By DAVID MAY
The city and its residents stand at a crossroads, located at the intersection of East Hubbard Street and N.E. 1st Street.
Beginning Monday, registered and qualified voters living within the city can cast a ballot to either approve or reject a proposition that would create a 4B Economic Development Corporation, diverting the revenue generated by one-eighth of a cent from the city’s current 1.5-cent sales tax levy and placing that into a special fund used for economic development purposes as allowed under state law for 4B sales tax use.
More specifically, the city is asking voters to approve the issuance of up to $4 million in revenue bonds, repaid over a long term using monies generated by the eighth-cent sales tax reallocation.
Early voting ahead of the May 10 election runs from Monday through May 6. The early voting site in Mineral Wells is the Palo Pinto County Annex Building at 109 N. Oak Ave. downtown. Early voting times are 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. weekdays for the period April 28-May 6. Extended voting times are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. this Monday and on May 5.
If approved, an economic development corporation board of directors would be appointed by city council. Mineral Well City Manager Lance Howerton said the reallocation would begin Oct. 1, with monies starting to go into the special fund in December. He said the Baker Hotel development team does not envision beginning construction until sometime in the first quarter of 2015, and it is possible they will not ask the city for its funding share until well into the project
Howerton notes that if passed, the 4B proposal can be reversed at any point up until bonds are issued. Once that happens, the 4B remains in place at least until the obligation is repaid. Howerton said reversing the 4B could be a consideration should the other $52 million in identified public and private funding fail to materialize and the project is scrapped.