To the Editor:
I would first like to say how disappointed I am in the quality of reporting provided by the staff of The Grayson County News-Gazette. The article that was printed on Sept. 5 in regards to the Grayson County Public Library is GROSSLY misreported and misrepresented. The public library board was in NO way wrong. They are allowed to take yearly a 4 percent statutory revenue increase in their (tax) rate. Every taxing entity in the county is allowed to take such an increase and most, if not all, do. These other entities include Grayson County Public Schools and the hospital, which are by far the two largest taxing entities on the yearly property tax bills behind state and county. Where is the criticism for these groups?
Honestly, with the quality of education that the youth in the county are receiving, we should be putting more money towards groups like the library. It seems people truly do not pay attention to what they are paying; their water and phone bills also include a school tax: is anyone upset about that? The county takes a payroll tax that pays the salaries of county officials: anyone upset by that?
Secondly, the article that was printed on Sept. 15 was as derogatory towards the library and the board as the article that was first printed. The board printed their ad for the tax hearing; if the people of the community are so against increases in their property taxes, why does no one show up at the hearings? The ads have to be posted for two weeks before the hearing can be had, so there is absolutely no excuse for people to say they didn’t know. The ONLY reason people became so upset was because of the horrible, unjustified headline that ran on Sept. 5 ranting of a tax hike.
As I was present in the fiscal court meeting that preceded the Library Board meeting, the average age of those present who were not representing the board or the fiscal court was well over 60 years old. Those persons present admitted that they do not utilize the library, nor have they ever. Several of our magistrates blatantly admitted they have never set foot in the library.
The selected audience was biased from the start, and the only ones that knew about it were the ones the judge-executive told.
The allowed tax increase is in NO way to support construction of a new building. Utilities increase, capitol expenses increase when you have an old building such as the current library building, causing budgetary expectations of potentially having to replace air units, etc. … which are not cheap for a building like that. The funds that happen to be left at the end of the fiscal year are the funds that are rolled over in to a fund for future development, which is FOR the community NOT for the library board.
An additional note regarding the evening of the fiscal court meeting and the library board meeting is that there was a children’s program that was bumped due to the events CAUSED by your newspaper. Many of the programs the library holds, especially children’s programs, are standing room only with presenters nearly stepping on those present. While the older generation that was present at that meeting does not utilize the library and the services they provide, MANY in the community do and there are many supporters in the community not only for the programs the library presents but also for the future of the county getting a community college campus. A new library for the college patrons to read in, study and prepare for their futures is planned across the road from the new community college.
County Judge-Executive Gary Logsdon prides himself on being for the community and thinking about the people. When he could have and should have shut people down in their tracks about this issue, it appeared he was as adamantly opposed to the increase as those present at the special called meeting. It is hard to find evidence that he truly has the betterment of Grayson County in mind.
The property taxes paid in this county are what support the water systems, the roadways, security, health and health education, formal and non-formal education and learning, and fire and flood control for the county.
The library very much deserves a retraction by the newspaper and a public apology.