Let’s review Will Sessoms REAL record.
As history shows, Will Sessoms voted to ignore citizens expressed wishes and developed projects rejected by citizens. And he has consistently voted to increase our real estate taxes.
Starting way back during his first time on council as a member and as vice-mayor, Council member Sessoms vote to increase our real estate tax rate from $.87 to $1.22 over the years 1990 to 1999. This year, he has successfully increased our tax rate again from $.87 to $.95. Are we heading to $1.22 – again?
Years ago, our city council, including Will Sessoms, refused to put a referendum on the ballot to give citizens a voice on building a hotel at 31st St. After citizens collected more than enough signatures to force council to include the question on the ballot and citizens voted NO for a hotel and YES for a park at that location. Sessoms ignored the citizens again.
Before building the hotel at 31st St. council asked the Economic Development Authority (EDA) to vote and make a recommendation. The EDA held a regular meeting and the vote was a tie vote and therefore no recommendation was forwarded to council. Our city council, including Sessoms, then appointed a new person to the EDA and requested another vote. The new person voted yes and the motion for the hotel was approved.
Similar manipulations have resulted in the convention center. Years before the convention center was built, council appointed the Pavilion Steering Committee to analyze all options and make recommendations to council. After months of study and deliberation, the council recommended an expansion of the Pavilion. (Note: the steering committee did not recommend a new convention center.)
During a city council meeting a week or so later, council discussed their options. Vice Mayor Sessoms stated, “I think we should build a new one. I think we should get a consultant in here and see what he thinks.” Obviously, a convention center was built and the citizens continue to pay $15.2 million per year to pay for it. (Total will be $307 million, not $202 million as often stated by council.)
More recently, Mayor Sessoms tried to push through the headquarters hotel for the convention center. He dropped the effort due to citizens backlash. Subsequently, he succeeded in passing the Tourism Zone Gap financing bill that will help fund tourism projects. And only a few months ago, our mayor tried to push through an arena without public input.
A record of ignoring citizen wishes and priorities and building projects that he wants – that is Will Sessoms record.
If Mayor Sessoms is re-elected, citizens should expect the very expensive light rail, a headquarters hotel for the convention center, more projects for tourism using the Zone Gap financing rip-off and real estate tax increases and increases in fees.
That is the REAL Will Sessoms record.