Befuddled Rankings for Wylie City Council

Based upon the tax increase proposed by every city council member at the last budget work session, I decided to rank the council members based upon how well they listen to citizens, represent their concerns and how much they involve their own egos in votes.

Below are some surprising and not so surprising ranking results:

1. Councilman Toby Wallis - a DVM with cogent thought or two
This newbie is the best we've got and that's a sad statement considering he's only been on council a second. It should be no surprise that Councilman Wallis resides at the top of my list. He hasn't had time to make any ripples one way or the other. Still, his behavior so far has been exemplary, and it is obvious that he is paying attention to citizen's cries for help on our taxes. He made it clear from the start that he wishes to do what is in the best interest of all of Wylie's citizens.

His platform was "I believe that there are 3 S's that constitute a successful city: Stewardship- we must take care of what we have for our children, Service- we are here to serve the community as a whole, and Strength- one of our greatest strengths is our sense of community"

This is a refreshing perspective as long as he remembers that a strong community spirit is what makes a community great, not dispiriting them by increasing taxes and forcing them to move from their homes. If he lives up to this platform promise, it is certainly a far cry from the six other robbing hoods currently sitting on council. But this platform remains to be seen so I proceed with cautious optimism.

2. Councilman Jeff Forrester - underwhelmingly unoriginal
Without a viable opponent, Forrester was elected a couple of years ago. Though I had been warned that he was bffs with Mayor Pro Tem Keith Stephens, I felt he would be a conservative councilman willing to take the heat on behalf of citizens. Over the past two years he has proved neither. Instead, he stands with the Mason brethren and hasn't offered anything terribly useful. He certainly isn't backing the fight to lower our taxes.

He ran on conservative principles, fixing the roadways with common sense solutions (that hasn't happened) and as a good steward of the citizens, "By ensuring that they are heard and that they feel represented". Do you feel represented by him when he suggests a tax increase when polled? Um, no. Voters were looking for something new, fresh and sexy out of a councilman willing to stand up to the dais bullies increasing our taxes every year but instead, he brought his Z game. Truly disappointing.

3. Mayor Pro Tem Kieth Stephens - a confounding leader
This man is probably the most shocking of all because it originally seemed as though he was on council to side with the people and "make Wylie the best city to live, work, play and grow." He even stood up against a push by one former councilman to enforce a smoking ban on business owners, saying he was opposed to legislating business owners and that the people should have the right to choose businesses they wish to support whether they offer smoking or not.

Looking back, Stephens walked on council without an opponent for two elections and during that time it has become apparent that his overarching interest is in siding with the Wylie First Baptist Church (FBC) which he attends.

Probably to his credit, he was not at the last council meeting where members were polled as to the tax rate decrease they were in favor of, so we will never know if he officially wishes to increase our taxes this year with a paltry two cents, but past records show he voted for tax increases year after year.

That is an interesting dilemma for him, because he ran on, "Working to reduce the tax burden" according to his platform published in the League of Women Voters guide for May 7, 2016.

The real reason Stephens has dropped in my estimation of him is because of his votes against alcohol, based upon his religious beliefs and not based upon helping to lower that tax burden listed in his platform.

Regardless of what anyone thinks about drinking, enticing pubs and sit-down restaurants, like those in downtown McKinney and Plano would not be that difficult if the FBC folks got out of the way, but Stephens (and also Mayor Eric Hogue) routinely vote against anything that has to do with alcohol.

Wylie Mayor Pro Tem Keith Stephens
It's no secret that the FBC is an issue in the ability of businesses to get liquor licenses in the area surrounding them.

When the city stopped supporting the downtown area some years back, in favor of building the 544 discount shopping and fast food corridor, the downtown merchants had to form their own association and support system while struggling to remain in existence.

Without a lively nightlife, they will never be able to revitalize downtown Wylie to its former "Wide Awake Wylie" days.

Though Stephens will not vote to support alcohol in the city, I was sent this image of him drinking the signature alcoholic drink of the evening, a S'mores Martini, at a Collin County event earlier this year.

I have to wonder about the duplicity this image presents when it comes to his votes on alcohol, which would dramatically increase foot traffic and tax revenue for the downtown merchants, and help him live up to his promise to reduce the tax burden on citizens. With years of tax increases, Wylie is definitely not the best place to live or play in as he promised when he ran for council.

4. Councilwoman Diane Culver - can't hear us over her gums flapping
Back in the day, many people told me they didn't like Culver because she was loud, crude and rude. My estimation was that she was the breath of fresh air that the stale old-school clique of long-time Wylie residents sitting on council needed. At the time, she ran on conservative principles, so I supported her. Since then, her love affair with talking seems to have colored her common sense.

It's true, through the years she did some wonderful things on council, like getting the Code of Ethics passed, though it certainly didn't hurt that a couple councilmen made some bonehead mistakes, or that my continual blogging embarrassed the city to the point that mayor finally hopped off his picket.

Mayor was of the mindset that the city's charter was enough to keep leaders in line, and they didn't need no stinking code of conduct the blogger and Culver were pushing for. But Culver ran and won on fiscal responsibility and a code of conduct and contrary to her public statement that she got the code put into place, it would NEVER have happened without the deeply embarrassing antics of former Councilmen Bennie Jones and Nathan Scott, my continued blogging to get the word out and the newspaper finally acting like the informer of the publics they are supposed to be, after ignoring the Scott situation for over a year.

Culver was even honored by receiving an official endorsement from Empower Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, who provide that distinction to those who are recommended and make it through the interview process showing they are fiscally conservative. I made the recommendation and the rest was up to her, so why she has been voting for tax increases to citizens, despite a rather healthy budget  that would have supported adopting the effective tax rate the past several years, is perplexing.

Culver supported the small, tax rate decreases and, according to her candidate Facebook page, she claims the tiny decreases to the tax rate were done so that the city could continue on with expanding services. This is government speak for tax and spend, and pretending that established homeowners need to pay for the new people moving into the city, despite the fact that their homes are worth more and thus taxed higher. It's crazy talk because all those new homeowners for the past several years are now more than paying for their share of growth.

Clearly this is a difficult concept for all of our council members to grasp. Growth does indeed pay for growth, or at least it should if the city is well run.

Despite the small tax decreases Culver claims are the highlights of her seat, each year they still amounted to overall tax increases thanks to the city's unwillingness to offset the tax burden of increasing property values. She has never taken up that effective tax rate cross for citizens either.

I guess she is under the misconception that our taxes should increase each year to help pay for all these wonderful things we are getting in Wylie, though citizens are still at a loss as to exactly what they are.

Yet Culver even stated rather emphatically at last Tuesday's council meeting that contrary to popular belief, growth doesn't pay for growth. Facepalm.

Uh, I suppose new growth doesn't pay for new growth if you're Wylie and you are run by a group of useful idiots.

If the city is still running in the red after near build-out for a handful of years, then it is seriously mismanaged. Is she really publicly announcing that the city is losing money and needs to increase taxes every year for five in a row just to cover their debt and expenses? Truly embarrassing.

What's worse, the woman who used to be horrified at our mayor's egocentric license plate that read "Wylie One", now glances at him throughout the meetings for affirmation that she's on the right track.

It seems that the city pumps her with nonsense, knowing they can lob and spew with her incessant need to talk during council meetings. This was evidenced in the last meeting where she barely took a breath, even speaking on behalf of those presenting, such as the Animal Shelter and even the city manager.

5. Councilwoman Candy Arrington - the get along gal
Then there's Councilwoman Candy Arrington. She's smart as a whip and is probably one of the only ones up there that understands a bit 'o finance, but I'll be damned if she doesn't go along to get along on every vote.

Her platform when running? Your guess is as good as mine.

This about sums it up:
Texas League of Women Voters
I guess that's one way of not letting people know what you stand for. I supported her in a runoff, but the lack of rank is a direct result of her asking important questions, and then still voting with the herd. She is frustrating at best, and if she votes yet another year to increase our taxes, I suspect she'll have a formidable opponent next year, and we'll be bidding her adieu.

6. Councilman David Dahl - the yes man cometh
Oh man, no. When I poll greeted during the primaries in March 2016, Dahl stood outside of the polls and told me that we'll have to vote on a bond soon to pay for road improvements. But he's always been a tax and spend kind o' guy. It's no surprise his platform was built on taxing and spending. At least he made no bones about it. Well there's that.

He routinely sits on the fence on nearly every topic, seemingly grateful when he doesn't have to vote first on something. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to see him have any conviction whatsoever on any topic; his finger votes with mayor's finger virtually every time, especially when it comes to tax and spend.

The only person with a larger picket impression on their backside than mayor, is Dahl.

7. Mayor Eric Hogue - the tax and spend whore
What can I say about mayor? He's the media Hogue. He's even his own enterprise! No seriously, go read all about his spending highlights and then make your way back here.

In my opinion, he has turned into the Worst Mayor Ever. For all the good he did in getting Wylie's name on the map, he's undone five-fold with years of tax and spend that are now causing  "his people" financial hardship. 

So much for the servant/leader attitude he claims to have as part of his candidate platform. As a representative of the people, he claims to, "listen and work to meet the needs of a growing community".

Listen? Has anyone got that out of his votes over his four terms? Oh sure, he listens, and then he charges forward doing what is best for the Eric Hogue Enterprises - motivational speaker extraordinaire!

I suppose that's one way to get yourself some tax write-offs.
Eric Hogue, in his Clinky the Clown costume. (Eric Hogue)

If you are wondering why the realty market has slowed down in Wylie, look no further than the tax and spend magician who is making your money magically disappear from your wallet.

Oh, he's witty, cute and kissable sometimes, but that has clearly worn off according to taxpayers. He's pretty well disliked now, which seems like the perfect time to groom someone to run against him in three years.

It won't be difficult to beat him, especially when you see what people think of him:
"How do you get rid of Eric hogue? He has all his yes people around him and no one will run against him"
"That is horrible that we have 3 more years of him"
"I guess it's time to clean house and vote in a mayor and city council that will listen to the citizens. Same goes for the school district.Everyone I know in Wylie is fed up with the taxes. Many are moving out of Wylie because of the taxes. Time for change and lower taxes"
"Seems to me some of the people running the City need to be voted out."
"I've been participating in Wylie city elections for 15 years. We need a new option for 2018 city counsel seats."
"The appraised value is not the problem, it is the ridiculous high city and school tax we pay in Wylie. Wylie's city council and Mayor are out of control and yet we just re-elected the mayor without any opposition. Go figure."
"How can we do a recall of Eric and the bobble head council? We have lived here for more than 10 years. My son and Eric's were in band together. I have known the man for years. I wouldnt give him the time of day now. They are NOT listening to the people. Remember Dr Fuller @ WISD?"
Oh yes, I remember Dr. Fuller all too well, ramming bond after bond at voters, and when we declined, he repackaged it and rammed it at us several more times. Hell to the yes, he even rode from school to school in a caravan of shame, showing voters broken door locks, bent lockers and stained gym floors that should have been part of general school maintenance, certainly not a bond.

The point is, he wasn't listening. All the money he wanted from taxpayers was about building himself a "legacy". He even went so far as to have WISD purchase land across from his Seis Lagos neighborhood for a third high school!

The scary part is, Fuller sounds eerily similar to Mayor Hogue. Do you ever wonder if we'll soon be visiting Hogue City Hall?  I shudder to think, and you should too.

These rankings were a long-time coming, but I feel there is no time like the present, especially when another year of tax increases is staring homeowners in the face. 

Wylie Council Lie About Representing Citizen Wishes

I've heard it said by Mayor Eric Hogue before; when nobody shows up at council meetings, it must mean they are happy with the direction council is taking. 

Except we did show up. 

People showed up and told them in May that they were unhappy about our taxes, and we asked them to lower them by adopting the effective tax rate. 

The fact is, we have told them what we want, and tonight, they just told us they don't give a rat's cheek about representing us, and certainly not the full rat's ass. 

At the end of the day, our council, who we voted in to represent our wishes, capitulated to a 2 cent decrease in our tax rate (except Councilman Wallis who suggested 3.5 cents). This number is by no means firm yet, but the very fact council wasted three hours of time nobody can ever get back again, asking questions of City Manager Mindy Manson, only to go with whatever she presented anyway is a total mystery.

There was lots of talk about spending, and then more talk about how to spend more later. Absolute dipshizzles. 

The outcome of tonight's budget work session is certainly no surprise to me. They do the same thing, like clockwork, every year. And you know what they say about doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. The meme above says it all.

Even if council comes up with another 1.5 cent decrease to total 3.5 cents by the public hearings next month, it will still be a TAX INCREASE. 

Why? Because next week the effective tax rate is announced by the Collin County Central Appraisal District. Adopting it would mean the city would keep our taxes the same as last year. 

Gee, they didn't seem to have any trouble working within last year's budget. They added headcount, gave raises, bought stuff. and put money in the bank. They even took in more sales tax and property tax revenue than their budget estimates. But this year momma needs new shoes.

This is the crap they pull year after year, all in the name of being conservative with your money. Meanwhile, you are stuck with increasing taxes and mortgage payments because your escrow payment increases to cover the higher taxes and insurance costs. Your city cannot stop taxing you because they cannot stop spending. This is evident by the ridiculous amount of money the city owes. 

Some Wylie homeowners even complained their payments went up $300 and $400 dollars this year. That is clearly of no consequence to the city council. They don't care; they just can't wait to spend your money on new toys.

So if I had to place a bet on the effective tax rate, I would guestimate it to be around 5-6 cents, but I will report it here as soon as I find out what it is. Yet council walked away from the budget work session tonight thanking themselves for going with a conservative 2 cent decrease. 


As fiduciaries of our tax dollars, why council and mayor think increasing our taxes and spending the money like it's going out of style is a conservative use of our tax dollars is beyond me. Meanwhile, they are vigorously patting themselves on the back tonight for pretending to represent our wishes. 

Well they didn't.

Image credit: Quickmeme

Wylie Takes Taxpayers for Chumps

Here I sit, writing this blog instead of doing my homework. I suppose the Master's can wait a few hours while I attend to the other, more pressing master - taxes.

Welcome All Chumps
It may have taken me a couple months of breaking down the tax information for everyone, but now I am going to show you how the city is playing us for chumps.

In last year's budget work session, the budget requests were not much unlike this year's.

The 2016 Budget Matters in 2017
Listen closely to this video. You'll hear City Manager Mindy Manson asking council not to reduce the tax rate because she has to pay for everything presented. The main takeaway here is that every year, at every initial budget work session, Manson comes to council presenting a virtual doomsday scenario that requires every penny available to cover expenses. Not to mention the increasing tax revenues they are sure to get above and beyond the "conservative" estimates presented. I say not to mention, because they sure don't.

I know, I know, 2016 is so last year, so why am I going over this now? As we dig into the requests presented in 2016, we can begin to see the picture of how the money flows at city hall.

Staff Pay
First, I'll point out that I have no problem paying staff salaries that are in line with other similar communities with similar budgets. I believe staff do a great job representing this city. Just look at City Secretary Carole Ehrlich alone, she is a massive fount of information and even if she cannot stand the blogger who has at times made her life hell, she always has a smile for me. I don't want the city to become a training ground for youngsters who turn around and leave for higher paying city jobs. That just creates lost revenue and productivity.

I agree that every person working in the Police and Fire departments deserve to be fairly paid as well. They hold jobs I certainly wouldn't want to do. I am grateful for every one of them, every day, because we have had to seek their help in the past. Like when my father-in-law had a massive heart attack and they were at his house a block away from mine within four minutes. Also, every time I have had to call the police to report the activity of the highly popular drug dealer on my street, they have been super helpful. These blog posts are not aimed at staff in any way, they are aimed at the executive city leadership and Mayor Eric Hogue, who are playing everyone's emotions while they build a Monopoly empire.

That said, a complicit council has gone along for the ride, certainly for as many years as I've lived here. I have yet to witness any sitting council that has the ability or intellect to understand how budgets and city finance work. Their questions about the budget through the years tell me they are without a clue. That's not to say there haven't been council members who get it, because there have been, but they are beaten down year after year. We saw this with former councilmen David Goss and William Whitney, and now we will begin to see this with Dr. Toby Wallis. As long as the Mayor and Mindy tag team are running the show, nothing is going to change with our taxes. Nothing.

If you want something to change, vote mayor out in three years and demand they fire the city manager. Don't say I neglect to present you with solutions.

Playas Playing
I blogged about this almost one year ago to the day in Wylie Tax Rate Kept Artificially High.

An example of the players can be seen in the video above. Mayor and Mindy bantered back and forth about how a 1/2 cent decrease in our tax rate would only result in a measly $20 decrease. At one point Hogue completely dismisses it saying it's "nothing" for taxpayers and Manson agreed, stating how harmful a decrease in tax rate would be to the budget.

The reality is that the decrease was worth far more than their fictitious $20 when applied to my own property value increase. That alleged $20 turned into a $135.11 increase last year. And over, and over, and over again, each year my taxes to the city increased, totaling $561.75 since 2012. You can see from the taxes on my home below where they got really greedy starting in 2015, but it didn't become noticeable to taxpayers until 2016, when escrow notices started arriving in the mail.

Mayor and Mindy's flippant attitude is precisely the problem with this city.

After the budget was initially presented in the video above, they conveniently modified it. With those modifications, they lowered department expenditures and provided a 2 cent tax rate decrease by the time September rolled around and council voted to approve the budget. After all that they still took in that massive $2.9 million tax revenue windfall.

Rainy Day Fund
Note that in the last budget work session in June, Manson claimed that the city needed to keep 30% of the total budget in "reserves", which must be their fancy new name for the "rainy day fund". Back in 2011, an independent auditor told them they needed between 20-25% of budget in the rainy day fund, in order to keep our high bond rating. Suddenly, Manson is suggested that the city needs 30%. I'm calling BS on this one. That is nearly 1/3 of our entire budget and in the current model of dramatically increasing property values, I cannot image the necessity of nearly 1/3 of our budget to hold our bond rating steady. That's preposterous. What's worse, I cannot believe she dared say that with a straight face, or that nobody on council said a word about this ludicrous claim.

Police Headcount
When we compare the 2016 budget to the  CAFR that was officially audited in January 2017, we can see that the city spent considerably less in certain departments and used the money in other departments.

Notice that public safety, otherwise known as police and fire with a little bit of animal control sprinkled in, was provided with $18,180,607 in the final approved budget, but actually used $17,534,893 under-spending by $645,714.

Also notice that general government expenditures, also known as the city manager's kitchen sink, conveniently overspent by $428,141.

So the police headcount of 61 the city so desperately wanted for the 2015-2016 budget meant the city manager could pilfer a line item she knew full well would never be spent in it's entirety. How did she know? Because there is a clear record of what the city is asking for in headcount and what they actually fulfill each year.

In 2014 alone, the city budgeted 15 new headcount for PD. In September 2014, city council voted to approve a budget with 61 total officers, yet they only had 46 at the time, and they only added 7 of the 15. Obviously the funds "allegedly" available for PD to add headcount were used elsewhere.

Notice, in September 2015 when the 2015-16 budget was passed, they had 53 officers and held eight slots open for the budget for a total of 61. You can see by 2016 they only filled two slots. THIS a game the city manager and Mayor Eric Hogue are playing with OUR money. And this is just the PD's budget. I wonder what FD headcount would look like if I put in the same information request for them?

This is NOT the fault of PD or FD. THIS IS the fault of the city manager and mayor who are playing games and pilfering funds from emotion-based departments in order to have some mad money lying around throughout the year. If they are doing it with PD and FD, they are surely doing it with other departments. And the city council members just bobble their heads in approval. It annoys me greatly that the chiefs of police and fire are being played.

Tugging Your Heartstrings
Our city gets away with it because they tug at the heartstrings of a benevolent taxpayer base, who want to see police and firefighters get what they deserve. I mean, how can we tell them no? Just as our council members stumble over themselves while ingratiating Mayor and Mindy's backsides, they believe they are altruistic in the money grab.

Meanwhile, Mindy and Mayor NEVER intend for the money to go entirely to public safety. The excess funds are always spent or moved elsewhere, like the $645,714 under-spent in public safety, which was then clearly overspent in $393,124 in an ambiguous line item called "combined services general" for 2016.

So, what about that tax revenue windfall of $2.9 million last year? As a taxpayer, wouldn't you expect them to return your money back to you? Nope, they included it as part of the $3,151,965 put in the bank last year, as you can see from the ending fund balances below.

Enter the Hailstorm
Which takes me to the final part of this 2016 video, which played out over the past year. What started out as repair and remodel of the public safety building after the hailstorm, has turned into a full remodel and expansion as heartstrings are tugged at yet again, this time by hail.

The public safety building was damaged by the hailstorm and insurance paid what it would cost to repair the building, roughly $1.2 million plus a yet undetermined recoverable amount. Normally the city would come to us with a bond to build such an expensive building, but how can they? Our taxes have been going up and people have been pitching a fit over it. They certainly can't increase our tax rate without rioting in the streets. So how are Mayor and Mindy going to pay for their expensive building and get away with it?

Had the hailstorm not occurred, rest assured, the city would have come to us for a vote. Instead, when they have so much excess tax revenue coming in and they are stockpiling money, they have no problem paying for not only a repair and remodel, but a $7+ million dollar expansion reported in The Wylie News on May 17th of this year.

You can view the presentation on the total overhaul of the public safety building here. In this meeting that took place May 9, 2017, council voted in favor of ADG architect firm at a cost of $943,880 just for the design plans. That doesn't include construction.

Oh sure, the weepy saps around Wylie are nodding in unison that the PD deserves a nice building, and they do. But nobody came to us to ask if they could use our money to do it. It's just going to be done because that's what Mayor and Mindy want.

What Mayor and Mindy want, they seem to get, even it it means taxpayers lose their homes over it, which is what is taking place as people are moving out at high rates since May. Sadly, people can no longer afford their house payment because of the dramatically increasing property values, coupled with the city's obstinate refusal to adopt the effective tax rate. So as a homeowner, why not take the increase in property values and beat feet out of the highest taxed city in Collin County? It seems our city leaders think that's just a casualty of all these "services" they claim we are getting with the luxury of paying the highest tax rate.

How will the city be paying for these new police digs then? If they combine last year's tax revenue windfall that was put in the bank, with the insurance payout that will total more than $1.6 million, as well as any tax revenue windfall they can scrape off of our backs this year, voilĂ !

Every story has an end
The moral of this story is that on July 18th, at the next budget work session, we'll be lucky if the city adopts any tax decrease at all. Instead, they will fling the back of their hand to forehead and tell us, just like in past years, that the thought of adopting the effective tax rate is simply too much for our budget to bear. What with all those wonderful services we are getting, and all, like a larger library (the 80s called to say there are now actually things called preschools and handheld readers!) and a rec center that has never operated in the black since the day it opened (um, Ballys is calling and they want to run it for you), and all those roads they are building, yup they intend to push for a bridge over Lake Lavon yet again (yawnsville).

Oh, and good luck trying to tell Mayor and Mindy what they can cut from their precious budget. Yup, we're pretty much chumps when only a dozen people can bother themselves to complain about our taxes at a council meeting.

Now back to my schoolwork, for which I am also paying a mighty price.

Wylie PD Officer Headcount vs Budget Requests

If you recall, at the budget work session earlier in June, several city council members shut down a concerned citizen during his time to speak. Mayor even pushed a mic grab by pulling Chief Henderson up to the podium.

During that rude orchestration, a comment was made by one of the council members that they had witnessed how devastating it was for a recruit to make it through our system, only to be turned away because there was not a budgeted position available. That statement is an outright fabrication.

I submitted an information request to the city, asking if they had to turn away any recruits since 2012. Here is the response which shows the number of sworn police vs the number of headcount available. At no time did they have to turn away anyone.

Also notice that PD has been given plenty of funds toward headcount each year, but they have not filled the positions for one reason or another. It is unfathomable that in 2014, when there were 46 officers on the day the 2014/15  budget was approved, city council approved an sickening 15 slots in our budget. Do you have any idea how much money that represents per person, when the city pays for a recruit's training, salary, overtime and benefits? 

When the current budget was approved last September, there were 55 sworn officers and 6.5 headcount built into the budget. But when former Councilman William Whitney asked to take a second look at that headcount request, he was virtually steamrolled by Mayor Eric Hogue. 

The "overtime" excuse does not hold water. I defy you to take overtime pay away from police and see how happy they remain. They want overtime pay because it bumps up their salary considerably.

The "low pay" excuse no longer holds water, as the city has been providing market increases every year during this period. A market increase bumps up salaries to meet those of nearby cities of similar size or budget.

What this means is that year after year, the city council is pushing through a kabuki dance of numbers that is emotion-based, instead of reality-based. This emotion appears to flow into every area of the budget, and the taxpayers have provided them with an open wallet.

What council members and Mayor Hogue have not done is provide taxpayers with relief from the increasing property values, because they have continually voted to increase our taxes the past four years, while pretending they are lowering our taxes with a smoke and mirrors tax rate numbers game.

All we are asking for this year is an adoption of the effective tax rate. It's really not that difficult for them to give us that, by holding to last year's rather healthy budget.

It is a total mystery to me as to why our city leaders think this is rocket science. It's not.

Image credit: City of Wylie