MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Mayor Jerry Morales and former Midland City Councilman Buddy Sipes were guest speakers Wednesday afternoon at the Midland County Republican Women's luncheon.
Both the Mayor and Sipes presented their side on the 4B tax extension, an important discussion with the election coming up soon.
Those in attendance at the luncheon thought the debate was helpful.
"I'm new to Midland so being able to hear Mr. Sipes and the Mayor have a cordial debate about the issues and the way the ballot is going to be worded and what the funds are going to go towards was really helpful to me so that I know what I need to go research before I go cast my vote," said Kate Ferrara.
One of the most hotly debated issues for both sides was exactly what the money is going to be used for.
"We are taking what we have today and just taking it beyond the 4B grounds, which is the sports complex," said Mayor Jerry Morales.
Far beyond the sports complex indeed.
"Our vision with a plan and solution is to identify parks, neighborhood parks, tournament parks, new roads, be able to take care of our sports complex which everybody is enjoying, without a new tax, without going after new debt and being able to have a sunset in there," said the Mayor.
But, Mayor Morales' vision wasn't cutting it for some of the more outspoken Midlanders.
"I think that you should keep the parks and recreation under the city budget. Not under a slush fund that is outside the city budget," said Buddy Sipes.
Sipes, who was a city councilman himself for many years, says the language on the ballot is confusing.
And, despite the efforts by the City Council to make it easier to understand, he cannot find an explanation for what the tax money will be used for.
After the debate, the main concern was still about what the City will do with the taxpayers money.
"I would advise them to look at what the City Council has done with the money so far. I know that this year, the City Council has already penciled in about 4.4 million dollars to put in to four playing fields. Four. That's a million, one hundred thousand dollars each. Those can be built with a lot less money," said Sipes.
Regardless of your stance on the issues, both sides encourage voters to do their research before the election.
"We hope that everybody will get on the website, go to Facebook and get informed," said Mayor Morales.
Early voting begins on April 24th. Election day will be May 6th.