Thursday, January 8, 2015

Liberty Cities on Display

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;"
Isaiah 61:1

Liberty Cities are a growing phenomenon in Texas, learn more below.

Art Martinez de Vara (Original mayor, Von Ormy, TX):

  • Original mayor of Von Ormy, TX
  • Liberty city = City founded on limited govt., preservation of individual and property rights, restrictions on debt, and taxing authority.
  • Becoming more popular as larger cities encroach on unincorporated areas.
  • Virtual city hall instead of brick and mortal (ie. website)
  • Privatization of public services.
  • Economic development by getting out of the way.
  • Eliminating classes of tax payers.
  • Shifting the tax burden from ad valorem to consumption taxes.
  • Avoiding restrictions on personal freedoms
  • Use of trained volunteers.
  • Zero cost permitting
  • Minimal fees for City Residents
  • Elimination of taxes or withdrawal from taxing jurisdictions that provide little or no service.
  • Zero-based budgeting
  • Aim to be under budget each year by at least 20%.
  • Whereas San Antonio has a property tax dedicated specifically to debt service, Von Ormy doesn't need it.
  • Voter approval of all public debt.
Ernest Gay (Mayor, Sandy Oaks, TX):
  • Began incorporation process in 2011.
  • Completely within San Antonio city limits.
  • 2.4 square miles without any major highways or traffic arteries.
  • Successful incorporation election in May 2014.
    • Single ballot item in a very small city
  • Elected officeholders in August 2014.
  • City of San Antonio announced a "limited purpose annexation."
  • One of their big problems is a lack of business.
    • Problem when the main source of revenue is the sales tax.
  • First big check from local power company will come in March.
  • The taxes you pay this year pays for next year's budget.
  • Set you budget relative to income rather than attempting to do vice-versa.
Robert Grafe (Kingsbury Incorporation Committee):
  • Started incorporation after Seguin tried to annex them.
  • Attempted to model their approach after Von Ormy.
  • Currently working their way through the incorporation process.
David Simpson:
  • Served three terms as Mayor of his hometown in the mid-1990's.
  • The whole reason we have civil government is because we haven't used freedom responsibly.
  • The place of government is justice, but let's use our freedom to limit government.
  • "We can incorporate and voluntarily limit our intrusiveness."
  • Limit "economic development" to commonly used infrastructure instead of bribing companies.
"Home rule" (ie. >5000 residents) can engage in "involuntary annexation."

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