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Ennis Daily News

Negotiations pay off for the taxpayer

The city deserves credit for hard-fought negotiations that have ended up saving Ennis an arm and a leg on payments to the U.S. government for the cooperative project at Lake Bardwell reservoir.
The lake is a huge resource for the city and county. Beyond serving as a necessary source of vital water, it’s a landmark, a tourist attraction and recreational environment that helps to break up the otherwise landlocked areas of the county. There’s no small impact in that.

Problems arose when American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding dedicated to the lake’s improvement and upkeep brought with it a massively increased responsibility to the government. The cooperative project has always meant Ennis would pay a certain amount of its annual budget to keeping the lake going, and the matching percentage program that governs that relationship put an unintended but extremely tight squeeze on the government’s partners when the ARRA stimulus ramped up funding for the lake project.

Negotiations have not been onerous, the city reports. They’ve been long. More than a year has gone by with city commissioners being updated on the status of this issue since its first appearance and the revelation there was a budgetary train wreck ahead of the city if negotiations failed. Thankfully for us, they didn’t. If the city had been backed into the corner of being required to make a $1 million-plus boost in its annual payment for the lake, we’d have seen fallout in our services, fees and way of life here in the city. And very little on the city’s part could have been done to mitigate that — we just don’t carry around that kind of reserve cash, even though the city’s reserves have been healthy enough for other contingencies.

Reaching an agreement that actually ends up saving the city on its annual cost for the lake over time is an unexpected and extremely welcome occurrence. It means we as taxpayers are not going to see hardship because of a stimulus-based program designed to help us in the short term and the city has better footing going forward.

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Posted by on Sep 30 2010. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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