Elected officials in Freestone County overwhelmingly supported the Todd interest group’s multibillion-dollar plan to rebuild the state park, while opposing the proposed use of eminent domain by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
On Wednesday, county commissioners voted unanimously against the state’s decision to use eminent domain to preserve Lake Fairfield State Park, which the Dallas-based developer bought from Vistra Energy for more than $100 million on June 1. the park.
Commissioners noted that the proposed development is expected to generate $20 million in annual tax revenue for Freestone County and the Fairfield Independent School District.
That’s a huge windfall for Freestone County, which has roughly $11 million in 2022 revenue. It adds just under $1.7 million in property taxes in 2022, and just over $153,000 in taxes from new properties last year. Total revenue for Fairfield ISD in 2022 is just over $18 million.
County Judge Linda Grant said public opinion had shifted around the development, proposed as a $1 billion private resort with 400 luxury residences, since eminent domain entered the discussion and a golf course. She had previously spoken out about saving the parks, but has now shifted her position to suit her constituency.
Five county commissioners called Texas Parks and Wildlife’s decision to use eminent domain an “abuse of power and governmental overreach.”
Vistra Energy cuts more than 600 jobs in Freestone and Milam counties Shut down two coal-fired power plants 2018. It coincided with its decision to sell the 5,000-acre park and cooling lake that had been leased to the state for free since 1978.
“When our power plants and coal mines closed, the citizens of Freestone County lost a substantial portion of our tax base,” the letter said. “It would be selfish for TPWD to steal our opportunity to change our tax base.”
Previous estimates by Todd Interests indicated that the development could add as many as 200 jobs and $250,000 to $50 million in tax revenue for the county and school district.
The Park Commission voted unanimously on June 10 to seek eminent domain to save a state park between Waco and Nacogdoches in east Texas. Todd’s own letter denouncing eminent domain lashed out at Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Chairman Beaver Alpin, the billionaire owner of Buc-ee convenience stores.
“The residents of Freestone County are not happy with Chairman Applin’s decision,” Todd told reporters. real deal last week. “I’ve met dozens of good citizens in that community who understand when the government is out of control. They totally see what’s going on here.”
Aplin has said eminent domain or condemnation is a last resort to save “beloved parks.”
Freestone County Commissioner Lloyd Lane said of Parks Department officials: “They don’t live here. They don’t pay taxes here … Admit you’re doing it wrong, you’re not doing your job and stop this now. .”