Checking the candidates' claims: Spending

AMARILLO, TEXAS - As the city election draws near, there's a lot of political mudslinging going on about the use of your tax dollars. So to help you make sense of it all, NewsChannel 10 has been digging through the dirt to check the facts behind the controversy.

So far this year, the city commission has spent millions upon millions. For example, there was $775 thousand for a new road project at Coulter to the loop, more than $250 thousand for airport furniture, and about $3.4 million revamping Ross Rogers golf course.

But what really seems to have set people off is the pledge to spend $6 million building a Kids Inc gymnasium downtown - a project that would raise taxes $6 a year for a $100 thousand homeowner.

Just over this weekend, hundreds of people already signed a petition trying to stop that spending from happening without voter approval first.

No one from the city was available for an on-camera interview Monday, so we pulled the documents ourselves - including the most recent external audit done of local finances.

It shows Amarillo owes about $260 million in long-term commitments like bonds and certificates of obligations. About 200 million of that is to ensure we have drinking water.

The audit goes on to say that's lower than average and Amarillo's still financially strong with a solid repayment plan and the highest credit score a city can get.

Plus we pulled an independent record from the Texas Municipal League of Cities which says out of all the towns 50,000 people or bigger, Amarillo has the second lowest tax rate in the state.