Letter to the Editor

After reading all the comments on Facebook about the Ranger College tax bond election, I feel compelled to speak for the majority of those who will be affected by this election-those that will actually PAY the proposed tax. That would be the property owners in the Ranger College Taxing District. As property owners, my husband and I are well aware how it will affect our Ranger College taxes and how it will actually hurt the economy in Ranger. Many who vote will not be affected by the passage of the bond issue. That would be those who DO NOT OWN PROPERTY; THOSE WHO RENT, THOSE WHO LIVE WITH FRIENDS OR FAMILY, AND THOSE WHO COME TO AND ENROLL IN RANGER COLLEGE AND ARE ENCOURAGED, WITH AN INCENTIVE I’M SURE, TO REGISTER  AND VOTE.

These people make up the majority of Ranger residents. Those who DO NOT pay property taxes will not be affected if the bond issue passes. They will NOT see any difference in their income. NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER! I do not understand how voters who “wish for the moon” can vote to let others pay for that wish.

I believe the idea of a new campus is very promising to many that support and believe it would be great for Ranger. But, I personally feel, Ranger College and the Board of Regents are asking property owners to foot the bill for this new campus at the worst time in the history of Ranger!

The economy in Ranger is at its worst probably since the depression. Businesses in Ranger are at an all time low due to the economy. The City of Ranger is in a financial situation that has required desperate measures just to pay the bills. In plain English, “RANGER IS BROKE.” I understand Ranger only has 1 active policeman (plus 1 out on medical leave) and city workers are working 5 employees short. The City of Ranger, businesses and everyone in Ranger are working to dig themselves out of a deep, dark hole due to the dismal economy.

So many of the young folks have left Ranger for a better way of life, not that I blame them one bit. A better job, higher pay, a better ‘quality of life.” I believe we can all understand that.

Who does that leave to pay the bills? Those who have remained for their entire lives and those who come back home to Ranger and retire to live out their golden years including many widows and widowers.

Most of those that chose to come back to Ranger and retire have taken their life savings and purchased reasonably priced property, as compared to bigger towns. One may believe the idea that if someone owns property they are “rich.” I can assure you that is not the case. The majority of property owners in the Ranger College taxing district are older residents who live on fixed and limited incomes. Taxes and insurance take the biggest bite out of that income.
Anyone that does not own property or has never owned property has no idea of the expenses associated with owning homes and businesses-insurance, maintenance and upkeep, utilities and property taxes. And everyone knows how often the cost of insurance, material and labor, utilities and property taxes go up, cutting deeper and deeper into that fixed and limited income.

Has anyone who DOES NOT pay taxes ever stopped to think about the repercussions on those who will be paying this $10 million bill? I can tell you the answer to that question. The answer is NO! Let me enlighten those who DO NOT own property, those who do not pay taxes, who live in Ranger and may be considering supporting this bond.
I personally called the Eastland County Tax Appraisal District last week and spoke with Randy Clark. I asked for the figures for my 2016 tax statement for the Ranger College tax district.

Since there are NO exemptions (Homestead or Over 65) allowed by Ranger College, there is NO FREEZING TAXES, the taxable value of our property was $128,980. Using that amount and the 2016 Ranger College tax rate of .245306 per $100 valuation, my current ad valorem and/or maintenance and operation tax for Ranger College for 2016 will be $316.40.

This new bond proposal will be in addition to and as some say on top of what we are currently paying. According to Eastland the County Today newspaper, the proposed Ranger College tax bond was 45 cents but Ranger College would supplement that tax and bring it down to 25 cents. Using those figures, I was told our Ranger College property taxes would now double if the bond passed. That means the Ranger College taxes would double for everyone. How many can afford to double their taxes on top of all the other local increases-water, sewer, sanitation, city and county taxes?

Now let’s talk more money-I read in the Waggin’ Tongue there was 4,089 tax payers in the Ranger College tax district and somewhere around $275,000 a year collected in property taxes for those who live in Ranger and Eastland County. That is sure not a big tax base.

Let’s assume the bond passes and the Eastland County tax base doubles-$550,000 a year. How long would it take to pay a $10 million bond? Not counting interest it would take a little over 18 years. With the interest you could add at least another 7-10 years, at least to repay principal and interest. So, taxpayers are looking at 25 years to pay off this bond.

What concerns me more than anything is the fact that Eastland County tax money is paid to the Eastland County Tax Appraisal District and then paid out to Ranger College. Where will Ranger College send their loan payments? Will that money stay here in Eastland County?

Even though the man from Government Capital Securities stated they worked hand in hand with First Financial Bank, do you honestly believe that $550,000 a year will stay in Ranger?

At least I feel like the current taxes I’m paying now stay in Ranger and help with the maintenance and operation of the college. I just don’t believe the money collected on this tax bond will help the economy in Ranger, in fact, my thought is that it will only make the economy worse, if there can be such a thing.

I cannot see that the addition of 100-175 college students (have about 325 now) will offset the loss of $550,000 or even $275,000 of tax bond money leaving Eastland County.

I would like to believe this would be what is needed to bring Ranger back to at least what it used to be but I just cannot see that happening. All I see is money leaving the county and in the end, hurting the economy in Ranger, losing money from an already dismal economy.

Sometimes we just can’t afford something that we think we’ve just got to have. If this election would have been 10 years ago, I would have supported it. I just can’t in good conscience vote on something that I know the property owners of Ranger can’t afford to pay for, something that I believe will hurt the economy in Ranger or something that our grandchildren will be paying for 30 or 40 years from now.

It’s really easy to say yes and vote when you haven’t thought about the repercussions from making a bad choice and at this time, I honestly believe it would be a bad choice to support this tax bond. Maybe in a couple of years after the Indoor Arena has been completed and Ranger sees some progress. I’m just not a BIG GAMBLER with someone else’s money!

Ranger needs so many things that are more important (than 4 dorms), like good drinking water, better roads and infrastructure to attract new businesses and young families to want to move to Ranger. Right now there is nothing to offer businesses or young families.

So before you jump off that cliff into the water, you better check and see how far down it is, how deep and how cold it is. If you vote without thinking this thru, you may just drown and there will be no one to turn off the lights when Ranger goes under.

Donna Thackerson

2 Responses to "Letter to the Editor"

  1. Pete Mitchell   October 12, 2016 at 4:37 PM

    So “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t apply here? Are their current dorms full? Do they think they will get more students, by building new dorms, to enroll there and stay in the dorms? How will these students bring more to the Ranger community? What will the Ranger community do for these students? How will paying more in taxes and building new dorms be beneficial for the citizens of Ranger? Lots of unanswered questions for those voting. But I’m sure it’ll pass, too many unaffected voters that won’t care of the outcome because they will be gone in a semester or two. How many RC employees live in the tax paying district and own property? Just my .02

  2. marti   October 9, 2016 at 11:12 PM

    Good letter and correct facts and figures, Donna. So glad I no longer own property in Ranger.