Texas might overpay for reservoir after fumbling Fairfield park deal

Texas might overpay for reservoir after fumbling Fairfield park deal

In a misstep that could be costly to Texas taxpayers, the state might overcompensate for its mishandling of the Fairfield park contract by significantly overpaying for a new reservoir.

The Lone Star State has drawn criticism for its negotiations with Fairfield, a town located northwest of Dallas, over the development of a park. After Fairfield officials threatened to take the state to court, Texas agreed to pay $3.5 million for the park. Many argue that the state should have been willing to pay far less, due to the fact that the land in question has been appraised for roughly $1.4 million.

Now, according to reports, the state is working to acquire a new reservoir site at a price that could be up to three times the appraised value. If the state is not able to negotiate a lower price, then Texas taxpayers will be on the hook for a hefty sum.

The Texas Water Development Board, which is overseeing the reservoir project, is aware of the criticisms surrounding the Fairfield deal but insists that the situation is not comparable. According to a spokeswoman for the board, the Fairfield proposal was negotiated in the context of a “public-private partnership,” whereas the proposed reservoir site is a “straight purchase and sale.”

Still, the board has been hesitant to provide details on the deal, citing the ongoing negotiations.

While it is too soon to tell whether the state will overspend on the reservoir project, one thing is certain: Texas officials must exercise caution in their negotiations. Given the misstep with Fairfield, the state cannot afford to make any more mistakes that could lead to an unnecessary financial burden on taxpayers.

Should the state fail to negotiate a lower price for the reservoir, it could be an expensive lesson for Texas taxpayers.