Proposition would fund new park complex

RED OAK — Along with the general election to be held on May 7, the city has called for an election to bring a bond proposition to the voters of the city. If approved, this proposition would fund a new community park.

In addition to trails, playgrounds, an amphitheater and park amenities, the park would include athletic facilities, which the city has not historically provided to the community.

The amount of the proposed bond is $17,775,000.

The proposed park will be located on the south side of Farm-to-Market 664 (Ovilla Road) between the Lone Star Cowboy Church and Batchler Road. The land for the 69-acre park was purchased six years ago and held by the city for future use.

“After consultation with planners and looking at all the properties we have, we felt this is the best choice,” Mayor Alan Hugley said.

Anticipated amenities include six to eight lighted baseball/softball fields, two to three soccer areas, an amphitheater, playground areas, hiking trails, picnic areas along the creek and pavilions. Included in the proposed design is a pond that can be used to supplement water for irrigation.

There will be charges to organized teams for use of the facilities.

For Red Oak property owners, the tax impact will be 8.5 cents per $100 of value. As an example given by city staff, for a $150,000 home, there would be a $127.50 per year increase with initial impacts beginning in January 2017 if the referendum passes.

Information provided by city staff compared the city’s tax rate with other Ellis County cities.

Currently, Red Oak has the lowest municipal tax rate of $0.64900. Should the bond proposal pass, the new tax rate effective January 2017 is estimated to be $0.73400 per $100 of taxed value.

Information provided by city staff has Waxahachie with a tax rate of $0.68000, Midlothian with a rate of $0.78024, Ennis with a rate at $0.66917, and Ovilla with a rate of $0.7000. The highest in Ellis County is Italy with a rate of $0.97471.

Using other area cities as a comparison, DeSoto has a rate of $0.74990, Duncanville at $0.75645 and Lancaster having a taxable rate of $0.86750.

Information provided by Red Oak’s city staff places the average taxable rate for the area at $0.73400.

“If the proposition passes, our rate will be below the area average,” Hugley said.

There would be no impact to resident homestead property for senior citizens ages 65 and older.

For the general election and the bond election, early voting begins April 23 and runs through May 3 at the Red Oak Municipal Center located at 200 Lakeview Parkway.