I was discouraged to read about the County Commissioners' planned use for the old jail for several reasons:
First, I agree with the letter from Tim Elliott pointing out that the decisions made by the judge and commissioners to buy prime Johnson City real estate keeps this real estate off of the tax roles. This negatively affects all Blanco County citizens, but especially those that are residents of Johnson City. The majority of services provided by our City are funded by property taxes. Property which is designated as commercial carries a much higher tax percentage than property designated as residential. As Johnson City business property owners, my husband and I certainly pay our fair share of property taxes. For instance, for our commercially-designated property on Hwy 290, the underlying land is valued at 4 times that of our next door neighbor's, whose property is residential but falls, just like ours, in the area designated by the City Master Plan as Commercial. Other property owners whose land is commercially-designated are taxed like ours. Imagine the impact of reduced tax income if much commercial property was taken off the tax roles through county acquisitions! Imagine the positive impact of additional taxes if responsible development was encouraged and the County placed prime real estate property back on the tax role!
Second, as property owners and residents of Johnson City, we are committed to maintaining and improving the appearance of our property. I believe it is going to be very difficult for the County to commit the funds necessary to maintain even the grounds and the exterior of the old jail in an aesthetically-pleasing way. What a beautiful historical building and what a waste to see it deteriorate without being given a chance for the glory it deserves. I have attempted to determine a reason for the resistance of the commissioners to look at alternative offices for the probation office and have failed to come up with an answer. I ask that the Commissioners take the lead provided by the City of Johnson City and begin looking for ways to place prime property back on the tax roles and work with the local Chambers and other community leaders to move our county in a positive direction.
Johnson City, TX