I read the Letter to the Editor from Bob Contreras in The Bulletin, 10/13/17. With all due respect Mr. Contreras I don’t think anyone in Brown County is against education. What we are against is millions of our dollars leaving the county so a few students can get a break in tuition. You state the small tax of $.11/$100 valuation when I can find no legal reason Ranger College would be required to assess that rate. And that’s not a small amount for some people.

Now why would the College want to combine the M&O tax and the I&S tax? By the way, the M&O tax is also used for salaries. Something to think about. The only I&S tax levied right now is against the tax payers up in Ranger for the 10 million dollar bond voted on in November 2016. So why would the citizens of Brown County need to pay on that debt. The College is now stating that the bond funds will be used for a 750 seat cafetorium and a one stop welcome center on the Ranger campus. Could it be that the bond election up in Ranger is experiencing a legal challenge? I don’t know but I think The Waggin’ Tongue up in Ranger is investigating that. Then there’s the KTXS news broadcast dated 7/19/17 during which we were told that the bond debt would be kept separate. You can watch that broadcast here -http://www.ktxs.com/news/ranger-college-collects-enough-signatures-for-brown0-county-november-tax-referendum2/589524203

The Waggin’ Tongue in Ranger is an online publication that has done a lot to warn us about Ranger Junior College. Their 10/1/17 edition has a lot of interesting facts. I’m sure they would be glad to email you an edition. That edition is displaying a document that shows that back in August 2016 the district officials knew that the bond money voted on in November 2016 could not be used to renovate the dorms. On October 20, 2016 in a KRBC news report the President was still maintaining that the bond money would go toward the dorms and other facilities. You can watch the broadcast here - http://www.bigcountryhomepage.com/news/main-news/ranger-college-bond-proposal/597507258 Then there’s the KTAB news report dated 8/23/17 during which the President informs everyone that the bond money cannot be used for the dorms. You can watch that broadcast here - http://www.bigcountryhomepage.com/news/video/ranger-collegend-will-not-go-toward-dorms_0170823030250/796542427

I know the links are long but I can’t quote what’s there because they’re copyrighted. I found them by Googling KRBC or KTXS followed by Ranger College.

Knowing what happened up in Ranger how could we possibly believe that the annexation attempt would be good for Brown County. It’s my opinion that this annexation attempt isn’t so much about education as it is about getting their hands on our money and the power that comes with it. Comparing what happened up in Ranger with what’s happening here now an old saying comes to mind - Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. They speak a lot about dual credit courses but fail to mention that Brownwood ISO has excellent courses available through the University of Texas OnRamps program in which the courses and all materials are free of charge.

In the latest circular they’ve mailed out they’re still insisting that state law required them to declare the proposed rate. Here is the portion of the Texas Education Code 130.065 dealing with the service plan and taxes - (c) Not later than the 30th day before the date of a public hearing held under Subsection (b), the board shall complete and publish a service plan for the territory proposed for annexation. The service plan is informational only and must include: (1) the maximum property tax rate that the board may adopt; (2) the most recent property tax rate adopted by the board and any tax rate increase proposed or anticipated to occur after the annexation.

They did list the current tax and its maximum of 50 cents. They also listed an increase for debt service with its separate maximum of 50 cents. They’ve always pushed this 11 cent rate but as you can see from the code there is no state law that requires that they publish it.

Now I see that the Ranger College supporters have threatened to seek criminal prosecution of the Erath County citizens who oppose the annexation. Well Alan Nash the DA of Erath County made a statement in the paper that he has not been contacted by anyone with Ranger College or its political action committee. He went on to say “these threats appear to be calculated to suppress, deter, and punish opposing political expression and political activity”. The College and its supporters are always using the expression “FAKE news” while at the same time using that type of news to gain headlines.

The most important thing is how we were forced into this situation. In 2013 our 83rd Legislature passed a little known bill HB3332 that only affected Brown County. You can use the bill lookup of the legislature, enter the bill Number HB3332 and for the legislature select 83 (R) - 2013. The text tab will show the witness documents and the second document under analysis will show the author’s statement of intent. Before this bill Brown County could not be annexed because Texas State Technical College was located here. That bill removed that restriction. Following is the statement added to Texas Education Code 130.063 after the bill passed - (e) This section does not prevent a junior college district from annexing territory located in Brown County. Whose idea was this bill? Well, Representative Keffer, the author, lived in Eastland and one of the witnesses was an Austin Attorney for Ranger College. If there was ever a time to contact our legislators about something now would be the time. Ask or even demand that this bill be repealed. I cannot think of any valid reason for our elected officials here supporting this bill.

Finally I think our elected officials here owe us an explanation as to why they would support such a thing. And please don’t say it would create more jobs when it probably would not. We’ve just experienced a tax increase here along with an increase in water rates. At least that money is used here while any taxes collected by Ranger College would be paid directly to Ranger College in Ranger Texas. Believe me folks, this annexation attempt is not something you want to vote for. The ballot will state 43 cents. Forget the 11 cent claims because it’s my belief we’re not being told everything and I can find no legal reason why they have to abide by that claim. Please vote against this attempt to tax us.

Scott Blackburn