By: Eric Horton
Last night the Brownfield City Council held a public hearing on the subject of the ballparks at Coleman Park. There were many there, however only four took the floor to speak about the potential upgrades to the ballfields. After the rules were given for the public hearing, City Attorney Lina Reyes-Trevino than began explaining ,using a power point presentation, of how the local taxes are disbursed and accrued. This was to help show the citizens who were there to understand the possibility of how the upgrades to the ballfields can be paid for without raising local taxes.
Reyes-Trevino explained and showed the citizens that in the past year that the majority of hotel/motel rooms that were used in Brownfield were mainly for sporting events. For the 2016/2017 year two events showed a higher rate of return and a high number of rooms in the hotels being used. Those activities were the softball/baseball tournaments and the bike rally. Reyes-Trevino said, “The hotel owners have requested that the city fund more like baseball/softball tournaments.” Reyes-Trevino went on to explain that there are two obstacles to get more tournaments here in Brownfield. One is the condition of the ballfields and the other is chapter 351 of the Tax Code.
Jeff Davis spoke on the condition of the ballfields. Davis said, “I think that pretty much everybody would agree with me, that they are in pretty bad shape.” Davis went on to show the citizens of what the concession stand looks like and how it only serves the one field and not all six. Davis also showed the softball fields concession stands and how it was in rough shape as well, some of it coming from those who vandalize them. Davis made mention that when the upgrade happen there will be a perimeter all the way around the complex. Davis said, “The restrooms are in bad bad shape.” and there is no privacy at the same time the restroom are out of date.
Reyes-Trevino began to explain the how chapter 351 of Texas Tax Code was the other obstacle. According to chapter 351, a city (municipality) cannot use hotel/motel sales taxes for upgrades to municipal facilities. They can only go for the promotion of events and activities to bring more revenue. However, Reyes-Trevino did contact Dis. 83 Texas House Rep. Dustin Burrows and Dis. 28 Texas Senate Rep. Charles Perry. Both representatives did help allow the City of Brownfield to obtain these hotel/motel tax funds to alleviate any burden of cost to the citizens of Brownfield.
The first citizen that spoke was Eric Morin. He was not in favor of the upgrades and felt it would be better if the school district and the city could come up with a plan to build a complex together. The third person to speak was Eric Martinez who is in favor of the upgrades. Martinez is the current YMCA director and has had much trouble using all fields do to the conditions. Jeremy Franco fourth and final speaker, who has help get baseball/softball tourneys here to Brownfield was adamant about the upgrades needing to be done. One thing is for certain, the fields and complex will not be done in the near future. Any funds that are used from any tax money will have to be placed in the 2018/2019 cycle meaning that no ground will even broken until at least October 2018, if all goes according to plan.