Weatherford’s Three Amigos of Tax and Spend

eric photo220by Eric Matthews

The three Amigos of tax and spend (i.e. Councilman Swancy, Councilman Waymon Hamilton, and Mayor Hooks) voted for and passed the property tax increase at Tuesday night’s (Sept 22) Council Meeting.

Councilman Clinton and Councilman James Hamilton remained staunch advocates against the property tax increase but, were out voted by a majority vote of 3-2.

That’s not all to this sad story folks.  The premise behind the need for the property tax increase was to fund the debt service on the current road projects.

Did you know that the Propositions the citizens of Weatherford voted on in the 2006 General Bond Election for the roads and construction of Fire Station #4 were already sufficiently funded in accordance with the cost projections presented in the 2006 Citizen’s Capitol Advisory Report in
2006?

So why the need for the property tax increase?  The reason is our City Officials issued $46.7 million in certificates of obligation in 2007 that did not require voter approval in order to fund those costs associated with the Pass Through Toll Agreement with TXDOT.  Even though the City was unprepared to take on this project financially it was decided to proceed anyway in order to benefit from the cost incentives offered by TXDOT in hopes of saving money on the overall project.  However, due to the effect of the current economy and the cost of materials associated with this project the City is currently struggling to meet a $12 million dollar shortfall on this project with less than 11 months to fund this shortage.

Now here comes the shell game…keep an eye on the pea if you can…

Like General Obligation Bonds, Certificates of Obligation are secured by your Ad Valorem taxes a fancy word for property taxes.  The only difference in the two is Certificates of Obligation can be issued to fund debt obligations without the consent of the voters.  (Please visit the following website for more information on certificates of obligation: http://www.netarrant.info/Certificates.htm)

So when they say, “the voters voted on the road projects and we are only servicing the debt as it relates to those projects” that is not an entirely accurate statement.  The debt that resulted from the issue of $46.7 million in certificates of obligation was not voted on by the voters only that portion as it relates to the 2006 General Bond Election was voted on and approved by the voters.

To compound matters did you know your City Officials have spent $3.3 million of your tax dollars on various fees paid to outside firms for consulting, feasibility studies, and work projects from Oct 2008 to Sept
2009.  Let me give you some examples of these fees:

(1)  $63,109.52 was paid to Mccord Engineering, Inc (an outside consulting firm) for the Mayor’s Utility Task Force as it related to the electric rate issues surrounding the current utility contract with AEP.

(2)  $69, 448.47 was paid to Elim Group (an outside consulting firm) to speak at the Council, WMUB/Staff Retreat that was conducted at the Weatherford Library, June 12, 2009.

(3)  $11,000.00 was paid out to Raymond Turco and Associates (an outside firm)for a City Wide Citizen Attitudinal Survey.

(4) $17, 030.00 was paid out for a feasibility study for the Brazos Valley Exchange for the purpose of analyzing the impact of an Equine Convention Center in Weatherford.

(5)  $13,030.58 was paid for downtown railing improvements associated with the remodeling that was done on our City Square.

Now, I ask you if the City has well educated, well paid, and experienced Directors and Department heads as employees on City payroll then is it not a waste of tax payer dollars to not be using them for guidance on these various projects, feasibility studies, and staff retreats versus paying an outside consulting firm?

So now that you are aware of the Tip of the Financial Iceberg in our City how do you feel about the property tax increase now?  If you were managing your household budgets like the City is being run currently how long do you think it would be before bankruptcy was knocking at your door?

So I’m assuming your next question will be what do we do about this? Simple, exercise your God given right to vote in the next City Council Election in May 2010.  Councilman Waymon Hamilton, Councilman Swancy, and Mayor Hooks will be up for re-election.

23 responses

  1. You’re absolutely correct – we should not fix our road problem or pay our debts.

    Weatherford had representation like that for many years, and it’s why this town is in such a catch-up mess now. Why would we want to return to that?

    If this tax bump were for frivolous things, then I’d be the first guy on the podium to decry it, but making an argument that we should default on obligations or simply not do desperately needed roadwork so you can save the annual cost of a magazine subscription is ludicrous.

    You bet I’ll remember who voted for fiscal responsibility come May. I’ll remember who voted to screw the city finances, too.

  2. You’re absolutely correct – let me see if I can follow your logic here with an analogy. You’re saying we should give a drug addict more drugs; we should give an alcoholic more alcohol; and we should give a gambler more money to gamble. Is that right?

    Wrong! How about asking for some good old fashioned accountability from our elected officials? How about expecting City Hall to balance their budget like you would balance your household budget each month?! Let’s see…you draw the little t – chart and put expenses on one side and income on the other and if your expenses are more than your income a little light comes on upstairs and you say to yourself, “I better cut something out of the expense side or I’m going to be out on the street. ”

    Oh! I forgot that’s not how things work in government, right?! Big Government says I don’t need your t-chart when I’ve got an endless supply of tax-payer dollars to spend how I please. Oh by the way — you better not question how I spend your tax-payer dollars because you elected me and I know best how to spend your money.

    I’m sorry, I disagree. I believe elected officials serve the people and not vice versa. So, it would be reasonable to assume they would be good stewards of your money as well after all they serve the people right?!

    Don’t get me wrong here I’m glad the roads are being fixed. It should have been done a long time ago. There are a lot of things that should have been done a long time ago but, you can’t all of a sudden switch gears and say everything is screwed up so I’m going to fix everything at the same time. You have to take it a step at a time. You don’t give a thirsty man who is suffering from dehydration a fire hose to drink from right?! Your don’t want to kill him you just want to make him better. Instead, you give him a canteen and offer him a few sips and then gradually over an extended period of time allow him to consume more until his thirst is quenched and he is re-hydrated.

    The same reasoning can be applied to the problems with the City. You take it a project at a time while keeping your expenses in check with your revenue and eventually everything that needs to be done will get done.

    Bottom line- like the drug addict or the alcoholic the City has a problem with pursuing projects it doesn’t have the money to pay for and then holding its hand out and asking for more from the tax payer. Whether you are asking for the equivalent of an annual magazine subscription or a penny from the taxpayer… if you do so with bad intentions it is wrong in my book. The bad habit needs to be addressed and the cycle needs to be broken. If it takes a complete change over in new folks on the council to do that then I say let’s git ‘r done!

    Let’s remember who the real enemy is here and stay focused on the task at hand. Let’s join together and fight to ensure our City remains one of the best places to live, work, and raise a family in Texas!

  3. You are so wrong on so many levels.

    This tax hike was for debt service. You know that’s a separate fund, right? The general fund budget was balanced because city employees are taking uncompensated scheduled layoffs; because we’re not buying any needed equipment. Blah, blah, blah. Saying they’re not cutting anything isn’t just a stretch, it’s a complete and total LIE. Yes, you=liar. How’s that sticker feel? Is that what you meant to portray?

    Tell me again exactly what it is you’d cut from GF to pay the debt service, not just in this year, but in every year afterwards. I don’t mean point to a past budget, I mean what would you cut from *THIS* budget to reallocate to debt service? I don’t mean silliness like cutting all road engineering (which we can’t do by law) and waving a magic wand at the remaining 8 million dollar hole.

    Frankly I think you’re dead wrong on the streets, too. “A bit at a time”. What pace would that be? The same pace that has a sea of brake lights already? Street work is very expensive. You can’t wave a magic wand and make it cheap. We’re nowhere nearly close to “doing it all at once”. If you want to complain, ask Phil King and Craig Estes why our Texas Legislature has not funded upgrades to the roads that TxDOT is responsible for. I asked Phil on this site, and I’ve been completely ignored.

    Your drug addict analogy is offensive. Who do you think is going to pay for the infrastructure projects? HELLO, McFLY, it’s the taxpayer.

    You’re not doing a good job of logically convincing me of anything. Frankly, you’re leading me to believe that you don’t have a clue in the world how municipal budgets work. That .025 increase was approved by the voters, and no amount of crabbing around and arguing semantics gets you around that. You’re trying to assert that doing what the voters ordered is somehow seedy. Don’t give me that CO vs Bond crap. They stepped up for desperately needed work, and it has to be paid for. So either offer *workable* (key word there) solutions or you need to stop waving your ignorance around in public until you can.

    1. Your sophomoric attack on Mr. Matthews seems a little over the top in my uninformed opinion.
      From your reaction, it sounds like Matthews hit a nerve of truth! From my perspective as a bystander, Matthews comes across as a citizen who has put forth the time and effort to become informed on the issues and has the courage to speak up. You, Mr. Felmey however, come across as some 3rd party individual who has taken it upon himself to defend the actions of elected officials who have a reputation of spending tax dollars foolishly. The Jennifer Fadden severance sweetheart deal comes to mind.
      Read the Weatherford Democrat story “Fadden severance worth $120K”. http://www.weatherforddemocrat.com/local/local_story_256175401.html

      1. We agree you’re uninformed, “Mark”. I’m a “3rd party” whose family got here in the 1800s, and I have lived in the family home my entire life. I’ll be happy to put my chops up any day, against any one.

        Jennifer Fadden got screwed and hung out to dry by the persons who should have taken the heat for the utility rate FUBAR. It was a chicken-**** move by council members who paid for it anyway. With that said:

        a) I don’t believe in severance. At all. Gone means gone.
        b) That has jack-all to do with the current budget discussion.

        Feel free to try to put more words in my mouth. I’m sure there’s a wider brush for you somewhere.

    2. A CONCERNED CITIZEN!!

      TO MR PLANNING AND ZONING,

      I think that someone hit a raw nerve with you, and perhaps you feel like a bug on the sidewalk in the summer under a magnifying glass??? Why such hostility and name calling? AND BY THE WAY… WHAT ARE YOUR SOLUTIONS????

      1. From someone who won’t put their name on their words?

        Get lost. My solution was to pay the bills with the .025 tax hike approved by the voters. Put that in your pipe.

      2. A CONCERNED CITIZEN!!

        Sticks and stones Brad, sticks and stones..

        Now, as for you, and these are YOUR WORDS VERBATIM, “Weatherford had representation like that for many years, and it’s why this town is in such a catch-up mess now. Why would we want to return to that?” MY QUESTION TO YOU WAS, WHY DID YOU NOT HAVE THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMS AHEAD OF TIME? DID YOU NOT KNOW THE STREETS NEEDED UPDATING AND TO BE FIXED AHEAD OF TIME? That this was going to cost money, ALOT of money, and perhaps a little pre-planning was in order? Oh, no, thats right, you believe the citizen’s of Weatherford should just go along like shepples and suck it up and drive on!? No peeps out of us right? Oh, yes, your example must be the BIG RETAIL CENTERS WITH NO INGRESS/EGRESS EXITS that dumped out onto 51 south, South Main, Texas Drive. I wonder how the traffic on South Main and Santa Fe got to be so bad? Hmmmm? Suppose it was because lack of planning and execution of putting in roads prior to putting in those lovely retail centers?
        Yet. Brad, you stumble on yourself. BECAUSE IF YOU WERE SO CONCERNED AS A CITIZEN AND WERE HERE BEFORE THE CURRENT CITY COUNCIL BOARD, and on an advisory board, then where was your voice when the roads needed to be updated before the retail centers were put into place?
        AGAIN YOUR WORDS VERBATIM,’If you believe I’m just a shill for the majority because I serve on a volunteer citizens advisory board (and my appointment predates the entire existing council except for Waymon H.)”. Wow, I guess maybe I should bring up the drainage issues caused by the big retail centers, no that would just cause more issues. Yes, I think I will light my pipe now.

      3. Yeah, more sniping from someone who still can’t quite bring themselves to put their name to their words. At least Eric is willing to brand his words with his real name, like an actual adult.

        I have spoken often about the roads, for years, to anyone foolish enough to sit still and listen. I expect any day now for Terry Hughes to have a picture of my face with a red circle and a line through it taped to his door. In fact, if you’ll click on the “Ask Phil” tab above, you’ll see him ignoring me asking about proper transportation funding at the state level, the absence of which is why the City has these humongous expenditures in the first place. Ask Mark Riley, or Charles Akin (my former comm Pct 3) how many times I have pushed appropriate transportation infrastructure. Of course, you don’t know that, because you obviously don’t know me as well as you think, but you’re not letting that stop you from wild (and wrong) accusations, are you, Mr./Mrs. Nameless?

        Of course, you also don’t know (I’m sensing a pattern here) that you cannot by state law use surface streets as a reason to deny a legitimate land use. I’m sure you think we should have just trashed the law and gotten the taxpayers sued silly, right? Yeah, ’cause that would be soooo much better all around. Then we could have high taxes and no infrastructure to show for it at all! 🙂

        We’re also limited by state law in what we can require them to do as a condition of use. There are limits on what we can require for runoff and traffic mitigation. Believe me, this subject has been hashed to death, because we don’t like it either, but we can’t just contravene state law capriciously. If the law says “shall issue”, then we don’t just get to ignore the inconvenient parts. That’s kinda-sorta why it’s called “the law”.

        Of course, you’ve been to all of the 10^24 meetings where we’ve been over this endlessly, right?

        No, just as your argument that the city should have spent money earlier/faster is laughable juxtaposed against your complaint about paying for it now. Where do you think the money for roads comes from, I wonder? Some Alice in Wonderland moment?

        You’ve been around the times I’ve said we’re over-funding parks, or that the library has outlived it’s usefulness, or that the various NGOs cannot and should not expect significant funding from municipal government. You were there when I told the council majority, that we should divest the utility system. Talk about pleasing my masters, eh? Yep, I’m just a shill. A rollover, a hopeless sycophant.

        So, in short, because I don’t get up in public and turn into a wall-eyed, ranting moron, it doesn’t count. Ooooookay. Different strokes, I guess.

        Overall, that’s a pretty wimpy rant. I give it a 3. You can do better. Preferably with your name. Alternately, I’m in the same house I grew up in, so it’s easy to find me if you want to display your ignorance in person. Just let me know and I’ll have iced tea made.

    3. Hey Felmey – I got a few questions for you.

      Are you a liberal? Because you sure come off as one. You believe in big government don’t you? You think the Government should be running everything don’t you?

      God forbid that someone questions how money is being spent. You think they ought to just sit there and pay taxes out the nose? Let me know if I’m getting close.

      I bet you just love the idea of Nationalized healthcare, the fact that the Government owns banks and auto dealerships, and this cap and trade deal don’t you?

      Things in Weatherford have been screwed up because people like you make excuses for those inept folks in power. You talk a good game but you never come up with any viable solutions on things.

      Why don’t you tell us what you would do genius?

      1. Seriously? Have you read ANYTHING I’ve posted on this page? The parts where I said get rid of NGO funding, cut parks, and close the library? How about selling the utility dept. and lake lots? All of that doesn’t count because I’m for doing what the voters authorized for roads? Holy cow, what planet do you live on?

        Hey, genius, grab the upcoming Weatherford Telegram (presuming they run my submission). Get back to me. Hopefully your reading comprehension there is better than here.

        Sheesh.

      2. Hey Felmey why don’t you impress me a little with some intellectual conversation instead of your rants. I’m not hiding behind an internet name so let’s talk shop.

        Your family has been here since Moses parted the red sea. You’ve been on the Planning and Zoning Board since Waymon was in diapers. Blah, Blah, Blah.
        By the way, the use of planning and zoning together in this town can be best described as an oxymoron wouldn’t you agree? So who is the genius that did the zoning on Fort Worth Highway? Is that your claim to fame bubba? We have light industrial mixed in with commercial, mixed in with residential. Let’s add a touch of salt here and a smidge of pepper there Ey Felmey. Is that how you do it?

        So, where shall I start? You want to close the library. You planning on doing some book burning? You want to dumb down the masses so they won’t question what your doing I bet. I know let’s break out the Nazi armbands so we all can march down main street in goose step fashion?

        Let’s see what else. You want to cut the parks. You planning on bull dozing them and flushing the 6 million + we have already spent on them for what? I know more banks and hotels. That is just what we need. Hey Marcie tell little Johnnie that he has to go play baseball in the shopping center parking lot cause big bad Brad has closed all the parks. Is that your plan?

        Ah Geese Brad your telling me we’re going back to candles and kerosene lamps again because we won’t have electricity? Your kidding right? Electricity is bad it fills the air with carbon emissions and we must not do that.

        Hey Brad I got a heck of an idea. Since we are closing the Library and burning books and cutting Parks and shutting off the juice why stop there. Let’s just bulldoze all our asphalt roads and trade in our cars for horses. That would save a ton of money.

        You’ve convinced me man! Where do I sign up?

      3. (dumbfounded look)

        Uh, yeah.

        Lenny, I believe I’ll take your advice and let “Jim” have the last word. Try as I might, I can’t think of a single comeback to that last post.

  4. Brad- I have been to nearly every City Council meeting since June 2008 and have spoken to the Council at a majority of those meetings on many different topics. Where were you?

    Are you defending the tax increase because of your position as Chair of the City of Weatherford Planning and Zoning Board? In my opinion this is a topic you should have recused yourself from on the grounds of prejudice and/or personal involvement due to your position on the City of Weatherford Planning and Zoning Board.

    Let me ask you a few questions. Why has the City of Fort Worth managed to cut $10 million out of it’s budget and pass it without a tax increase? Why have the City of Mansfield and Kennedale passed their budgets without a tax increase? These are examples of sister Cities in the Metroplex that have chosen to take the harder road versus balancing their budgets on the backs of their taxpayers because they can see the train of financial disaster roaring down the tracks if they don’t. They know just how fragile things are economically out there right now and they don’t want to compound matters.

    I’ve done my homework my friend. Please re-read my earlier comments. I never said the City wasn’t making cuts. My statement was inquiring as to why they spend money on outside consulting firms, groups, and other frivolous things when they have many well-paid, well-educated, and experienced folks serving as Directors and Department heads on the City payroll already. The money they spent on those outside firms could have been used to pay down the debt service on the roads as well as supplement City payroll for those employees who are working furloughed hours now. If we don’t start by demanding accountability out of our elected officials the addiction to frivolous spending and higher taxes to pay for that spending will never be broken.

    Bottom line the name calling and personal attacks are not necessary here. What is necessary is providing financial security to the citizens of Weatherford by exercising fiscal responsibility and restraint in spending so they don’t have to keep wondering how much harder they will have to work to cover the next tax increase.

    1. In order:

      Attendance at meetings is not synonymous with being abstracted or uninformed, and you know it. I’m taking you head-on on specific issues, and you’re ducking and weaving and implying I don’t know as much as you because we haven’t been to the same meetings. Where were you for the years I’ve gone to council meetings? Should I then point to that and say you’re ignorant? No. Neither should you. If I’m ignorant, or wrong, you should be able to show it, and you haven’t. Chop, chop.

      What kind of gargantuan stretch are you making to say I have to forfeit my rights as a citizen of this city in exchange for volunteering for my community? This is a horrifying policy statement from someone who wants to be in a position of authority. What does P&Z have to do with any of this discussion? Do we set tax rates, or consult on the municipal budget, or receive a salary? No to all of that. Would you take the same position if I were up there agreeing with you? I think not. If you believe I’m just a shill for the majority because I serve on a volunteer citizens advisory board (and my appointment predates the entire existing council except for Waymon H.), then take a gander at the upcoming Weatherford Telegram to see how well I toe the line for the existing majority. I’ll be glad to offer you salt for your crow, if you have the grace to acknowledge it, which I doubt. Should I recuse from letters to the editor, too? Thank God you didn’t win or perhaps I’d find out the answer to that.

      The City of Fort Worth’s $10M cut was what percentage of their budget compared to Weatherford’s $4M CFY? C’mon, you’re quick to throw around your alleged proficiency with numbers. Do you just skip over the ones that are inconvenient? As a percentage of budget, what would Fort Worth’s deficit delta be if it were scaled the same as Weatherford’s $12M? Comparing dollar-to-dollar with Fort Worth shows a complete disconnection from reality when dealing with numbers, which is simply shocking considering your education background.

      I fully agree that you have done your homework. You’re ahead of 99.9% of the people running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and for that I offer sincere acknowledgement. What stuns me is that you can do that homework and come to the conclusions that you do. Have city employees do $5M of TxDOT engineering in their spare time? Are you mad? Dismiss a $12M budgetary hole like you did at the council meeting with a flippant “oh, I’m sure we can find it somewhere”? We both agree that there’s things to be cut such as Doss (and frankly, the library, and parks, and…), but $12M is a HUGE hole to plug for a town of this size and tax base. Until you can come up with $12M of real-world, *VALID* reductions (that aren’t silly!) to offset the debt service the ***voters approved*** (still don’t have an answer for that one, do ya?), then you’re just making noise for the sake of noise. You say you understand the budget, so where is your alternative? You don’t have one and you know it.

      As for calling you a liar, I stand by that statement until you retract your demonstrably false assertations and innuendo. If that gives you license to call me names back, have at it. I’m a big boy.

      I freely admit you’ve got my dander up because you have vilified good men who volunteer for this community. So far, you’ve done Jack-all except holler and misrepresent numbers while simultaneously trying to leave the impression that you know better than everyone else. Uh, no, you don’t, and you’re proving it over and over again. The rule of holes, Eric.

      The sad thing is that things you’re saying have merit, but are getting completely lost because you’re accompanying the valid with the invalid, and that’s just a pitiful shame considering how much work you obviously put into all this.

      1. Felmey, whoever said “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” had to be thinking of you. You continue to make enemies you don’t even know.

      2. Yeah, it’s easy to be a nameless Internet enemy, isn’t it? Gets a little tougher with a real name. 😉

        So what will this enmity get me? Uh, a big fat nothing. Unless you intend to resort to illegal or dishonorable actions, then there is absolutely nada that you or anyone else can do that will make a hill of beans difference in my life.

        Of course, you could always try arguing with logic, but I guess anonymous pseudo-threats will do when you’re losing that battle.

  5. A CONCERNED CITIZEN!!

    Wow, speaking of ducking and weaving Brad… just answer the questions. Don’t throw facts and figures my way, those I can get for myself, TELL ME YOUR SOLUTIONS, besides just taxing the citizens’s to death. If the city had looked at different solutions, alongside a moderate tax increase years ago, and perhaps initiated them previously, do you think maybe this problem might have been resolved already? Wow. Imagine that… its called budgeting and projecting into the future, might want to check it out. Why, I ask are you so hostile? Instead of spending all your time on here you need to spend your time implementing some solutions to your bellyaches and complaints, that would be so much more productive…. but, my guess is you are considering a run for some office and are tryig to generate interest. Well, you have certainly gotten mine, although not in a good way.

    1. I did answer the question, in a single sentence. Just because you disagree with the answer isn’t the same as me not answering it. That pesky logic thing tripping you up (again).

      Of course, you don’t have a workable alternative, so your only argument is that it’s somehow my fault mankind hasn’t invented a time machine to go back and change other people’s actions. As usual, you haven’t a logical leg to stand on so your only course of action is to talk about anything else except the issue that you’ve lost the argument over.

      I’m hostile because I have a phenomenally low tolerance for kooks and anonymous Internet bullies. Pick whichever category offends you the least.

      I have been nagged for years to run by both sides of this artificial divide, and have not. I’m only on here because I detest sitting and listening to the self-righteous who think that the volume of their voices is an acceptable substitute for knowing what they’re talking about.

      In all of these replies, not a single person has come up with a logical refutation that holds water. I have done nothing but. Y’all really suck at this. I was hoping for a much better debate. Seriously. I can’t even take these ramblings seriously except as just emotionally-driven voices hollering and bleating in the darkness.

      Someone, ANYONE, come up with some logical debate, please. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

  6. Eric, I commend you for sparking such an interesting debate. I can only add that I have finally learned that the surest way to lose an argument is to insist on winning, and that the most destructive word in any argument. is the last word.

    I would encourage everyone to keep thinking ~ and keep speaking.

    It’s been said that “If everyone is thinking alike, no one is thinking”.

    1. That is so true Lenny. Getting the last word never convinces anyone.

  7. Lenny, thank you for your kind words and for being such a gracious host. The seeds of Weatherford’s future are definitely being planted here. I look forward to the harvest.

  8. Well folks it seems more spending is coming our way if we don’t speak up. There are two items on the Tuesday, December 8, 2008 City Council Agenda to be voted on at 6:30pm in the City Council Meeting. Those items are #8 and #9 on the Consent Agenda.

    Item #8 Discuss and consider Resolution R2009-29 authorizing the city manager to make application to
    the Statewide Transportation Enhancement Program for funds to construct Phase II of the Hike
    and Bike Trail system.

    In 2006 the City of Weatherford applied for Statewide Transportation Enhancement Program (STEP) funds to
    construct and extend the hike and bike trail from the Santa Fe Depot northwest to Cartwright Park. The
    program was receded the following year. The Texas Department of Transportation has again issued a call for projects to be funded through the Statewide Transportation Enhancement Program and a resolution authorizing the city manager to nominate this project for funding is submitted for council discussion and consideration. The deadline for submission is December 11, 2009.

    Total cost of the proposed project is estimated to be $3,164,800.00 and the city will be required to pay 20% of the total cost. The city’s match would be $632,960.00.

    Item #9 Discuss and consider Resolution R2009-30 authorizing the city manager to make application to
    the Statewide Transportation Enhancement Program for funds to purchase and rehabilitate the old
    Texas and Pacific Railroad Depot.

    In 2006 the City of Weatherford applied for Statewide Transportation Program (STEP) funds to purchase and
    rehabilitate the T&P Railroad Depot. The program was receded the following year. The Texas Department of
    Transportation has again issued a call for projects to be funded through the Statewide Transportation
    Enhancement Program and a resolution authorizing the city manager to nominate this project for funding is
    submitted for council discussion and consideration. The deadline for submission is December 11, 2009.

    Total cost for property acquisition and rehabilitation is estimated at $2,990,000.00 and the city will be required to pay 20% of the total cost. The city’s match would be $598,000.00.

    The key to receiving the State Grant is the City has to have the $1, 230, 960.00 readily available now for the two projects.

    Let’s take a step back and take a look into the City’s Financial position currently.

    (1) There was a $12 million dollar shortfall on the Pass Through Toll Project that is being undertaken by TXDOT that the City had to fund in order to complete the road projects associated with that agreement.

    (2) It was discovered recently that the water and sewage lines on South Main needed to be moved due to the widening of the road which resulted in another $800,000.00 in expenses the City had to fund. This was an expense that was not originally budgeted in the road projects.

    (3) The City is currently furloughing employees and cutting back on work hours in order to combat budget shortfalls.

    (4) The City Manager during the November 24, 2009 City Council meeting reported that the City was projecting a $1.5 million shortfall in revenues due to current economic conditions.

    So let’s recap on how much the city is in the red right now. $12,000,000.00 + $800,000.00 + $1,500,000.00 = $14, 300,000.00 ($14 million and some change !!!!) Note: this is just what they have made public to us and the financial position could be far worse than this.

    If the city is $14 million and some change in the red right now and they are furloughing employees and cutting back on hours then where are we going to come up with $1, 230, 960.00 for the Hike and Bike Trail and rehab of the Texas and Pacific Railroad Depot? Don’t get me wrong these would be nice enhancements to our City but, I think the City should focus on finishing the roads before it elects to pursue any other projects. If these projects were deferred in 2006 then I think they can be deferred again until we have the money to fund them.

    So, the question to be answered Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 6:30 pm at City Hall is will our City Council vote “no” on funding the hike and bike trail and rehab of the T&P Railroad depot or will they commit us to another $1.2 million in projects we cannot afford currently? If you want to find out the answer to this question then I invite everyone to come to the City Council meeting Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 6:30pm at City Hall.

    Keep in mind we the people have already received a tax increase this year from the three amigos of tax and spend.

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