BRIO situation

May 14, 2019

Can this be excused or somehow be explained away?

We deserve better

Brutus


EPISD graduation ceremonies on Memorial Day

May 13, 2019

Dan Wever sent this in:

  • Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. In other words, the purpose of Memorial Day is to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

He asks “Why did the EPISD schedule 3 graduations on this day?”

We deserve better

Brutus


Battle of the bulge

May 12, 2019

What will our local governments do if our state legislature puts a cap on how much they can raise taxes from one year to another?

Look for them to start charging more fees  to use facilities that we already own.

The city has been quite successful in moving fees over to the water department and thus increasing our monthly bills.

We are now seeing charges being imposed on the use of facilities that we financed with the so called quality of life bonds.

We deserve better

Brutus


Open line Saturday

May 11, 2019

It’s open line Saturday.

Let us hear what’s on your mind.

We deserve better.

Brutus


Next danger point for Lost Dog

May 10, 2019

Congratulations to the supporters of Lost Dog.

As we know the election will force city council to pass an ordinance that protects the area from development.

City council can in the future pass a new ordinance that would override the ordinance thus making the land available for development.

The city council representatives are not likely to do this from fear that overriding the initiative  ordinance will hurt their chances for re-election.

The next regular city council election will be in 2020.  Three of our current city representatives will not be eligible for election but will sit in office until new members are sworn in, so they could vote for a new ordinance between the election and swearing in day.

The period between the next election and when the winners take office is the most dangerous.

If the four city representatives that are scheduled for re-election in 2020 get re-elected they could vote to override the ordinance with no fear of hurting their chances for re-election.  Why?  They can only serve two terms.  If they get re-elected they cannot be elected yet another time so fear of public backlash will be minimized–they cannot run again and thus the voters don’t matter.  Combine those four with the three that will be lame ducks and you have seven representatives that can vote without hurting their chances.  They simply have to have the vote between election day and the day new members are sworn in.

City council members can still be recalled but  now it will  the signatures of 20% of the people who are eligible to vote in that district in order to call a recall election.

We deserve better

Brutus


One last chance?

May 9, 2019

Get ready for local government tax increases this year.

There are bills being considered in the Texas legislature that would restrict the percentage of increase local governments could add to their tax rates.

Right now most local governments (not the school districts since many of them are already at their maximum rates) can increase their tax rate by around 8% every year without triggering a roll back election.

The new bills would restrict that growth.  It seems that one bill being considered would limit their increase to 3.5% per year, once again without triggering an election.

The situation has our locals concerned.  Reducing costs does not appear to be something that they want to do.

With the threat of a 3.5% cap being imposed on them don’t be surprised if they take what might be their last opportunity and hit us with an 8% increase this year.

We deserve better

Brutus


Penny swap or dime increase?

May 8, 2019

There is a problem with the “penny swap” that the voters approved for EPISD.

Quite simply there is not enough money now being generated by the interest and sinking fund (I&S) rate to pay EPISD’s debts.

Last year the voters approved reducing the I&S rate by 10 cents per hundred dollars of property valuation and increasing the maintenance and operations rate the same amount (M&O) thus leaving the combined rate the same as the previous year.

Then since the district did not have enough money to make their bond payments (I&S) they took money out of an existing fund balance.  In short they took our I&S money over a period of years and did not pay down all of the debt they could, thus creating a fund and increasing our borrowing costs.

You can see that the new I&S tax rate only generated $29 million.  They needed $40.1 million to pay their debt payments.

What they did was reduce their fund balance from $30 million to $18.9 million.  They can probably do this again next year but then they will run out of money.

They cannot take the money from their maintenance and operations fund.

The Texas attorney general ruled last year that:

“Districts do not have authority to increase the maintenance and operations tax rate to create a surplus to pay debt service
with maintenance and operations tax revenue. See TEX. TAX CODE § 26.012(16) (defining “maintenance and operations” as “any lawful purpose other than debt service for which a taxing unit may spend property tax revenues” (emphasis added)).”

The net result is that the district will have to raise the I&S rate either this year or next.

The voters got hoodwinked.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

 

 


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