Letter to the Editor

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Dear Editor,

At the 4/5/16 Stephenville City Council meeting, I shared this information with the public:
“During the current and previous budget combined, the council has approved spending less than 1% of the total budgets on studies and plans. These expenditures have and are providing accurate, up-to-date information to staff and council that are vitally necessary for wise decision making. Basing our decisions on decades’ old data is not prudent or exercising our due diligence. Infrastructure projects and upgrades that we invest millions of dollars in, should and will be studied and planned in a proper professional manner. I applaud the council for this sound and efficient strategy.”
 As a four-term council member I have experience dealing with complex issues. Being a part of improving infrastructure and prioritizing projects has taught me the importance of fact checking and having solid implementation plans.
 Three of our goals are:
1) Ensuring the long term financial health of city government.
2) Providing quality public safety for current and future residents.
3) Strong comprehensive planning to promote orderly and sustained development to increase taxable value. During the last few years we have made significant progress toward these goals.
I am excited about the positive momentum the city is currently experiencing. There are several new opportunities that the Chamber of Commerce and the City have been diligently working on that will provide more choices and improve the quality of life for our residents.
 Our conservative budgeting and recent moves to increase street repair funding is good news. Hiring our own city engineer is providing quicker design and implementation of our street projects that are now underway.

Thinking about future generations, I supported the Council’s purchase of a water well field, which will serve the city’s needs for decades to come.

Economic development is also vital. We need to retain existing employers and attract new businesses to ensure higher paying jobs and a vibrant economy. Along with that we need to continue our record of keeping property taxes low. 
 
My opponent, Carla Trussell, doesn’t appear to fully grasp the issues and responsibilities facing council members. Her inexperience will not be an asset to future growth.
 
Carla continually bashes City Council for investing in studies that she deems useless. In her attacks she uses inaccurate figures.  Her claim of “$1 million on studies” is false and misleading. What she is failing to understand is that to properly plan a project we need to provide documentation that validates the need and costs associated.  Such documentation is required to qualify for state funding. Studies not only justify expenses but also assist with prioritizing projects. To call such documentation useless demonstrates her lack of experience with fiscal management.
 
As a new grandfather I don’t have to look any farther than my lap to explain why I am seeking re-election to the Stephenville City Council. It’s for my grandson and all of our kids and grandkids here in Stephenville. We are at a crossroads with major needs in our streets, infrastructure, and economic development. We need proven and knowledgeable representation on City Council.
Thank you,
Russ McDanel 
Stephenville City Council candidate
 

3 Comments

  1. Semantics… Is McDanel referring to the $34,000 worth of studies we financed to study the feasibility and design of a multi-purpose center on land we didn’t own? Or is he referring to the $75,000 thoroughfare study that gave us a loop no one wanted and we had no way of paying for? Or is he referring to the $29,000 staffing study that was suppose to be done on efficiency but ended up being a way for every department to justify adding an administrative assistant? Or is he referring to the $701,000 design plan for sewer system repairs/construction? When will we see a benefit from that $701,000 expenditure when we have no idea how we are going to finance the estimated $10 to $20 million dollar repair/construction of the sewer system? Shouldn’t we have determined where the money for the sewer project was going to come from BEFORE we spent $701,000 designing it? One council member suggested we roll the $701,000 into a sewer project bond issue to present to voters. Mr. McDanel voiced his opposition to that indicating we shouldn’t leave something as important as a sewer project to the whims of voters. Always putting the cart before the horse is not responsible economic planning.
    Carla Trussell
    Council Candidate Place 2

  2. Carla,

    You mean the $75,000 for the thoroughfare study we are REQUIRED by the STATE OF TEXAS to have on file in the event that Stephenville grows exponentially to a point where:
    a) We will have a larger income on taxes due to the larger population
    b) You will WANT that loop when Washington, the South Loop, Lingleville Hwy, and the Northwest Loop are so congested with traffic
    c) Having an overwhelmed sewer system will not be pleasant for any single resident in Stephenville
    d) Having a new multipurpose center will no longer be a need but an absolute necessity

    I expect the city to do a study before they spend my tax money on land if it’s not feasible to use for the purpose it would be purchased for.

    I expect the city to plan ahead for the eventual development and growth of Stephenville.

    I expect the citizens and city council alike to have attended the thoroughfare plan meeting, listened to the mayor, and understand that a “Thoroughfare Plan” is NOT AN OPTION. It HAS to exist and it HAS to be updated according to the expansion and growth that Stephenville has already seen and continues to see. We are, if I’m not mistaken, the “City of Champions,” and champions don’t turn their noses up at being told that as happy as you may be right now, you can ALWAYS be better and should strive to do so. It’s like practicing fire drills and tornado drills – be prepared for the situations that you aren’t sure if or when they will happen. The key is being prepared. With all due respect, if you’re not willing to pay to proactively take care of my city for my family and my fellow citizens, I don’t want you in charge of making decisions for me.

    I hope that you truly have the city’s best interest at heart, but you’re getting too caught up in the numbers and not caught up enough in the long-term needs of the city and it’s citizens.

    Sincerely,
    Concerned Citizen Not Voting for Carla Trussell

    • Interesting that you were allowed to post anonymously. The council had a very interesting discussion about the thoroughfare study after the citizenry turned out in mass to protest the proposed loops. An in depth conversation about what they wanted the study to entail should have occurred before they contracted for the study – not after. I support the necessary renovations for the sewer system. But, again, we need to put the cart before the horse and have a serious discussion about how we are going to fund it. Hanging our hopes on someone else funding it is not a strategy. As a council we should educate the citizenry on the need for the sewer project and let them vote in a referendum. Otherwise, we may have spent $701,000 on a design plan for a project that never materialized. Still find it very interesting that The Flash allows anonymous postings for Mr. McDanel’s supporters.

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