Fellow citizens,

My space for these notes will largely be taken up with two corrections regarding statements made by candidates speaking at the Meet the Candidates forum held last Tuesday evening, April 18 at the Community Center.

Before I start in on those I want to thank our Chamber of Commerce for producing this forum. It was very well put together and the attendance was outstanding.

I will first address a misinterpretation made by one of the candidates, and then I will talk about a misquote placed on page 5A of the April 21 edition of the Van Alstyne Leader:

First, one of the candidates informed the audience that the city has a budget line item for Starbucks coffee. This would be ridiculous, but it is not at all true. No one is charging the city for Starbucks coffee and there is no such item in the budget. I believe that the candidate misunderstood a graph that was presented during the last budget workshop, comparing the cost of governance that our taxes pay for with some of the kinds of items that individuals might purchase for themselves regularly. There were several items such as Starbucks coffee and weekly lawn care listed on a graph only to illustrate these costs versus the cost each of us pay in taxes for city services. In the candidate’s defense, the purpose of this illustration was made clear to all in attendance at the budget workshop, but if you were not in attendance at that conference then the purpose of the graph might not be clear.

The second item I want to address is the misquoting of a statement made by Councilman Billy Plake. He correctly stated that, at one point in negotiations with Palladium they asked that the lower age limit for residence in the senior living center be made 55. This was not what the council wanted and the council prevailed, keeping the lower age limit at 62. The VA Leader however quoted Mr. Plake as saying that Palladium had requested a lower limit of 52 years, but that the council held out for 55 – this is incorrect. So, if anyone is confused, the lower limit remains 62. No one will be allowed to live in Palladium unless they are at least 62 years of age.

During a political campaigning season a ton of information is passed around. Some of this information is bound to be erroneous and there will always be some misquotes. I am not trying to embarrass anyone over these errors, but only to get corrected information to you in case you are confused or concerned.

Yours truly,

Mayor Larry Cooper