Proper Cosmic Order

As every budget meeting progresses with the Wylie City Council, I am growing more and more concerned about the fiduciary responsibility some of our councilmembers hold.  I am concerned that this responsibility is being taken entirely too lightly and personal desires are getting in the way of sound judgment.

I am seeing disturbing patterns if fiscal irresponsibility such as supporting WASA, Wylie’s Advocates for Senior Activities with taxpayer dollars, supporting the Arts Council against all logic, supporting the youth rather than focusing on the budget, and supporting ideas of refinancing bonds in order to take on more debt.  Such is what Wylie ISD just did to us by a group of Trustees and Superintendent that hold their conservative cross as high as they can overhead.  They steered us woefully wrong in the debt department and with WISD it all stems back to the bitter battle of one school, splitting schools, and freshman center and some really crappy decisions made by past Trustees and Superintendent about it all.  Yet our current Trustees and Super are merely continuing down that same slippery slope of spend and saddle the debt up.  The scene is the same, just the names of changed.

To be honest, I am wondering if the only one who has it right on Council is Councilman Rick White who supports our fire and police because personally, THAT is where I want to see our money go.  To those that protect us but also is should be given back to the taxpayers who deserve a freaking tax break already, for God’s sake.   

Refinancing bonds to take on more debt is anything but a fiscally conservative stance and I am saddened that it was supported most vehemently by a handful of highly visible, self-proclaimed conservatives in leadership positions within Wylie.  If you are a conservative, and you supported taking on more debt at the moment, you honestly need to sit down and reassess your thought process.  This issue is at the very heart of our battle over the Presidential race at the moment and if you don’t like the trillions of dollars of debt we have in this nation and you supported taking on millions of dollars in debt locally, then you might be experiencing some serious cognitive dissonance right about now.   If you think debting up is the answer, well then you had better hop on the Obama train because I think it is about to leave the station. 

Sadly, this time last year Council fell head over heels in love with this Contingency Fund idea that Finance Director Linda Bantz and City Manager Mindy Manson brought forth.  It was an easy out.  It removed all culpability from the conservatives on Council in order to kiss the City employees butts and give them their 2% bonus, and it got the citizens off their backs about taking money from the Rainy Day Fund.  Yet this Contingency Fund seems to be some sort of make-believe fund whose existence in the audited document called a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report or CAFR is missing.  We hear reference to this Contingency thingy but no real proof of its existence.  We heard from City staff recently something about it being like a 3 legged stool and not being able to provide a total balance amount and nobody on Council bothered to delve into that? It sort of looks like the money came from the same place to be honest, but investigation beyond what is merely presented to them by staff is obviously not our Council's forte.

Let me make a side note here that people tend to lump Councilman Bennie Jones in with the fiscal conservatives, but I should remind you that he never ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility. He ran on a platform of improving the life of our youth and that appears to be his main, if not only focus at the moment.

I think back to this time last year and I watched the fiscal conservative swagger of Councilwoman Diane Culver and Councilman David Goss and a couple powerful admonishments by both of them to City Manager Mindy Manson about the bonus vs. permanent raise vs. tax break to citizens topic.  If you pull the tapes from last budget season, you will hear Culver saying quite clearly to Manson during a meeting that she had better not come back next year (now the current budget season) and ask for a permanent raise for employees without coming back and giving a tax break to the citizens.  You will hear Goss saying we shouldn't be looking at giving the employees a 2% bonus when we have to take the money from the rainy day fund in order to do it, and if employees want to leave because of it, well there's the door.  In fact, you will also hear Councilman Jones state that he felt bad for the employees but he too has been working on no raise for 4 years with the City of Dallas and his bent was the employees need to be thankful they have jobs at the moment.  

I am concerned by these statements made last year as they don’t seem to fall in line with what I am witnessing this year.  Up until now in this budget cycle I have not heard about any sizeable tax break for citizens, which was all the rage during last year’s budget sessions, and also this year’s campaign season.  Where is Bubba Scott right about now?  He promised handfuls of people headed in to vote that he would give them a tax decrease.  He changed his platform when he ran against Catherine Butschek in order to combat her platform of decreasing taxes.  Will you find a tax decrease proposed by him now? Highly doubtful.

In all fairness to Council at the moment, I have yet to find spare time to listen to last Tuesday’s meeting  and perhaps I will gain further insight into where the fiscal conservatives stand, but up until now I have heard quite the opposite fiscal responsibility stance out of all of Council and it is cause for great concern.  I think this blog post is relevant as an attempt to show them the possibly folly the conservatives on council may step into should they support the spend and debt plan our City Manager seems hell bent on proposing.  Perhaps our council members who ran on fiscal responsibility and accountability need to be put back in the proper cosmic order of things. 

I am growing concerned about a group of Wylie Councilmembers who have branded themselves as conservatives but seem to be floundering and flailing about at the moment.  I have not witnessed any strong leadership skills during the meetings, no strong admonishments,  Nothing.  I hope when I view last Tuesday’s meeting that I will be able to come back and report some semblance of rallying on the part of these conservatives for if not, they should be contacted by all of their supporters and reminded of the fiscal conservative platforms they have placed themselves upon in the past.