August 14, 2017
Creation of municipal development district on ballot
SACHSE (August 14, 2017) The Sachse City Council has unanimously approved the addition of an item on the November ballot that would give citizens the option of creating a Sachse Municipal Development District and authorizing its funding mechanism.
“The creation of a Municipal Development District would address the many requests we get from residents who want an expanded parks system and recreational programs for people of every age level,” says Lance Whitworth, Parks and Recreation Director. “Creating the district and approving the additional sales and use tax would allow us the flexibility to begin talking about additional outdoor and recreational amenities such as trails, pavilions, playgrounds, sand volleyball courts, outdoor basketball, a splash pad and many other facilities that enhance our quality of life.”
Voters will have the opportunity to raise as much as $350,000 annually by approving an additional one-quarter cent increase to the sales and use tax already in place. Those funds would be earmarked for improvements and enhancements to existing parks and recreation programs, as well as the development of new programs, and construction of buildings and facilities designed for these kinds of activities.
“Should the item be approved by voters, a citizen-based board would be charged with overseeing the expenditures,” he added. “In all likelihood, the MDD would be governed by the people already serving on the Parks and Recreation Board. These volunteers are not only very well-versed on our recreational needs, but they are also very tuned in to what Sachse residents are asking for.”
The ballot language for the Nov. 7 election will include two provisions, one that creates the Sachse MDD, and one that approves the additional quarter-cent tax. Sachse is only one of two cities in the DFW region that does not make full use of the allowed sales and use tax, opting to charge 8% instead of the 8.25% that the vast majority of cities and towns impose.
During the City-wide effort to update the Sachse Comprehensive Plan, nearly 60 percent of survey respondents expressed a belief that Sachse’s parks system was behind those of neighboring communities; 80 percent said inferior parks were a quality of life issue that was holding Sachse back; and almost 95 percent favored earmarking revenue for parks development.
“A slight increase in the sales and use tax devoted to Sachse’s parks and recreation facilities makes the most sense, since anyone who makes a taxable purchase in the City, regardless of where they live, contributes to that fund,” added Whitworth.
Currently, the Sachse Economic Development Corporation is funded by a half-cent portion of the sales and use tax, the highly-praised Street Maintenance Fund uses a quarter-cent portion, and the MDD proposes to use the remaining quarter-cent that is authorized by the state. Before doing so, though, voters must approve the proposal.
“Our parks system is operating as best it can under the current financial structure, but there is much more we can do with the creation of the Municipal Development District,” said Whitworth. “If voters give us the opportunity, we can make Sachse’s parks and recreation program a model for cities our size.”
To be eligible to vote in the Nov. 7 election, citizens must be registered by Oct. 7.