The Lamar County Appraisal District’s request to purchase the Peoples National Bank building in downtown Paris has failed to find the support it needed from its taxing jurisdictions.
Blossom City Council on Thursday voted without dissent to deny the district’s request for funding assistance.
Three-fourths, or eight of the 12 taxing jurisdictions in the Lamar County Appraisal District area, had to approve the purchase price of $625,000 plus closing costs and financing. Blossom City Council joined Paris City Council, Chisum ISD and Prairiland ISD in opposing the plan, preventing the necessary three-fourths approval.
Blossom councilors were under the impression the city would be on the hook for $48,000 annually for 25 years to help the appraisal district pay the building. That would total more than $1.2 million in that time. Under the 25-year plan proposed by the Appraisal District, which broke down the funding based on a percentage of the community’s tax levy, with amounts annually ranging from under $100 to more than $9,000. Blossom would have paid $172.61 per year.
Blossom Mayor Charlotte Burge presented the $48,000 figure because the paperwork she referenced listed that amount as the loan amortization.
Of the 12 taxing districts, Lamar County would have paid the most, at $9,524 per year for 25 years. Deport, Roxton and Honey Grove would have paid less than Blossom.
When making the decision to deny the request, Burge expressed a desire to see money kept locally.
“I personally do not want to put my city in debt for somebody else to have a nice skyrise building, when I can spend that kind of money on my streets in my city,” Burge said. “I believe in improvement, and I believe in helping my neighbor improve, but I don’t want to do it on the expense of my community, when there’s so many other things for $48,000 a year that I could do to improve my community.”
Burge also said she thinks the appraisal district can find a better-suited building.
“We’ve got a lot of empty buildings,” she said. “We’ve got the old Sears building sitting there empty, we’ve got the post office building and what used to be the Big Lots building adjacent to each other.”
Lamar County Chief Appraiser Jerry Patton has said a need for additional staff and a more taxpayer-friendly office to keep abreast of changing times were major contributing factors for the need of a larger office.
Patton previously said he performed due diligence in looking for a new office location, saying he looked at several buildings throughout Paris and talked with several building contractors.