Outside group encouraging WF residents to vote no on bond proposals

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - A group from Arlington is in Wichita Falls. They're trying to encourage people to vote no on the city's bond proposals.

Signs are starting to pop up throughout the city from a group called Texans For Freedom. The signs say it's okay to vote no on bonds.

It has some people upset that someone outside the community is trying to influence a municipal election.

"They're not professional economic and community developers," C.E.O. of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, Henry Florsheim said. "They are ad agencies and political parties that seek to shoot down tax propositions. That's all they do."

In 2014 the Wichita Falls I.S.D. was looking to pass a bond proposal.

During the election, an outside group came to the city encouraging people not to vote for the bond, which did not pass.

"Think about from 2014 to now," Florsheim said. "Had that not happened, we could have new high schools in Wichita Falls right now. So I said oh no not again. I don't have a problem with people voting no. Our mission with fallsfuture.com and the campaign that we've launched is to make sure that voters are educated."

Florsheim does have a problem with them trying to influence the vote.

"They don't know how this stuff works," he said. "And I guarantee you that you couldn't find a single example of them coming out in favor of a proposition for some community because they decide somehow in their expert opinion this proposition will work."

Treasurer of the group William Eastland told News Channel 6 that one of their members is from Wichita Falls and asked for the groups help to educate people on some of the problems with the proposals.

He said the group gets involved in city issue elections to help make Texas the most competitive state and said it's their right to speak up and voice their opinions of any government body in Texas.

Eastland believes the projects cost too much and won't spark economic growth. Florsheim disagrees.

"Every single one of the highest taxed counties in Texas is growing like crazy and they don't have problems attracting business," Florsheim said. "He doesn't know what he's talking about. If he's so concerned with the economic development of Wichita Falls, maybe he should call the head of the Chamber of Commerce so we can have a conversation."

Florsheim has one message for citizens.

"Wichitans should make decisions for Wichitans," he said. "And we shouldn't listen to anybody else telling us what to do."

Eastland said it's very common for people to complain about outside groups coming in and influencing city elections.

He said there's some validity to it, but added that doesn't mean they don't have good ideas.

Florsheim said this group does not know the city and doesn't believe Wichitans are going to allow an outside group to help vote down a bond election this time.

He added he's more concerned with his citizens and what they want Wichita Falls to look like.

Early voting starts a week from Monday.

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