Tempers flare as Red Oak goes to polls on Bond Election Saturday

Photo by Amy Hedtke.
Voters will head to the polls on May 7, 2016 and decide whether to approve or deny a proposed $17.255 million park bond.

RED OAK — Amidst allegations of lies and ugliness, this Saturday's Bond election is unfolding to be the largest voter turnout in Red Oak's history.

On February 18, 2016, the Red Oak City Council approved bringing a $17.255 million bond proposition to the voters of the city. If approved by the voters, this proposition would fund, through bonding, the creation of a new community park. In addition to trails, playgrounds, an amphitheater and park amenities, this park would include athletic facilities for soccer and baseball fields. The proposed park would be built next to the Cowboy Church on Ovilla Rd, along Bear Creek. The Bond would be funded by an increase in city property taxes.

That increase is one of the many contested allegations broiling on social media.

Josh Armey, on the "Vote YES, Support Red Oak Youth" Facebook page, points out that this is "only a 3% increase in your total property tax bill. This is a small price to pay to actually get something out of your taxes that we can ALL use."

Chris Moses explains on the "It's OK to Vote NO, ~Red Oak~" Facebook page that "this is a city election, it is only the City portion of property taxes that is affected, which amounts to a 13% increase in the Red Oak city property tax rate."

Documents on the City of Red Oak website show the rate being increased by approximately 8.5 cents per $100 property value (links below).

http://www.redoaktx.org/DocumentCenter/View/2066

http://www.redoaktx.org/DocumentCenter/View/2085

So far, 458 voters cast their ballots during early voting, an unprecedented amount for the small town of about 12,000 people.

Norma Lauer, a city resident opposing the bond, states "We expect to see about as many people voting on election day as we did in all of early voting, so a final tally of almost 1000 voters is an exciting prospect, and one I have never seen in Red Oak."

Nikolas Glazener shared a similar opinion on the "YES" page: "If the numbers are any indication, there will be a LOT of people voting on Election Day. This is looking to be one of the [if not THE] largest turnouts in Red Oak's voting history," Glazener wrote.

Concerns on both sides are being passionately expressed in attempts to sway voters.

Ginny Lindsey, a supporter of the bond, pleads for residents to Vote FOR the bond so the children have a place to play.

"What people do not understand is that the fields at "Lindsey Park" are going to be slowly taken away as the ROISD expands the campus since Red Oak is growing. Do people already know that Red Oak people have to go to Cedar Hill, Waxahachie, Mansfield, Lancaster, DeSoto, etc. to play sports?? We are trying to eliminate that problem. The soccer fields in Glenn Heights were destroyed by the tornado and I have been told that they are not going to be re-built. Where does that leave the soccer kids?? All going to another city-where those cities not only get fees for our kids to play but also the benefit of restaurant business, hotel business, etc," Lindesy said.

Meanwhile, Laren Schmude, opposing the bond, makes an appeal to the fiscal issues surrounding the bond proposal and park maintenance.

"The real issue is that this park is an *amenity* that will leave an almost *$200,000* shortfall annually in its wake, add more tax pressure to an already overtaxed populace, and severely cut into the amount of money available to fix the already crumbling portions of infrastructure, such as the bridge that is currently closed," Schmude said.

Saturday, May 7, is the final opportunity for City Residents to vote on this Bond Proposal. While there are many people in the area speaking up about this bond, only those who live inside the city limits will be able to cast a ballot on Saturday.

Voting will take place at the Red Oak Municipal Center, 200 Lakeview Parkway, from 7am - 7pm.