Friday, April 22, 2016, by Richard Weber, Publisher of the Arlington Spectator
The citizens of Kennedale were not watching their city council. Now they are very upset and will be paying hundreds of dollars per year more in utility bills.
All of the candidates in this year’s Kennedale’s municipal and school board elections are unchallenged. In fact, one of the school board positions required the convincing of former mayor John Clark to run for the position.
Three weeks ago, Kennedale’s citizens and businesses got their water bills. Those bills were shocking. Depending on the size of their connections for water and sewer, the charge was much higher, some more than doubling.
What had happened was in a very under-publicized way, the city council had increased the rates. Needless to say, the citizens were not been watching what their council was up to. This is a city council that basically approves staff’s requests with little or no questioning, and certainly with no challenge.
The city’s new billing formula is leans heavily on the fixed monthly charge which is now more than double many other city rates. The city manager justified the increased, arguing it was necessary due to decades of poor maintenance, a $700,000 emergency repair, a need for service expansion, and a depleted fund balance created by low usage, the result of heavy rains.
The fund balance replenishment should take 2.5 years at the new, greatly increased rates.
Unbelievably, the city manager does not think that this pricing disaster will have any effect on his “baby,” economic development.
What out-of-control city council/city manager will abuse its citizens next?
Richard Weber, publisher of the Arlington Spectator, is that rare citizen who devotes time to civic duty and involvement. For doing so, he receives little thanks. Most citizens have more important things on their minds—TV, football, enjoying their retirement, etc. Not Richard. You’ll find him at City Council afternoon and evening sessions, at school board meetings, publishing Arlington Spectator, and helming AARG (Arlington Alliance for Responsible Government). Richard is a citizen who believes taxpayers should have a voice in government and his selfless effort is one of the things that inspired us to begin publishing Opinion Arlington.