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Arlington Spectator: Early Voting Continues, Election Day is Saturday

2016-05-06-1

We strongly endorse Kelly Canon for City Council District 1. Ms. Canon is the only conservative candidate that will act for the citizens.

 

Local May 7 Elections:

Four seats of the Arlington City Council are up for election this coming May. However, only two are contested. They are city-wide, at-large District 7 and single member district of north Arlington, District 1.

 

District 1

Kelly Canon

Charlie Parker

 

District 7

Victoria Farrar-Myers

Chris “Dobi” Dobson

 

School Board

Only one of the two AISD board positions is contested. That is Place 4.

 

Place 4

John Hibbs

Luis Castillo

Followed by the May 24, Primary Runoff

 

From The Arlington Spectator, Volume 9, Number 18, Monday, May 2, 2016

Richard Weber, Publisher of the Arlington Spectator

Game Schedule

Monday, May 2, Early Voting for Municipal and School Board Positions Continue.

Tuesday, May 3, Early Voting for Municipal and School Board Positions End.

Thursday, May 5, AISD School Board meeting, AISD Administration Building, 1203 W Pioneer Pkwy, 7:00pm.

Saturday, May 7, Election Day for Municipal and School Board Positions.

Sunday, May 8, Mother’s Day.

Tuesday, May 10, City Council meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W Abram St, TBA.

Monday, May 16, Early Voting for Primary Runoff Positions Begin.

Thursday, May 19, AISD School Board meeting, AISD Administration Building, 1203 W Pioneer Pkwy, 7:00pm.

Friday, May 20, Early Voting for Primary Runoff Positions End.

Tuesday, May 24, Election Day for Municipal and School Board Positions.

Tuesday, May 24, ???City Council meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W Abram St, TBA.

 

Arlington is a city where citizens are relegated to being spectators rather than players. The SPECTATOR helps citizens know what is happening on the field. Only the few on the in-house team are allowed to play ball in Arlington. The SPECTATOR helps citizens understand the game.

From the Locker Room

 

Council Update

The city council met this past Tuesday, April 26.

 

Committee Meetings

Staff informed the first committee about a possible erosion program, eyeing the storm drainage funds. Council will need to set priorities regarding erosion vs. flooding spending. Future discussions to come.

 

Afternoon Session

The open portion of the afternoon session started late again. In fact, the whole meeting ran so long, they delayed the start of the evening meeting to 6:45pm.

NTTA did a presentation selling themselves as the good guys. Staff did a presentation on gas drilling. The council wanted one of their committees to study any changes that might be necessary.

The first informal staff report was reporting on generating more parks revenue by renting the fields at Randol Mill Park for tournaments.

The second informal staff report was on MAX ridership numbers. City Council members had no comments or questions. Staff stated, “ridership was holding steady,” which was a total contradiction to the .chart in the staff report which had a red line slanted upward suggesting increasing ridership.

So which is it, holding steady or rising??? Neither.

When you look at the last 12 months of data comparing to the same month of the prior 12 months RIDERSHIP IS DOWN. Eight months were down, three months were up, and one month was the same.

As citizens, YOU should be very concerned why staff is allowed to lie and why you city council allows them to get away with it.

I e-mailed my council woman, but once again I am left with the impression that answering simple questions greatly exceeds her capabilities.

http://arlingtontx.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2044&meta_id=233710

The staff report on food trucks led to the decision to send the item to a committee.

The “using technology” informal staff report, staff did a presentation by a “for profit” organization regarding “smart cities.” The presentation had the same type of feel as Agenda-21 presentations I’ve seen. I am not sure of this purpose of the presentation, as staff did not state a price or a desire to join the organization (unless maybe they already have joined?).

http://arlingtontx.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=2044&meta_id=233716

 

Evening Meeting

The evening meeting started at 6:45pm. All of the council members were present.

The executive session item (wireless service tower), minutes, and consent agenda were all approved, 9-0. There were four non-speakers in support of neighborhood matching grants award (I’m guessing likely recipients in some form).

The first public hearing was continued again.

Rather than allowing the owner to set the zoning for office so he can sell it as such, the council wants a planned development zoning so once again they can control someone to get something approved.

The second public hearing was approved 9-0 to zone Bell and South Cooper limited office. The third public hearing to housing near Fielder and Green Oaks, across from the sewage treatment plant was approved, 8-1. Parker opposed.

There was one citizen speaker hoping for a greenbelt to get to Fort Worth.

 

AISD Update

The next AISD board meeting will be Thursday, May 5.

 

In The News

Arlington Spectator Recommendations

Early voting continues for city council and school board elections. Early voting ends Tuesday, May 3. Election Day is Saturday, May 7.

The Arlington Spectator strongly endorses challenger Kelly Canon for District 1. Ms. Canon is the only strong conservative running for council and easily the best candidate in this race.

In the District 7 race, we recommend Chris Dobson. He would better represent the typical resident vs. the high-roller special interests.

In the AISD Place 4 race we lean towards Luis Castillo. We believe that Mr. Castillo gives an added prospective into the board’s decisions.

 

City May 7 Elections

There are two contested races in the upcoming May City Elections. District 7 is an at large seat, city-wide and will NOT have an incumbent. The candidates are Victoria Farrar-Myers and Chris “Dobi” Dobson.

The other contest race is in North Arlington where incumbent Charlie Parker is being challenged by Kelly Canon.

The two uncontested races have the returning incumbents, District 2 (Sheri Capehart) and District 6 (Robert Shepard).

 

AISD May 7 Elections

The one position contested on the AISD Board is Place 4. The incumbent John Hibbs is being challenged by Luis Castillo.

Jamie Sullins, the incumbent in Place 5 is unopposed.


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.

Contact Information:

email at ArlSpectator@yahoo.com

 

The Spectator

City Council grades

School Board grades

The Arlington Voice (online newspaper covering Arlington)

Opinion Arlington (comment on issues of Arlington)

The Texas Bond Review Board

City of Arlington website

Charlie Parker Blog

NW Arlington Newsletter

SE Arlington Blog

Texas Legislative Online

The Texas Bond Review Board

 

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3 Responses to Arlington Spectator: Early Voting Continues, Election Day is Saturday

  1. Richard Weber

    May 28, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Council Update
    The city council met this past Tuesday, May 24. Robert Shepard decided he did not need to be present for the open portion of the afternoon session The evening meeting was the LAST meeting at the council chambers as it will be destroyed after less than 35 years of service to make room for the overpriced library. The new council chambers will be significantly smaller as the council wants less and less citizen participation.

    Committee Meetings
    There were two committee meetings, however, you and I were not invited, as both were in executive session. The agenda of the first meeting was to discuss the towing contract with a lawyer.

    The second committee meeting was yet another business proposal to send your tax dollars into the grubby hands of a special friend.

    Afternoon Session
    The open portion of the afternoon session was scheduled to start at 2:30pm. We were allowed to go in about 3:10 while they were voting already voting on their Rangers parking lot deal where the city buys several parking lots so the Rangers do not have to pay taxes, then the Rangers lease them from the city for the gigantic price of $10/year. Say you were in open session, unlock the door, and go to business less than 30 seconds later. If citizens are not willing to fullback their way through the other citizens, that is their own fault. There certainly was no need to let the public get in the room and settled for that vote.

    The mayor then reopened the afternoon session at 3:31pm (more than an hour late). Hey, they are only citizens, make them wait. It is more important to please the special interest friends and line their pockets.

    After a presentation on the buying electricity, the city manager did his presentation on the Rangers’ agreement. By the numbers, it is all a one-sided deal.

    It will require the Cowboys debt be paid or altered, so that the citizens can vote on those same taxes to go the new Rangers’ extremely ugly ballpark. This week’s vote was a resolution to send the required documents to the Texas Comptroller for permission to use the taxes for this new stadium.

    With the Comptrollers OK, the council will be able to vote in August to put the issue on the November ballot.

    The so-called 50-50 deal has the city paying $500 million for the stadium which right now is projected to cost just a touch of $900 million. The ugly, retractable roof stadium would be ready for the 2021 season for sure, and possibly the 2020 season. The Rangers would stay in Arlington through 2054. The current Ranger deal has the Rangers in Arlington through 2024. Rent would be the current $2 million/year.

    Should the stadium cost under $1 billion, the Rangers are to spend the remaining portion of the 50-50 deal on the Texas Live complex (which they are already required to spend money). Don’t you just love the city negotiators representing your dollars?

    Evening Meeting
    The evening meeting started nine minutes late. The executive item and three set of minutes were approved, 9-0. The consent agenda, minus a $2.9 million trenchless water main improvements, was approved 9-0. The trenchless item was tabled. In the true keep-it-from-the-public philosophy your council said absolutely nothing. No reason why it was tabled, no reason for what is being looked at. There was absolutely NO public discussion as to what was going on.

    Personally, I just don’t understand how any elected council member can feel it is perfectly right to run a city this way.

    The continued public hearing for the Legends Express Car Wash on South Cooper was again continued, until August 2 this time.

    The Texas Rangers’ resolution lasted over two hours. The 15 supporting speakers of this NEW TAX started with former mayor, liberal Star-Telegram columnist, Richard Greene and ended with liberal Democrat US House Representative candidate, Ruby Woolridge. Of the 13 speakers in between were several give-us-citizen-dollars Chamber of Commerce people, AISD trustee John Hibbs, special interest buddy Robert Kimbel, wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing Arlington Tea Party’s Craig Ownby, and the Board of Realtors.

    Nonspeakers in support included, Dixon Hollman, Larry Johnson (Arlington Board of Realtors), Sue Phillips, the city’s water director, Dan Fernandez (Arlington Tea Party), and Tom Cravens.

    Ten filled out cards opposed. Six spoke while four did not.

    After far too much talking from the current ignorant council members, they finally got around to vote, 9-0. Shepard claimed he did not like dealing with numbers, but was positive on this deal because the other stadium deals were paid off early. (Whether a deal is good has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with if the deal was paid off early. Plain and simple with just inflation, the deals were to be paid off early. Any deal should be evaluated by rate of return.) Wilemon replied to claims that the roadways were in disarray, that they were getting to that now. (Yes, they are getting to it now because the citizens approved a record bond package. It is not because any of the stadium deals generated much money for the citizens. Again, if the past stadium deals were good and had any kind of rate of return, roadway improvements would have been done already, without the need for citizen bonds.)

    After approving the Rangers’ give-away, they got around to swearing in the council members from the elections earlier this month. I have never seen this happen before, where the swearing in was not one of the first events of the agenda. This was on page 8 of 8 pages on the agenda.

    Newly elected council member, Victoria Farrar-Myers, finally got sworn in about three hours after the scheduled start of the council meeting. What an INSULT by Jeff Cluck Williams and his cronies!!! She did not even get to vote on the Rangers issue, that was left to Jimmy Bennett, a clown that has already done enough to ruin Arlington. I-N-S-U-L-T.

    During the announcements, they stated that this is the last meeting for the current council chambers. The first meeting was July 21, 1981 (so this building lasted less than 35 years…, just because establishment said so, you taxpayers are here to just pay us and don’t ask questions like why, so what we had a special interest buddy deal to execute, maybe line a few pockets along the way).

    The new chambers will be built as part of the new library. It will hold approximately half the people (what a great way to encourage the citizens to be included in the process???—they will be locked out by order of the fire marshal on any big issue they may want to address the council).

    The temporary meeting room will now be the extremely compressed third floor area where they hold the afternoon session. They will rearrange the room to enhance that can-of-sardines feeling. I hope they plan to hand out deodorant.

    Two citizens spoke during citizen participation. The first was concerned of the maintenance needs of the Randol Mill Park’s Nature Area. The second spoke of a sports group using their neighborhood park.

  2. Richard Weber

    May 28, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Property Taxes
    You can expect much higher property taxes coming during the next year. Property valuations are way up and unless governing bodies lower their tax rates your property taxes are going up, possibly significantly.

    Homestead properties will be limited to a 10% hike in the property valuation per year, but that just spreads out the damage over years.

    Personally, my homestead has gone up more this one year than the other 29 years put together. This year’s more than 40% increase will be spread out 10% over each of the next four years.

    A term that may come up is effective tax rate. In layman’s terms (minus games with debt service), this is the tax rate at the new property valuations that generates the same amount of revenue as the previous year. This coming year, that rate will be significantly less than the current tax rate.

    Last year, the Arlington City Council approved the current tax rate, which was 6.74% higher than last year’s effective rate. (9/15/2015 city council meeting)

    My understanding of the rollback rate, it is 8% over the effective tax rate (except ISDs, where the calculation is different).

    That means you can expect the current tax rate to be greater than the rollback rate. If the governing bodies approve the current rate without lowering it, the possibility of rollback elections exist.

    The school tax is the biggest portion of a typical tax bill. The good news here is will probably go down, maybe 4 cents. The Arlington Independent School District (AISD) has a $1.04 rate for maintenance and operations (M&O). The odds are over 99.9% they will keep that rate, generating much, much more than last year. They will just added to their already gigantic fund balance.

    The rest of the school tax goes to paying off the gigantic debt created by the record bond package from a few years ago. My guess, vs. something I’ve heard during a presentation, that may be 4 cents-ish. The school board could use some of that giantic fund balance towards debt and lower the rate even more, but with the spend-and-spend people on the current school board, I do not see that happening.

    The city tax is also divided into an M&O and debt service portion. Over the past year, the city has issued gigantic portions of debt (like certificates of obligations for the downtown library) which raises the debt service portion and lowers the M&O, so the effective tax rate will actually be higher than it would have been had debt stayed roughly the same.

    Your spend-and-spend city council members are eyeing all those extra millions to spend on their pet projects. Even with the adjustments for the large amounts of debt, I would still expect to see the current tax rate be higher than the rollback rate, meaning if they approve a tax rate at the same rate (extremely probable) the citizens could petition for a rollback election (something the arrogant, spend-and-spend council members probably do not fear happening.

    A minority of council members might suggest a lowering of the tax rate to under the rollback rate (still far above the effective rate), but I do not see the movement being very strong.

    My personal feeling is the tax rate should be set just slightly above the effective rate. They do need to pay for police body cameras, etc. The past and current inflation rate is no where near the 6.74% raise over the effective rate approved last year. Of course that has a snowball’s chance (something far below 0.001%) of happening.

    The county taxes are controlled the five person board. They are in charge of the county tax, the hospital (JPS) tax, and the college (TCC) tax. The only decent guy is our commissioner Andy Nguyen. Tarrant County Judge (not a judge, judge, but in essence the mayor of the county), Glenn Whitley, is one of the most spend-and-spend people.

    I suspect JPS is looking forward to a big increase in bucks as they will be looking to pass a gigantic bond in the November election.

    All in all, even homesteads are looking at a 9% increase in their total tax bill.

    • Richard Weber

      June 11, 2016 at 11:03 am

      School Board Taxes–I had projected/thought/predicted about 4-cents reduction based on hearing the City of Arlington property values were up about 18%. The AISD is usually lower than the city, so I estimated 15%. As it turns out the AISD financial team is projecting a 5.5% increase in their property values.

      The AISD financial team recommended, and was approved by the board on Thursday night, a 1.4-cent rate reduction on the debt service portion of the tax rate to be heard at a public hearing on the AISD tax rate to be held June 23.

      The AISD must approve a budget by June 30, as their fiscal year begins July 1.

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