Round 1 goes to the tax payers

Watch for Round 2

Watch for Round 2

by Lenny Leatherman –

Those in city government who propose bond propositions must be held accountable by their superiors – the tax payers!

In the Weatherford Democrat snippet shown at the bottom of this page, councilmember Heidi Wilder is quoted, “This [proposition failure] will affect transportation slightly but we will keep going with our strategic plan, even if there is a slight alteration.” Makes one wonder if transportation is the primary reason for this bond boondoggle!

In her statement Wilder admits that spending in excess of $16 million on their master plan will only “affect transportation slightly” And although the voters disapprove of their plan, they will keep going with their strategic plan, “even if there is a slight alteration.

A slight alteration?

Does this mean you believe voter disapproval of your grand scheme is only a minor distraction that can easily be overcome with a slight alteration?  That’s the way the game is played….right?   It’s time now to fair dealreshuffle, to re-group and re-package the same old bloated proposal for the stated purpose of creating a pedestrian friendly downtown and to recapture that old historic feel.

Round 2 may appear to be a smaller leaner looking package in order to create the perception that our elected officials are listening and responding to the intent of the voting public.

Really?

Will you please state for the tax payers – what is the problem you are trying to solve that costs $16 million? How much do you NEED to spend to solve a traffic problem, and how much do you WANT to spend to “recapture that old historic feel and to make downtown more pedestrian friendly”?

Will your requested $16 million actually solve a problem?

Except for the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway (Western Loop) and the proposed Eastern Loop, I see nothing that will reduce the volume of traffic that flows into Weatherford. Simply moving traffic from one street to another (a north loop) is like moving loose change from one pocket to another. All you have done is move the problem. Doesn’t it make more sense to prevent, or at least discourage an unmanageable volume of traffic from entering Weatherford, that is….if your real objective is to manage traffic?

We understand that Weatherford is facing significant growth and with growth comes added demands on infrastructure. Instead of attempting to placate a selected few in downtown Weatherford, shouldn’t funds instead be spent on infrastructure in areas where growth is going to occur?

Unfortunately, the collective judgment (or lack thereof) on display in this bond proposal will no doubt cause tax payers to look with skepticism at future proposals that may indeed be necessary.

_____________________

 <Snip>

From the Weatherford Democrat –

Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2014 11:41 pm

City, district bonds fail

2014 bond electionStaff Reports

Bond issues proposed by the City of Weatherford and the Aledo Independent School District failed to pass Tuesday night, while a bid for annexation for Emergency Services District No. 3 passed by a little less than 300 votes.

It was a fairly close race throughout for the City of Weatherford’s bond proposition, which initially showed 44 percent voting in favor of, according to early voting numbers.

Final but unofficial results Tuesday night saw the $16.5 million bond proposition fail, with 3,033 residents voting against and 2,463 voting in favor.

“I am surprised slightly [with the results] but that’s the will of the people. I’m just happy we had so many people come out and vote,” Weatherford Place 1 City Councilmember Heidi Wilder said.

The $16.5 million downtown renovation bond proposition, which was condensed from three propositions into one during an Aug. 14 board meeting, revolved around the city’s conceptual downtown plan, which would have accounted for $14 million of the total proposition.

An effort at “recapturing that old, historic feel” while becoming more pedestrian-friendly, the plan would have phased in over about three years, beginning with a loop on the north side of the square to divert traffic from the downtown area, while adding one-way streets to affect north-south flow, according to City of Weatherford Director of Transportation and Public Works Terry Hughes.

Wilder said that after Tuesday’s results, the board would have to go back and reevaluate its strategic plan.

“Transportation is always one of the top priorities besides public health and safety,” she said. “This will affect transportation slightly but we will keep going with our strategic plan, even if there is a slight alteration.”

After the dust finally settled Tuesday night Aledo ISD residents had nixed issuing $61.5 million in bonds by about 500 votes, halting plans to build a new elementary school, expand McAnally Intermediate School and other projects.

The final tally was 3,152 (46 percent) in favor and 3,633 (54 percent) against. A total of 3,887 votes were cast in early voting, with 1,785 in favor (46 percent) and 2,102 (54 percent) against.

“The 2025 Committee worked really hard to come up with this recommendation, but the community has spoken,” AISD Superintendent Derek Citty said. “We’ll have to evaluate what to do in the next election cycle.

“Historically, in this district, bonds typically fail in their first attempt. I’ve been told that by a lot of folks.”

School administrators estimated that the bond’s passage would have caused the district’s current tax rate of $1.4252 per $100 of assessed value to rise to $1.5210 per $100 of assessed value, adding about $225 to the annual tax bill of the owner of a house valued at $235,268, the district’s average taxable house value.

<Snip>

For more go to: http://www.weatherforddemocrat.com/news/city-district-bonds-fail/article_6ed0da9c-64ae-11e4-806c-efc0a06d4f7b.html

 

 

 

 

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5 responses

  1. I can tell you why the push is on for the East Loop project. Judge Mark “light Rail” Riley doesn’t like the noise of traffic around his courthouse. He said as much at last Wednesday’s meeting at Tison Elementary School in Weatherford. When Deborah Dupont once again tried to discuss the legality of the Commissioners’ Court using “excess funds from the transportation bond to hire Frees and Nichols for the East Loop project, Riley shouted her down. He has claimed those “excess funds” for his own and law or no law, will use them however he sees fit. Of course the Four Musketeer puppets will sanction anything he does.

    Parker County has earned the reputation of the crookedest county in Texas, and will evidently go to great lengths to keep the title.

  2. We have to start electing people to these positions that are stewards with our money. People who have an understanding of service and being a “public servant” right now we are the servants to our masters on the City Counsels and the County Commssioners Court. What we need is about 150 protesters outside of Riley’s court on Monday mornings then we’ll see how he likes the noice level. I’ll bring a bullhorn.

    1. Senator_Blutarsky | Reply

      Where are your TEA Party bretheren and sisterdom ? 150+ Bullhorn-led protestors and hecklers could have some serious effect.

      So could a formal petition drive insisting resignations from specific elected posts, based on dereliction of duty and abuse of office.

      Are you the leader to organize either or both ?

  3. Beware! Round 2 will be done similarly as was done in the past when approval to issue more debt failed at the ballot box. The city will attempt to issue [certificates of obligation] which are similar to general obligation bonds in that they are secured by ad valorem taxes, but don’t require public approval [e.g. approval at the ballot box]. All they need to do is give public notice that they are issuing certificates of obligation and if no one objects by the deadline then voila they have their money. see weblink for more details on this http://www.nrhonline.com/Certificates.htm

  4. Carla Hollingsworth Johnson | Reply

    Lenny, many kudos for your analysis of that senseless proposal! One comment I’d like to add (that actually came from my mother) is there is nothing “historic” about the plans for downtown. The council doesn’t want to “revive” an historic feel, they want to “invent” their concept of “historic”. For many years, we have had people in city government that have wanted to make Weatherford one of the Texas cities that has successfully brought business back to their square (think Granbury, Denton, McKinney). However, the elephant in the room (or on the square, as it were) is those cities just mentioned do NOT have a US highway running through the middle of town. And, unless our city is willing to build an overhead over downtown (think Wichita Falls and US 281), we will always have that US highway! The fact that US 80/180 was the primary route from the west coast to the east coast should make it an historic property itself (think Route 66). Before the city fathers of the mid-1960’s permanently disfigured the square by cutting it into quadrants, maybe they should have considered embracing our place on that great thoroughfare.

    The real problem with that bond was our elected officials wanting millions of dollars for a project that has not been approved by TxDOT. They have not explained explicitly what and how they were going to spend the money. Maybe they were looking forward to a slush fund to use however they wanted until approval? More lipstick on the Heritage Park/ First Monday pig (another multi-million project dreamed up without reality checks)? How much would have to be spent to buy hundreds of homesteads along Bridge and Alamo streets? How would they negotiate such purchases and how would they justify putting citizens out of their homes? How can they plan to impact the property of First Baptist when the church proudly displays an historic marker? I think we voters could neither approve the ridiculous amount of money nor the illogical plan of an inner loop. We were presented one way streets entering the square to create an ambiance existing only in someone’s dreams. Several years ago, we suffered the indignity of stone walls barricading the square’s quadrants and cutesy reproduction lighting. Historic? Really?

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