The 2018 audit conducted for City of Leander taxpayers included a questionnaire for administrative officials, members of the governing body, and other related parties in transactions with the City.
As a member of the Leander City Planning and Zoning Commission, Place 1 Candidate Laura Lantrip was required to complete the questionnaire. Ms. Lantrip responded to two questions which may be of interest to Leander taxpayers and voters.
Question 1: Have you or any related party of yours had interest, direct or indirect, in any sales, purchases, transfers, leasing arrangements, guarantees, or other transactions since October 1, 2017 to which the City was, or is to be, a party?
Ms. Lantrip: “My husband’s company, SWS*, billed city $1,577.88 on July 17, 2018.”
Question 2: Do you or any related party of yours have any interest, direct or indirect, in any pending or incomplete sales, purchases, transfers, leasing arrangements, guarantees, or other transactions to which the City is, or is to be, a party?
Ms. Lantrip: “Husband’s company, SWS*, billed $870.00 on 10/5/18. My son’s company, Ponyfoot Public House has a pending Old Town business grant – amount $75,000”
At the November 3, 2016 Leander City Council meeting, Place 5 incumbent and re-election candidate, Jeff Seiler, made the motion to approve the taxpayer-financed Ponyfoot grant . Mr. Seiler and Ms. Lantrip are running as a slate with a third candidate, Becki Ross.
Only 2.5 years remain to determine whether City of Leander taxpayers will realize the five year projections of an additional $15k** in property tax* revenue, $45k in sales tax revenue, and $15k in “secondary benefits”, touted as justification for approving the grant.
*The City of Leander currently has a franchise agreement with Al Clawson Disposal through February 2021. Voters will determine Saturday, May 4th which candidates will be serving them through May 2022 and whether they prefer non-conflicted representation on the city council.
**The 2016 City of Leander property tax for the location of Ponyfoot at 216 N. Gabriel was $508. Rather than being on a trajectory of realizing an increase of $15k in property tax revenue, the 2018 property tax was $497, slightly less than two years prior.
Note: According to the City of Leander 2018-2019 budget, The Old Town Development Fund was established by ordinance in 2016 to provide funding to attract investment in the Old Town area of Leander using economic development incentives as well as infrastructure improvements.
Since Leander sends 50% of its sales tax revenue to Capital Metro and is not able to use those funds for economic development, Leander leaders have resorted to using Leander homeowners and taxpayers to backstop high risk schemes and economic incentives.
Copyright © 2019 Don Stroud