Three issues

May 8 vote will help Rockdale compete in tight job market
This will mark the third May that an important vote has been pushed by economic developoment proponents. In 2008, it was “liquor by the drink,” which has allowed local restaurants that are properly licensed to serve adult beverages. Last year, it was formation of the Municipal Development District, the short description being an area that surrounds the city that can collect a sales tax.

This year, there will be three issues on the ballot — plus a good slate of competitive races for Mayor, east- and west-ward council positions — that will help Rockdale be more competitive when it comes to marketing itself and competing for jobs.

A quick breakdown of the three issues voters will see:

Abolition of local sales tax in Rockdale Hospital District. Monies collected from this tax since 1994 have helped our hospital see an amazing turnaround from nearly bankrupt to one of the healthiest (pun intended) success stories in town today. This issue has the blessing of hospital directors.

Creation of a new Development District. The new, larger district would begin collecting the half-cent sales tax used by the hospital directors now and include the central part of town (the 1994 city limits). As it stands now, the MDD, Rockdale’s only funded development entity, can’t support work in the old city limits, an awkward situation if there ever was one.

Dissolution of the existing MDD. This item includes a safety net provision that keeps the old MDD in tact if voters decline the new, larger district.

We urge a “YES” vote on all three items.

Bottom line is that the tax currently collected by the hospital district would go to a new, larger development district. This is not an additional sales tax.

We should support any and all development efforts, as we compete against Austin, Temple and other more wellfunded entities that can sweeten their incentives deals.

Rockdale must be able to market itself and network effectively in the economic development arena. It is vital to our future.—K.E.C.

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2010-03-18 digital edition

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