LETTERS: Bail out

With over a billion dollars in property value growth over the last 10 years in Harlingen, as reported in the VMS, and with those valuation increases no doubt resulting in every Harlingen property owner seeing skyrocketing annual tax bills over that same period, it’s interesting that Mayor Boswell bizarrely keeps hanging his hat on that Harlingen has had no tax increase in 14 years.

The fact is that though the tax rate is left the same, the typical valuation growth the city has enjoyed in property tax revenue increases has been between 3 to 3.7%.

The other outlandish argument we are hearing is that Harlingen has a lower rate than other similar sized cities in Cameron County. I’m interested in knowing what are the names of these phantom sister cities? Are they the much smaller cities of La Feria, San Benito or Los Fresnos? And then it’s said, but it’s such a small amount.

Maybe so, until you add the Port of Harlingen, drainage district, county, school districts and others — and all their increases.

It’s sad that before this year’s election, we were told that the city was in excellent financial health. And now, only months later, we find out that not only is it required to dip into the city reserve fund to cover tragically deferred drainage projects, but that to cover for cost overruns for the low-rent Baxter Building and the mismanaged hotel-less convention center project (and who knows what else) that city leaders need to hit Harlingen taxpayers with the largest annual tax rate increase in the city’s history to bail out high priced management.

Robert Leftwich Harlingen