Wide WASA Web

Here is a little tidbit from Wylie City Council Candidate Nathan Scott:
2)  Please note for clarification that The City of Wylie did not give 
Wylie Advocates for Senior Activities the Rita and Truett Smith 
Library building, and the City of Wylie did not and will not entrust 
us with the operation or responsibility of the building, utilities or 
any other aspect of the building which is and will continue to be in 
perpetuity owned and operated by the City of Wylie and used as a 
Senior Center.  I would also like to mention that we never asked for 
the building to be turned over to us (owned), or operated by Wyie 
Advocates for Senior Activities (WASA).

3)  For further clarification, we are a 100% volunteer, non-profit 
organization that has received funds from the following sources:
        a) Private Donations from Board Members
        b) Private Donor Match from an anonymous donor up to $25,000 total
        c) Private Individual donors and Members of WASA throughout 
the community of Wylie and surrounding areas.

4)  I will reiterate my point that we have not yet received any funds 
from the City of Wylie but as you know we have asked for them to match 
what is remaining of the $25,000 pledge from a private donor which is 
around $13,000 total.  However, if the City of Wylie City Council 
decides not to match the $13,000 we still have $29,000 in which we 
have committed to the development and support of the future Senior 
Center owned and operated by the City of Wylie.

5)  Please understand that our intention as an organization is to 
write a check to the City of Wylie for roughly $55,000.00 towards the 
remodeling of the old library building to make it available for the 
Seniors of Wylie to use as a Senior Center. Now, of that $55,000.00 
check $13,000.00 would have come from the City of Wylie.  Spending 
$13,000 to get back $42,000 is an investment I as a financial adviser 
would make and would encourage any clients that had the same option to 
do as well.

6) We view the current situation and facts as follows:
      a) The City of Wylie has dedicated the old library to be a Senior Center.
      b) It will take money, tax payer money, budget money from the 
City of Wylie to outfit the building appropriately as a Senior Center.
      c) The Wylie Advocates for Senior Activities has raised funds 
totaling around $29,000.00 with an additional $13,000 pledge to be 
used to offset the costs of renovations of the building.
      d) The Senior Center will incur bills from operating expenses 
and those will be paid by the City of Wylie.
      e) The Wylie Advocates for Senior Activities will continue 
raising money for the continued support of the Senior Center and 
Seniors in our community.

I have to state that I am having all sorts of concerns now.   Not so much with Nathan Scott here with his comments, as he is merely stating what it be.  My concern is with the City of Wylie and how this whole former library building thing has been and is currently being handled.

At several of the 2010 City Council Meetings, Jim Swartz, Don Hallum, William Martin and others addressed council on a routine basis and asked for them to turn the current library into a senior center.  Asked?  More like harassed.  These people showed up at every meeting and whined like the proverbial old squeaky wheel.  I write a blog and I am crucified for it but the grey hairs whine like sissies at meeting after meeting and they are handed a several hundred thousand dollar building to use for free, oh and they will also receive free utilities and maintenance and even a nice fat renovation.  You see, the seniors never intended to pay for the renovation of that old library.  Wait until you see a more accurate cost quoted by Mayor Hogue later in this blog post.

In early 2011 these same seniors announced the formation of WASA, a non-profit 501(c)(3) to transition the senior center to the old City library  and that they would assist in any way they could.  Again, they harassed council at every meeting.  To be honest, I did not realize just how obnoxious these people have been until I started pulling all of the council minutes online and noticed that these people piped up at every meeting, first they wanted the building, next they wanted people to come to their fundraising events, and finally they demand taxpayer money.

Meeting after meeting these seniors droned on until they finally got what they wanted.  On May 10, 2011, Mayor Eric Hogue had a resolution placed on the agenda setting aside the old City library as a senior center.  At that time, Hogue informed them there were no funds available to renovate the building because nobody wanted their taxes to go up.  Mayor Hogue stated the ballpark figure to renovate the building would be about $200,000 thus WASA was formed in hopes to “defray as much of the cost as possible.”  Notice that it has never been suggested that anyone but the City of Wylie would modify and maintain this building.

I was at the meeting when Hogue handed the seniors the building and he said there would be no money in the budget to renovate it.  Yet from Nathan Scott’s comments above, it appears that all along the way the premise was that the seniors would find a way to help the city redesign the current library.  Never did these unrelenting fogies ever assume responsibility for remodeling the building.  Their expectation was that any modifications to the old City library would be on the City’s head.  The City maintained that the renovations would be the seniors’ responsibility.  Ah, an impasse.

Thusly the seniors, including the WASA folks, have been handed a building from the taxpayers with all utilities and maintenance paid for by us, without the City leaders even asking the citizens what they thought about that. Hows about that building be shared with all the citizens, just as the Bart Peddicord is?

So if I analyze what Nathan Scott wrote above, it appears that the City of Wylie is going to essentially loan WASA $13K in order for them to get a matching donation and then give the funds back, plus some.  Sounds like some sick and twisted extortion and Indian giver game to me.  What’s more, this $55K isn’t anywhere near the $200K Mayor Hogue suggested would be needed in that very same meeting where he made his little resolution. 

On top of that, WASA already has $29K in their coffers.  Add the $13 and the matching $25 and surprise, we are awfully close to that mysterious $70K tossed around by Mayor Pro Tem Red Byboth at the last City Council meeting.  Amazing, isn’t it?  I told you in a previous blog post I would bring you to that number.

Something is stinky poo about this deal and as I see it, if the taxpayers are putting money in on the deal, then we should have the right to rent out that building just as we do with the Bart Peddicord, or do we?  Doesn’t sound like it to me when they use the terms “set aside and reserve for seniors.”  

Oh, and Nathan’s statement that we will spend $13 to get back $42 is just plain stupid, because the only people getting any of it back will be the seniors.  The taxpayers won’t get to see it “unless they live long enough” according to Mayor Eric Hogue’s extremely rude comment.  

According to WASA, they intend to use the larger, completed building to woo the younger 55+ crowd in.  Really?  No offense meant here, but firstly, the 55 year olds are still working for a living.  They are not going to be showing up for bingo and day trips.  Secondly, the 55 year olds don’t really care to associate with the 65 and 75 year olds.  Do 25 year olds want to hang with 35 year olds?  Not really.  This whole renovation would be like Blue Ridge putting in 6-lane roads in advance of any real growth.  Dumb.

In the case of the senior center, if you build it, they will not necessarily come.  My prediction is that this building is going to be merely airspace around the same old group of seniors who already meet and the citizens will be paying for all that airspace that will sit relatively unused after 6pm.  I agree that it would be nice for the seniors to have separate rooms for their various activities, but I honestly think they could make due with $55K in carpet, paint, some tables and chairs and the same rooms that already exist in the library, at least until they gain more members and decide to start charging an annual membership fee to help offset some of their costs.

The game being played out is that these funds will not even help begin modifications of the building.  So this alleged $55K check is going to have to sit because it doesn't even begin to 'defray' the costs as WASA claimed. 

Sadly, this building sits empty and decaying further while WASA begs for funds from the city so they can hand them back to the city so the city can add them to their own budget and renovate the building.  Lost yet? 

Unless the City miraculously scrapes together another $150K from their budget in order to complete the modifications of the building, all of this exchange of money and special handshake deals is just a game and our taxpayer dollars are the currency.  A building sits unused, the money will need to sit in the bank and earn some heavy duty interest for a long time, and we play more games of money swapping funds. Oh the webs we weave.