AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The city of Amarillo’s legal team is responding to Amarillo Businessman Alex Fairly’s appeal, stating that the ordinance which authorized $260 million in anticipation notes for the expansion and improvements to the Amarillo Civic Center Complex complies with the Texas Government Code in imposing a tax.
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, Fairly’s team made one claim in its appeal of the final Civic Center funding-related judgment in Potter County, claiming that retired Judge William Sowder made a mistake in his ruling, which failed to declare that Ordinance 7985 did not impose any tax pledged to pay for the debt.
The cross-appeal claimed that the notes did not impose a tax to pay for the debt, something that Fairly’s team stresses is part of section 1431.008(b) of the Texas Government Code. While the ordinance states the tax on all taxable property in the city would be levied, annually assessed and collected “in due time, form and manner,” Fairly’s team said that did not officially “impose the tax.”
“By requiring the governing body to impose the tax in the ordinance, the Legislature provides the citizens with the rights to notice and hearing required by the Texas Constitution and Texas Tax Code before the imposition of any tax,” Fairly’s brief read at the time.
In the city’s response, filed in the Seventh Court of Appeals on Tuesday, the team states that Section 1431.008(b)’s language is “forward-looking,” stating that anticipation notes approved were sufficient in levying the tax and collecting it in a subsequent year.
If the court went with Fairly’s team’s reading of the code, the city claimed it would lead to “absurd results” and “require the city to violate Texas Law prescribing how and when the city must assess and collect ad valorem taxes.” Specifically, officials said in the documents it would cause the city to:
- “Require tax anticipation notes to be paid off within a single year, eliminating the need for such notes in the first place and rendering meaningless the up-to-seven-year-maturity period that the Legislature authorized for such notes.”
- “Force the city to violate Texas law governing how and when taxing units assess and collect their annual property taxes.”
According to previous reports, officials with the city of Amarillo outlined during the trial the timeline of how a tax entity approves a property tax rate year after year, a process that occurs once a year, not every time a city issues debt.
The documents that the city’s legal team filed on Tuesday were in direct response to Fairly’s team’s claims that were outlined in their cross-appeal. The documents did not mention the issues raised in its own appeal, where the city alleges that the majority of the judgment surrounding the funding mechanism for the project should be reversed.
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