I read with interest the front page story in Friday’s Bulletin (9-15-2017) about how Ranger says HPU nursing relationship is ‘very good’. I’m not sure about that. HPU clearly stated why the agreement they had was cancelled and that was because there was no interest in the program. Ranger’s President Campion stated the agreement wasn’t their idea.

Meanwhile, HPU continues to recruit for the post-licensure RN to BSN program. I found it disturbing they tried to cast Howard Payne in a bad light by mentioning the litigation with the former students.

Believe me that pales in comparison to the two federal lawsuits filed against Ranger Jr. College. I for one don’t want even a penny of my tax dollars being used to defend those.

It seems to me they’ll say anything to put the college in the best light. President Campion has stated time and again that the tax will only be 11 cents when in fact he has no control whatsoever over the tax amount. There is an opinion about voluntarily lowering the tax rate from the Texas Attorney General in document JC-0360. The summary of which reads - “After adopting a tax rate higher than the rollback rate under section 26.05 of the Tax Code, a community college district may not voluntarily reduce its adopted tax rate in the same tax year. There is no express statutory authority for it to do so, and such authority may not be implied. The only method by which the Tax Code authorizes a community college district to reduce a tax rate that exceeds the rollback rate is an election timely initiated by a valid voter petition.” I don’t know if 43 cents exceeds the rollback rate but hopefully the citizens of Ranger are looking into this.

It is my firm belief that the tax rate if somehow voted in would remain at 43 cents. The citizens of Ranger were promised that the 10 million dollar bond that was voted on up there would be used for housing/dorm renovations and it was stated in the news later that it could not be used for that. Did the people at the college know that before hand? I don’t know but they were supposed to have good legal counsel during that time. Seems like the right thing to have done was not accept the money and cancel the bond.

When one considers that Ranger College doesn’t allow a homestead exemption or the tax freeze for the elderly and only a small $5,000 exemption for those over 65 it becomes very clear that they want every penny they can get from us. You read correctly, it states over 65 not 65 and over as is normally done.

The article in the paper did mention Attorney Trey Trainor’s statement in the paper about the service plan being “legally binding” when in fact it isn’t. You can look this up yourself under Texas Education Code 130.065 in which it is stated that it is informational only.

Mr. Trainor’s recent letter, 9/20/17, in the Brownwood Bulletin was also misleading .. While it’s true that state law requires the College to publish the service plan, nowhere does it require them to even mention that rate. If you’ve read the service plan you’ll notice that the word “anticipated” is used quite a bit when taxes are mentioned. The article also refers to the “state mandated proposed rate of $.11/$100 valuation.” This is very misleading because even though the state mandates the service plan nowhere does it mandate that proposed rate so there would be no reason for the college to incur “significant legal liability.”

Also he states that the College Board of Trustees has stated publicly that the rate will be 11 cents. I have not seen them state that anywhere and I don’t think that it’s required by state law that they do so. To repeat there is no state law mandating the college to publish its proposed rate. It is mandated to publish “any tax rate increase proposed or anticipated to occur after the annexation” which it looks like it did bringing the total to over 45 cents.

When an Attorney makes misleading statements one wonders what’s going on. He at least needs to show us where he is finding these state mandates. Anyway there is no way an entity can know what the tax rate would be ahead of time. There needs to be budget disclosures and public meetings before a rate is adopted. My bet is that there would be disclosures indicating the need for a higher tax rate.

There are plenty of education opportunities here already including Cisco Junior College which seems to be getting along okay on its own.

If you are not registered to vote please do so now. If you are 65 or older, disabled and unable to get to the election office, out of town or even in jail and eligible to vote you can apply for a mail in ballot. Every registered voter needs to vote against this. Early voting starts Oct. 23 at the new election office on Fisk just north of the courthouse and the election date is Nov. 7.

The citizens in Ranger stayed at home thinking that such a large bond could not pass up there. From what I’ve read the ones that did vote against it were overwhelmed by the College students voting for it. Since they will never have to pay the tax generated by the bond those students should be ashamed of themselves.

Please vote against this annexation. Such a large tax would be devastating to the residents and businesses in Brown County.

Scott Blackburn

Brownwood