The city of Amarillo’s approval of an ordinance to fund a $260 million Amarillo Civic Center project using anticipation notes will seek expedited judgment from the 320th District Court of Potter County on Tuesday to move forward on its plan.
There has been legal opposition for the proposal with a suit filed by Alex Fairly, president of the Fairly Group, contending that the city’s process to fund the project is illegal and not a proper use of Texas Government Code 1431, asserting that this type of funding can only be used for eminent emergency type situations for issuance of these notes.
With the expected rising of interest rates, the city has sought to move forward quickly to lock in its rates for the project, which could adversely affect the overall cost of the project the longer it waits. The city has sought to combine all lawsuits in the matter into the judgement of the trial judge, which would settle all legal matters on the proposal, but Fairly has argued that if these cases are to be combined, the trial should be postponed until 2023 for an appropriate time for discovery.
No decision has been passed down as of Friday if the judge will combine the two suits involving the city’s proposal, but the city has requested that Fairly’s lawsuit be enjoined or halted, until the final judgment of their own lawsuit is determined.
Fairly said that he trusts the system, but this is not about the system nor is it about whether Amarillo needs a new civic center.
“To me and most Amarilloans, it is about whether the in-power minority can ignore and overstep the majority," Fairly said. “It is about whether a few can impose their opinion on those that disagree with them. Tuesday will be only the beginning of the process that will take time, but this is a principled fight."
Fairly continues with: “Even if the mayor and her supporters on the council with their lawyers have found a way to thread the needle of taxing the majority of folks against their wishes, we will unapologetically argue to close such a loophole.”
When reached out for comment, Mayor Ginger Nelson said that the city could not comment on ongoing litigation but said she was confident of the city’s position and trusts the process.
“I trust the process, and I trust going through this court process that I know we follow the law and think the court will come to the right determination to apply the law in this situation. I am trusting that process," Nelson said.
Further updates on the trial will be posted on amarillo.com as information comes out.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Judgement on Amarillo Civic Center goes before court July 5