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Ballot language mistake halts City of Wolfforth effort for new sales tax

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 5:41 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Despite approval of Proposition A by voters last November, the City of Wolfforth is unable to implement a new sales tax outside the city limits in what’s known as its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). The city’s attorney told KCBD the language on the ballot was not reflective of the election’s goal.

“The election still stands, the results,” City Attorney Michael A. Guevara said. “However, from the city’s perspective, it did not accomplish what was intended to be accomplished. It just basically piggybacked or did the same thing the current Economic Development Corporation is doing.”

Proposition A was approved by 65 percent of voters with the following ballot language:

Authorizing the creation of the Wolfforth Municipal Development District and the imposition of a sales and use tax at the rate of one-half of one percent for the purpose of financing development projects beneficial to the district.

Guevara said that was sufficient to create a Municipal Development District but did not capture the intent to include the ETJ in that sales tax. He discovered the error upon the canvassing the results of the election.

“There’s a possibility of another election to have another MDD to include the ETJ and then put those together, have them operate together or kind of start from scratch,” Guevara said. “That’s where we’re at right now, trying to figure out what the next step is for the city.”

While this halts collection of additional sales tax, the Texas Comptroller on Wednesday reported an allocation of more than $123,000 in sales tax to the City of Wolfforth based on sales made in August. That’s 16 percent more than last October’s allocation.

“The City of Wolfforth is growing,” Guevara said. “We’re looking at opportunities to harness that, to maximize that growth to benefit the city with regard to making sure that all the public services are still up, and that the growth is in the direction that we want to do. That was the purpose of the MDD, was to take advantage of businesses particularly that were in the ETJ. That was the intent of the election. It wasn’t accomplished but the City of Wolfforth is still moving in that direction so that we can better harness all the resources that the city has available for its growth and the future developments.”

Splash Bros Xpress Carwash at Donald Preston Drive and Preston Hollow Lane is one of the latest businesses to come to the City of Wolfforth. Its local owners hope to be a helpful source in that effort to develop.

“I think a city like Wolfforth enables us to have community involvement, which is very important for us,” Jason Robertson said. “We partner with the schools. We’ve got some things in the work with Frenship sports and athletics. We’ve got some things that are going to support the Frenship Foundation. We also are community partners with the City here. We’re doing some infrastructure developments that will help the commercial developments grow at a quicker pace for the city.”

Robertson expects to break ground on the carwash in the next few weeks and to open at the beginning of 2022. Ray Young said it’s part of their company’s core values to be active in the community.

“This is a place where people really want to be, a great school system, great neighborhoods to be a part of, and so we’re really excited about being a part of what’s going on here and contributing in lots of ways to this community,” Young said.

Whether a new sales tax will contribute to the community is up to the city council, according to Guevara.

“The city’s had quite a bit of turnover over the last several months and so we’re trying to get some continuity,” Guevara said. “This is a big decision on what to go back to the voters with or have to do it at all. That should be made once we have all the pieces in place.”

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