On Tuesday, we all have the opportunity to tell city of Uvalde staff and council in person how we feel about the possibility of being charged $1-2 more a month when we pay our city utility bills, with the goal of potentially creating a city-maintained parks and recreation fund. At the first of two planned meetings, with the second scheduled towards the end of August, city representatives will be taking notes on the types of features or improvements taxpayers would like to see, should that fee be implemented.
Currently, city parks offer basketball and volleyball courts, a skate park, disc golf course, playground equipment and green space on which to play. Cooks Slough Nature Park features walking trails with abundant wildlife.
But Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin has floated the idea of installing splash pads at Jardin de los Heroes Park and Uvalde Memorial Park while councilmen have discussed adding to existing walking trails, incorporating new playground equipment and better maintaining current parks. The hope is to foster inviting green spaces for local citizens to utilize alongside their families.
The city council has also agreed that acquiring special needs-accessible features should be a major component of any parks and recreation overhaul.
If council adopts a $1 fee per account, with about 6,000 utility accounts in the city of Uvalde, the fund would generate about $72,000 in one year. If council opts for a $2 fee, that amount would double and sit at $144,000 per year. If they split the difference and opt for a $1.50 fee, the fund would generate about $108,000 in a year.
While this newspaper supports the idea of adding features that we believe would not only increase the quality of life for current residents but also make Uvalde more attractive for visitors and prospective future residents, only you can speak what’s on your mind. It’s better to take time out of your evening this week than to grouse about added fees or the lack of city amenities later.
This is an opportunity to make your opinion known, be heard by city officials, and express your wishes regarding how the city might utilize new park funding – or whether the $1-2 levy should be implemented in the first place. Voice any concerns over how funding might be generated, any adverse financial effects on city utility account holders, or your views on which implementations might take precedence. Show up, speak up, and be heard.
If you can’t make the meeting, fill out the survey the city recently issued. In the survey, city residents are asked how they feel about paying more for better parks, as well as their thoughts on various existing and proposed features. The survey is available on the city’s website, www.uvaldetx.com. Paper copies printed in English and Spanish are also available at the Uvalde Leader-News, 110 N. East St.
We hope to see you Tuesday at 6 p.m. sharp when the first public hearing begins at American Legion Post 479, located at 583 W. Main St.