Since when does Linda Bantz, finance director for Wylie come to a city council meeting completely unprepared? Doesn’t happen. Nope, not ever. Except, well, there was last night. I was shocked and dismayed to see that she did not have an answer when the question was asked as to just how much money will be left in the Contingency Fund after we hit it up for this $13K that is destined for WASA, Wylie’s Absolutely Slaphappy Adults. Do you know that woman did not have an answer? Really? As a true bean counter, I would have thought she would have worked those numbers up one side and down the other and those numbers would have been begging for mercy from her when she was through with them. Nope. Could it be that she was under the expectation that if she brought a budget amendment to council that it was going to pass with flying colors? Well we all know that Mayor Hogue, Councilwoman Kathy Spillyards, Councilman Rick White, and Mayor Pro Tem Red Byboth would all be only too happy to oblige. The get it off my desk attitude was abundant last night. Except they didn’t expect a hiccup tossed their way by Councilman David Goss who wanted to see if the WEDC could toss some money at the problem. They didn’t expect so much opposition from Councilwoman Diane Culver and a few community members who spoke at the meeting in opposition to giving a 501(c)(3) non-profit some taxpayer funds. Especially if we tally up just how much in freebies they have already received from the citizens.
From my calculations, at today’s rates to build that building, plus the cost of land in Wylie at the moment, I suspect it would be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $400K. Now let’s consider just how much water and electricity our tax dollars pay to keep the lights on and the toilets flushing annually and we’re up there. Now let’s also consider just how much annual property tax we could collect on that $400K building if we had sold it rather than give it away. Let’s also consider just how much the building will be worth once some of our tax dollars go into renovating it, thus the value of the property will increase. I think staff is afraid overall to give us those figures but there is certainly enough brilliance on staff to be able to tally that up for us. No, they don’t want citizens to really know just how much they are handing over to a 501(c)(3) non-profit, at taxpayer expense. It would truly be an eye-opener. Oh, then there is that $13K we will toss at them at our March 27th council meeting as well. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Nope, Linda Bantz did not expect that question to be asked of her, and she was completely ill prepared . Sadly her reply was, “A little bit.” Really? Is that a technical term or something acceptable by mathematicians across the planet? Just wondering. In fact, Bantz did not even offer to go run the calculations and report back. Faux pas deux. Damn. That is so not like her so I am a bit mystified. Could it be that it was merely no big deal because staff thought it would easily pass if Sister Mary Bantz came with ‘found funds’? Did staff think the Council Red Sea would part and the 4 on 3 or 5 on 2 vote expected to take place would have chalked this one up for the record book? This lack of information, lack of time spent calculating, assumption of an easy pass is truly unacceptable. As a taxpaying citizen I find this unacceptable and objectionable.
I know my pal Councilman Bennie Jones will ultimately vote in favor of the handout despite his feelings about other non-profits coming to the city asking for money. Because he has a marshmallow soul and is really only looking for someone to give him permission to vote in favor of it, I know he will. I can’t fault him for his feelings. I urged him on the phone this morning to march on down to city hall and demand he get his 501(c)(3) Wylie Youth Council on the agenda so they can ask for some money too. Seriously. I think he should come with his kiddos and ask council for money. Hells I’ll even ante up some funds to be matched if the city will kick in some of that Contingency Fund that seems to be going around. Let’s just see how far we can take this handout thingy.