and oh, by the way, County Judge Ed Emmett is a crook according to the president of one of the local economic growth organizations.
You learn an awful lot by going to these little council meetings. If you aren’t going to yours, you really need to.
First, on the tax increase. Instead of making meaningful budget cuts, the Shoreacres City Council has decided to increase revenues by adopting last year’s tax rate. Had they chosen to keep tax revenue the same, they would have lowered the rate to the state mandated $0.793174. In choosing to keep last year’s rate of $0.844381 per hundred dollars of appraised value, they are increasing city revenues by $50,596.79. Click here to read the notice of a budget hearing on September 22nd. It is very interesting that the notice of a budget hearing was placed on the city website before council voted on it last night.
In defending his budget, Mayor Rick Moses acknowledged that he was increasing taxes. It’s refreshing that he didn’t hide behind the tax rate argument as other mayors before him have done. What is not so refreshing is that the budget is once again deficit funded with funds from the General Fund Reserve. Mayor Moses did say that he hopes to spend less than budgeted because he is working with San Jacinto College and hopes that they will give the city two new police vehicles, eliminating the need to spend the funds he budgeted to purchase one. Since when did the San Jac system become so flush with taxpayer money that they can afford to give small cities police vehicles? Perhaps it is time to start attending San Jac board meetings and ask them about their finances. While I appreciate the larger cities in the area subsidizing us with a couple of new police vehicles, I sincerely doubt the citizens paying those taxes appreciate it.
Now, about the county judge being a crook. A guy named Chad Burke, President and CEO of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region, was invited to give a presentation to the council on “Coastal Barrier Proposals” (think Ike Dike). During his yawn fest of a forty minute presentation, he was gleeful that the EPA is proposing new rules on the use of coal, which increases natural gas usage, which is good for the Houston area, etc. He might ought to ask Attorney General Greg Abbott about those rules as Abbott is suing the EPA for continuing to mess with Texas.
During his talk, Burke also said that the biggest holdup in getting started on the Ike Dike was Rice University getting $3 million a year to study various proposals. And then he directly implicated County Judge Ed Emmett as the real culprit, saying that because Ed is a Rice alumni, he was deliberately holding up the process so that his alma mater would continue to receive this funding. If true, that would be against the law. Of course it isn’t true and Burke was intentionally lying about Emmett.
I found Burke’s statements highly offensive and called Burke out on it during the time allotted for citizen comments. I also called out the council for sitting there and letting this jerk disparage Emmett. I’ve met and known hundreds of public officials and will stand next to Ed Emmett on the integrity scale every day of the week. It’s a sad day when elected officials allow people like Burke to address them with such falsehoods and sit there shaking their heads in agreement because hey, everyone is a crook, right? They need to look in the mirror if they really believe that. Mr. Burke and the Shoreacres Mayor and Council owe County Judge Ed Emmett a public apology.
So there you have it. You should attend your local government meetings. You never know what you’ll hear.
I neglected to post the actual vote on the proposed tax rate. I guess that I assumed “everyone” in Shoreacres would know but here you go. The vote was 4-1 in favor of the increase. Those in favor were Mayor Pro-Tem Richard Adams, Alderman Mike Wheeler, Alderman Bo Bunker, and Alderman Neil Moyer. The only opposition was Alderman Nancy Schnell. During her tenure on council, Alderman Schnell has been alone in trying to curb the city’s spending.