to the west.
So all of you far North Fort Worth residents that love to hate me, you know who you are, why don’t you call down to Fort Worth City Hall and remind them it’s election season, because this is your one chance every two years to hold them accountable. That you expect them to finally step up to the plate without delay and do what’s right for the citizens of Fort Worth.
Because you know what?
First and foremost I’m going to do what’s right for the citizens of Keller, and I will never apologize for that.