Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Confession Is Good For The Soul

I hate to admit it, but I was wrong.

Actually, I was in error about TWO things! I think it only fair and fitting that I own up to those mistakes. 

In a previous blog, I said the application for the Certified Retirement Community designation for Commerce was unfinished and still sitting at City Hall.  Today, I came to find out that on the 21st of August, Commerce has been designated as a Certified Retirement Community. Hooray! Let the church bells ring.

Second error, also about the Certified Retirement Community designation. I stated it had been a 7 year long process. In actuality, it only took 6 years, 2 months and 2 days; 2222 total, but who's counting.

You'd think I would've known better since I was originally appointed to the committee (City Council Meeting Minutes from June 19, 2007).  Math was never my strong suit. I plugged the dates into Google to get the answer.  Man, if only Google were around when I was growing up.

Well, it's off to do 3 hail Mary's, 2 our fathers, oh but wait, I'm not Catholic. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Commerce and the Combo Meal

Should Commerce consider going a combination 4A & 4B EDC?  I need to do more research on this but I believe in essence the voters could dedicated part of the Sales Tax Revenues to be set aside for 4A projects and part for 4B. 108 Cities are 4A; 361 Cities are 4B; 114 Cities are a combination. 

The older I get, the less I believe in coincidence.  Recently, I posted on the Cowboys and their move to Frisco. Yesterday morning, here in Commerce, I met the man the street is named after where their facility will be built.   In research yesterday afternoon for my next blog (as well as answering a FB question) come to find out that Frisco has both 4A & 4B. 

So is 4A/4B something Commerce should consider?  Would it accomplish the goals of both sides? Ensure money is there when the next industry comes along but guarantees some of the sales tax will be spent on quality of life improvements?  

Combo meals are the way to go at a fast food joint; Is a combo the way to go for Commerce?


Sunday, August 18, 2013

How do you CONTROL 8000...

I was told last week that my posts on Facebook about going 4B are dividing Commerce. I think the town is united about wanting to make quality of life improvements. The problem is no one wants to pay for them. A possible solution go 4B. What's your solution?  

We all want quality of life improvements, but it seems some don't want to spend the money from their organizations budget to do it. IT'S THE CITIZENS OF COMMERCE MONEY, NOT YOURS! Let the citizens decide if they want to have the OPTION to spend money on BOTH quality of life improvements and attracting jobs. 

Still waiting on an answer as to why you don't want to let the voters decide.  Are we no longer a democracy?

According to poll results published by the Commerce Journal, 77% of respondents want to have the OPTION to spend sales tax revenue on quality of life improvements. So why won't City Hall let the voters decide? Are 5 to control 8000?

So how do you control 8000? You lie to them. (OK, lie may be a bit strong, but if the shoe fits...) 

You tell people you will make or will work towards making improvements and then when the spot light is off them, it gets cast off to the side and everyone forgets or gives up.  That is what folks at City Hall hope about the 4B discussion, that everyone will give up. 

So what have the 8000 been mislead to believe?  

Told to the Citizens: We need to become a certified retirement community. Over 7 years later and countless hours and dollars spent, the UNCOMPLETED APPLICATION still sits at City Hall.  7 YEARS!!!

Told to the Citizens: We don't have the ability to fund the library and have cut their budget by $14,000. In that same budget (2012-13), the City Council gave the City Manager a $10,000 bonus and roughly 40% raise over the next 2 years.

Told to Citizens: When Covidien closes we will lose 20% of the city revenues. In fact, part of the impact of Covidien's loss will be negated by Hydro Aluminum coming on the city's tax rolls at 100 percent and being annexed in the city. Annexation is on the Council agenda this week. 

Told to Citizens: We will help improve the appearance of rental properties by the enforcement of the Residential Rental Housing Ordinance that was passed in 2001. How do those rental properties look around you? 

Should I go on?

Our elected and appointed officials in local government are supposed to represent our voices. To listen to the will of the majority, not the minority. Seems the majority want to at least put it to a vote to go 4B or stay 4A. Yet those in the minority do not want to give the citizens the option. Say what!?!  Do our council members have their heads buried in the sand or stuck somewhere else?  Are those 5 not listening to the discussions around town about 4A/4B?

Isn't it time for 8000 to control 5? To let your voices be heard. To have our representatives take action the majority wants!

Or do you want John Ballotti, Sue Davis, Richard Hill, Jean Klaus and Emma Martin telling you what is best for you? 

Taking control is a click away... Click on their names; Send them an email; Tell them what you want in this town.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Budget and Tax Rate

I know you didn't know this because basically no one does.

Saturday morning the City Council had a general budget workshop.  

Of course nowhere online can you see the proposed budget; I mean why let the citizen know where you are spending money? You are welcome to go down to the City Secretary's office to view the proposed budget but why in the information age can't they put it online? Aren't our elected officials to represent and seek input from us lowly citizens?

Commerce City Code says: The city manager shall submit a proposed budget to the city secretary by August 1 for the ensuing fiscal year. Said budget shall set forth, in detail, for the city and its several agencies, all proposed expenditures and all anticipated income for the current fiscal year, and the fiscal year immediately preceding; the debt of the city in detail; and the condition of reserve and sinking funds and operating funds in detail. 

Well what you can find on the City's website is the notice of the 2013 Property Tax Rates for the City of Commerce.  This shows what could possibly be the tax rate in Commerce. According to the document, in order to generate similar property tax revenue as last year and pay the debt service, the City would have to enact a tax rate of $0.8573.  Last year's rate was $0.82 so this is potentially a $.03 increase. 

When City Hall cut the library funding and did not open the pool they "saved" over $70K, which represent about $.03 of the budget.

What is the plan for that 70K this year?
Lower the tax rate?
What level will you fund the library?
Work towards a solution for the pool?
Or business as usual?

2012 Property Tax Rates
CITY OF CADDO MILLS         0.64
CITY OF ROYSE CITY         0.68
CITY OF ROCKWALL         0.50


Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Something is rotten in the state of ..."

For Commerce folks please read what is going on at City Hall...

SMH this morning in a little bewilderment as it was posted back in July for the City of Commerce to hire a Tourism/Event Coordinator. Yes, you probably don't know this because even though the City generally post job opening in the paper it never did.  Wonder why they are trying to sneak this in?  Don't you want the best qualified people to apply for the position? But if you don't let the general public know, it makes me think City Hall is trying to do something questionable. Or at least they already had a person pegged for the position and did not really want to take applicants.

You know if we were 4B, the EDC Director could possibly handle the responsibility as well. The EDC Director is making $65K per year, would this be too great of a work load to do both? But let's create another position and waste more tax revenues. 

But ask some questions:

If you are going to do that why not become a Main Street Community?
Does this mean you are going to cut funding to the @Chamber?
The City made the decision to not fully fund the library and couldn't find funds to re-open pool but let's create another position that is 1) basically a function of the Chamber and 2) could be handled if we were 4B. Something is not right in Denmark!

And let's see, the Chili Fest B-B-Q Cook Off (remember that) you stopped because it didn't generate enough money and now you want to create a Tourism/Event Coordinator? Wonder what the cost benefit analysis of this position is?

Do you see what is happening people, they are trying to put a band aid on a situation that needs surgery.  They will say we don't need to go 4B because we are creating this position to help bring events into town.

Ask yourself why no one on council has made any public statement as to whether they support going 4B or not. I think every candidate who has ever been on council in the past 10+ years has talked about making quality of life improvements in Commerce and yet no real progress ever gets made.  Why? The excuse is the City doesn't have the money. And yet you have the money to create this position.   You have the opportunity to empower the EDC Board to be able to spend money on quality of life improvements AND still work to attract industry yet you keep fighting it all the way.

I think the majority of people in Commerce want to go 4B. 

State laws says 10% of registered voters can file a petition to abolish the 4A and create a 4B. In Commerce, there are just under 3300 registered voters. So we need 330 people to sign a petition to get this moving.  The City could make this easy and put an item on the agenda at their meeting in August and vote to let the citizens of Commerce decide to stay 4A or go 4B.  And once again I ask, why do you not give the CITIZENS the option to choose.