Commentary: Open Letter
By MIKE GONZALEZ
I have placed on our first city council meeting agenda in January a new law outlining a debt management policy for the city that among other things places a limit on the amount of debt the city is allowed issue.
I have worked with Mayor Pro-Tem Michelle Lopez, city staff and our city attorney to draft an ordinance that I feel directly address concerns expressed by citizens and fellow council members regarding future long-term debt possibly incurred by the city.
As the fifth fastest growing city in Texas, our prior need to vastly improve and grow our infrastructure was self-evident. The debt funded capital projects completed over the last five years were so critical to our city that they received overwhelming community support. These capital projects improved safety, spurred economic development and improved the overall quality of our community for all citizens.
But now, we find ourselves in a period of great change. Change in community support for new and somewhat competing capital projects. Change in our city’s leadership. Change in the overall national economic climate.
While we face these uncertainties, there is one truth we can all agree on: overburdening our citizens and our city with excessive long-term debt will only result in negative consequences.
As we have seen with a growing national deficit, too much debt incurred by a city places a great weight over citizens, economies and grows a long shadow over the future.
This new “Fiscal Accountability Ordinance” limits the total amount of long-term debt the city is allowed to incur in relation to the city’s total Assessed Valuation and General Fund revenues. Just as American families must do, Kyle will continue to build for its future while living well within our means.
This agenda item was only posted for discussion, but if the Kyle city council ultimately approves this ordinance, our citizens will no longer have uncertainty over the future debt position of our city. I hope that citizens and my fellow council members will support this new ordinance. Let us continue to work together with purpose as we move Kyle forward.Email | Print
It would be nice if the former Mayor himself supported his own idea. He didn’t even bother to show up for this important discussion. All talk – no action. Typical Gonzalez.
I certainly agree with him that overburdening our city with excessive long-term debt will result in negative consequences. And he should know. A whopping 87% of the debt the City of Kyle now holds was issued under Gonzalez’s leadership as Mayor. And that debt – when you add-in interest – is over $100 million dollars.
Maybe Gonzalez has done enough damage. The City of Kyle is about to hold elections for 3 new places on the City Council. And in May, another 2 places are up for re-election. I fully support the idea of a long-term debt policy. But I think these new city council members ought to have a say in what it should be. Gonzalez had his chance. And he blew it.
Mayor Gonzalez has done a great job. I know of not many Elected Officials attend every meeting, some people actually have a family and work commitments. As far as the Kyle debt, I wonder what project that has been funded should have not happen? Maybe it is the partnership with Seton Hospital, the partnership for roads with Tex DOT or the $300,000.00 plus paid by the City of Kyle for two residential acres on the southwest edge of town for a library.
So what you’re saying is that it’s okay for family and work commitments to supercede his commitments as Mayor. Nice Mr. Kyle Taxpayer or whoever you are. Hey, maybe you are even Mayor Gonzalez in disguise. Good morning Mayor.
The big elephant in the room on this particular absence is that the Mayor has rarely ever missed a meeting. Hardly ever. And the excuse this week was a “prior engagement.” Not family or work. But coincidentally, it was immediately after he makes this big public announcement about this new debt management policy that he AND Michelle Lopez have been working on. AND it comes 48 hours after Michelle Lopez announced that she would be running for Mayor. Since she also serves as Mayor Pro Tem (she voted for herself for that position, narrowly winning by one vote after Councilman Salazar refused to vote for himself), Lopez took the Mayor’s seat for the entire meeting. Sweet. And Lopez’s husband, Reuben Lopez, just happens to serve as Gonzalez’s campaign treasurer for his run for county commissioner. Hmmm. His absence is looking kind of fishy to me. But hey, maybe he really did have a really important “engagement” that was MORE important than managing the debt in Kyle. The debt that HE helped get us into.
And as for whether or not that money was used for important projects… Sure, many of those projects were important. But the money could have been spent more wisely. We didn’t have to build roads at a cost of 100% to the Kyle taxpayers. But we did. And you know why? Well…why don’t you just ask your dear friend Mayor Gonzalez that question. After all, he serves on the CAMPO board and is the big road warrior. He voted for toll roads. He ought to know all there is to know about funding roads.
But he also voted for buying $87,000 mowers. Yep. There really is such a thing. And he voted for buying a bunch of old trolleys from Mobile, Alabama almost a year ago that we have yet to see functioning on the streets of Kyle. We’ve never really seen the final costs for those. And he has supported spending $1.2 million in consulting fees (yep – consulting fees) on the Recreation Center which the voters have not yet decided to build or not. And the cost of the Recreation Center has mushroomed from an initial guestimate of about $12 million to over $20 million. I guess those consultants are doing a great job. And the new Public Works Building is now $1 million in cost over runs (guess what – it’s being constructed by the same people bringing us the Recreation Center).
I could go on, but I think you get my point. There is spending. And then there is wise spending. You don’t have to vote “yes” every time city staff brings you a project. But that is what Mayor Gonzales does. Have you ever been to a City Council meeting? Have you ever seen how the city manager is always whispering in the mayor’s ear? Is he really leading? Or is he just following the instructions of the city staff?
And yes – Seton was a great project. But we have given away most of the sales tax revenues on that project for the next 3 years (and one-third thereafter for years and years). Same with the Kohls-Target project across the interstate. If we are the “hottest” place on IH-35 as Mayor Gonzalez claims, why is it we have to give away such big incentives to draw these projects to Kyle?
Latest news flash – Kyle just lost 70 jobs because a local company that has been in Kyle for 20 years is moving to Uhland. Do you know which council member Mayor Gonzalez appointed to be chair of the City’s economic development committee?
Look – if you think Mayor Gonzalez has done a great job. Then fine. By all means vote for him for county commissioner in the Republican primary. But I think most Republicans recognize him as a RHINO. It’s all about tax and spend with Gonzalez. He’s been on a spending spree during his term of office – and Kyle taxpayers have seen increases in their taxes over the last one-third of his tenure in office. And we will probably keep seeing taxes go up long after he is gone. That will be his legacy.
Lila, why didn’t you run for mayor (or even council) since you seem to “have all the answers.” Obviously you believe strongly that the volunteer job is more important than one’s family or work, right? So, you should’ve offered yourself and put your family/work on the back burner at all times for this volunteer position. And before yu accuse me of being either this mayor or a friend (one of your fav tricks), I don’t even know the guy. But I do have common sense enough to know that those who serve on city council’s and as mayor’s are either unpaid volunteers or draw such small salaries that not even a high school student living at home could survive on it. (And, of course, voters have chosen in most cities to have it that way because it is not a full time job, that’s why we pay a professional city staff).
“But I do have common sense enough to know that those who serve on city council’s [sic] and as mayor’s [sic] are either unpaid volunteers or draw such small salaries that not even a high school student living at home could survive on it. ”
One could however, always pocket the excess campaign contributions (including that amount collected after the race was over). That could indeed be quite a decent source of additional income, depending on the amount contributed.
B. Franklin: fyi, to pocket campaign contributions for personal use is, and has been, illegal for several years. So, if you or anyone else would like to do that, go right ahead. Then you’ll get free room and board (jail) for your efforts. Happens just about every election cycle somewhere in Texas (as well as many other states).
Say it’s not SO!
Adam is still in the Garden of Eden. What an innocent. Guess he hasn’t heard about Tom Delay…
And no – you really do NOT get jail time for pocketing campaign contributions. At best, you get a nice, hefty fine. Nice thought though.
I was thinking of something (or someone) a little closer to home.
hahaha….so funny Lila! But if I’m in the Garden of Eden (that would be nice!), perhaps you should visit the facilities in Terrell, Texas. I’m sure you’ll find kindred spirits there!
So sad that some people have views that are so tainted. Maybe it is because they are the ones paying folks off under the table. I still would like Lila to tell us which of the projects under Mayor Mike’s leadership she would have cut.
Nobody likes going over-budget, but people like cutting programs and raising taxes even less (at least “common” taxes, i.e. property, sales, etc). Instead, when the government absolutely needs more money you end with insane sin taxes such as last years 2100% tax increase (yes, over two thousand percent) on loose-leaf tobacco, or death by a thousand $5 fees.
When given a choice between angering a small group of people (by cutting programs), angering nearly everyone (by raising “common” taxes), or passing the problem to someone else (by going into debt), the choice most people in government will choose is obvious. At least Mayor Gonzalez’s proposal would put some limits on the easy way out, although passing it a few years ago would have been nice.
Mr. Kyle Taxpayer, I did give you some examples of what could have been cut. And yes, this proposed debt policy is a good idea. But the Mayor is launching it as though it is some new invention. It is not. The City actually has an existing, albeit not so good, debt policy contained within the “Fiscal Management Policy” that is published in the City’s Annual Budget. Maybe that escaped the Mayor’s attention.
And it doesn’t appear that anyone has actually read this proposed Long Term Debt Policy of the Mayor’s and actually plugged in the actual figures to see the real outcome as to what type of limitations it would place on our long term debt. I highly recommend you do so before you comment any further on it. Of course, it is a very rough draft of the document. Or, at least, I hope it is just a rough draft… It needs a lot of work. And much more thought before it is finally adopted by the City. And I do hope the City adopts such a document. But certainly – NOT this one. It’s nonsensical.
If you go back and re-read my post, you will see that it would appear – and I emphasize the word “appear” – that the Mayor is using this so-called policy (which for some weird reason he wants to make a “law” rather than a policy) as a political stunt for both himself and Michelle Lopez. Both of them are currently running for other offices. The Mayor is now running in the Republican primary and needs to define himself as a fiscal conservative, which he has NOT been during his tenure as mayor. Under his leadership, Kyle has piled up a bunch of debt (whether you like the projects or not) and taxes have gone up. Meanwhile, he appears to be promoting the wife of his treasurer, Reuben Lopez, as the next mayor of Kyle. If he wants to support Lopez for mayor, that’s fine. But I don’t think he ought to be using his office and the city staff to do so. Just get out and campaign hard for her.
Like you said…”passing it a few years ago would have been nice.”
I am sorry Lila but you lost me with the quote at the end of your last message. It is not mine? Anyway, I am sure there are many things we will agree on and some that we will not like this one. I still think that our leadership has done a good job. I will not vote for for the Mayor in his next election as I am a Democrat, a yellow dog one at that.
The quote was from Griffin Spell, a previous poster. And Mr. Kyle Tax Payer, I have to agree with you on some aspects that the Kyle City Council, as a whole, has done a pretty good job. I don’t mean to sound so totally negative. I am proud of our little town. Kyle has progressed and the city has grown. No one could have foreseen the economic difficulties our country has now encountered. But now that we are there, we have to regroup and find a new strategy. And I do believe that it only through being critical of oneself that you find ways through the difficult times. Perhaps I just spend too much time at City Council meetings and see too much of what goes on there. You know the old saying – watching government at work is much like watching sausage being made.
But I am not willing to give all of the credit for our city’s positive growth to Mike Gonzalez. Not by a long shot. He was but one lone vote on Council. And the last couple of years, when he could have offered strong leadership during very difficult economic times, he faltered.
Glad to know you’re a Yellow Dog Democrat! You’re definitely my kind of Kyle Tax Payer…..
Lila, I like you for the new mayor. Please run and let me know how I can help. I’m new to Kyle and would like the city to remain a nice place to live.
Darling, vote for Lucy Johnson for Mayor of Kyle. I’m way too old. Although this old lady is terribly flattered.
Kyle is now largely a young demographic, and Lucy Johnson has what it takes to be Mayor. She has lived almost her entire life here and she genuinely loves the place. She works out of her home so she can devote a large part of her time to the job. Being “on call” is a huge asset for a mayor of a town our size. She also cares so much about trying to keep our taxes low, yet still trying to pay off the huge debt that has been amassed over the last few years when our city was growing by leaps and bounds. I have watched her over the last 2 budget cycles when she carefully studied the budget and tried to find ways to cut the budget in ways that would help taxpayers without hampering essential services. But she just couldn’t find the support (i.e. votes) necessary on Council. I so admire her for being the lone voice on Council on so many hard votes when the rest were just on major spending sprees. It’s not easy to vote “no” all by yourself.
Kyle is still growing and we still need major projects. We need someone who can approach our budgets with a great deal of creativity. Lucy Johnson can do that! She’s your girl.
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lila is funny . . . . .
a yellow dog democrate and mouth piece for the BARTON’s attacking anyone that dosen’t agree with them. . . . . I wonder how much she gets paid to spend hours on these posts while the rest of us are working and raising families.
Save some time, We get it, you support Lucy because she is old rich Kyle, and Jeff Barton because he is old rich Kyle.
I thought Democrates were suppose to be the party of the people not just the RICH people
I guess the limosine Democrates have made thier way to Hays, thanks Lila for pointing that out.
Bottom line, Thank God Mayor Mike has over estimated his appeal. He won’t even make it through the primary…hopefully he’ll just fade away
If only the Bartons would pay me richly to do such a thing as post … LOL. But you can bet I’m going to be bugging them about it today! Thanks for the post.
But in reality, I support myself. Robert, I don’t think you know much about these candidates if you think they just sit around with a silver spoon in their mouth. These are hard-working people from hard-working families. “Old rich” Kyle? LOL. You need to consult your history book on this one. I don’t think there is such a thing in Kyle…
Thanks for the good chuckles while I sip my first cup of coffee…
Lila Knight wrote:
“But in reality, I support myself.”
Are you willing to tell the readers how you support yourself, or is that a deep dark secret?
Has anyone else been getting these weird “push poll” phone calls? Sounds like a survey, but really isn’t one.
I got one last night and this guy from Florida wanted to know if I was “favorable” or “unfavorable” towards some of our local candidates, taking his time out to inform me of all of Patrick Rose’s saintly work as our State Rep and how Andrew Backus was apparently not a saint and then the same for the Sumter vs. Barton contest.
How nice of these people to tell me how to feel about these candidates. I didn’t realize until last night that the Barton and Rose campaigns were connected.
They even took time out to ask me questions about Charles O’Dell! Why are these pollers from Florida calling me up to ask me how I feel about Charles O’Dell? He isn’t running for office, is he? What is going on here?
This is a dirty tricks campaign strategy straight from the Karl Rove playbook and an example of real old-school machine politics.
I think you scared off lila who is going to inform us lol . . . .
So lila, you said there are no rich people in Kyle, no old familes with tons of ranch land?? Are you sipping tea or something stronger??
And Lucy Johnson is not from one of those familes?? If she is not rich how does she earn her living????
Her website states that she has a degree in DESIGN and is currently in school for masters??? I don’t think being a student produces much income.
Hey Chucky – how do you support yourself? Are you willing to let the world into your private life? Do tell all. We are all so on the edge of our seats wanting to know. How do you afford that big house of yours? And that big swimming pool? Please – do tell us all about yourself and your private life. Are you taking contributions from so-called non-profits as payment for services rendered? Are you paid in your role as the head of Hays Can’t? I guess we will never know. As we can’t hit you with you the open records requests that you appear to make a living at for others under the shadows. Sigh – You hide behind your masks so well. Or not. You live a very nice life – relaxed. No real work except to exacerbate politicians – now and then. Who pays you to do this? Does anyone really believe that you do this out of your own sense of justice? Get over it. You go around accusing everyone of actions based on monetary decisions – why shouldn’t yours be the same?
On the other hand, I am just a lowly renter. But you – you are a landowner in Hays County. And your property is appraised at, oh – so much! Do you really care about the rest of us – or do you only care about your property values like your kindred spirit Peter Stern…
It is you – Charles O’Dell – that is splitting this county between east and west. I hope that makes you feel better when you lay your head upon your pillow at night. Does it give you some sense of accomplishment? Does it make you feel as though you are closer to the man you really want to claim as your mentor, Karl Rove?
Good Night Chucky – and a Good Night to all his minions – whether they be Republicans or Democrats
Hey Lila your back, stop giving Democrats a bad name.
But you did not answer my question? Is Lucy Johnson, mayor candidate, a wealthy college student that you want running the city of kyle?
You blame the current mayor for 87% of the debt, but as I understand government, it is the entire council that votes to approve this. By our logic Barton is responsible for the millions of new debt the county has issued for the last road bond. How many millions was that??
And that new debt in Kyle went to pay for improvements to TxDOT and county roads in Kyle. It was these improvements that brought us a new hosptial and stores. If your buddy Jeff and Rose had done their jobs the state and the county would have improved these roads years ago. Instead they seem to focus only on political fund raising, I’m sure both will sent new records this year.
You said about Charles “No real work except to exacerbate politicians – now and then. Who pays you to do this? Does anyone really believe that you do this out of your own sense of justice? ” Is this not what you do also? You don’t care about people you just care about the power you can have by having your friends “puppets” in office.
At least “Chucky” pays local taxes, Lila is a self confessed renter. I wonder who she rents from??? the Bartons???? OMG that would be funny if she did.
So true. We must be vigilant to prevent wealthy college students and self-confessed renters from taking over the world!
College students and renters give Democrats a bad name!
You really must keep up with the facts ghost of Jefferson – or whoever you are. The road bonds issued by the County will be reimbursed by TxDOT to the County. So, in effect, Tx DOT does pay for the road – but we get the roads quicker and in a more timely manner – and we get more control over the design and construction. But if you think we are paying for 100% of them – then I guess you are smoking o’dellian nonsense. Please, try to stay better informed of what is really going on in your world.
In contrast – the City of Kyle elected to pay 100% of the road construction of state roads in and around Kyle. There were other options. They just didn’t take them. I don’t know why. Ask your good friend the mayor. He was at the helm when these roads were being planned, funded and constructed. There will be no reimbursement by TxDOT. Kyle taxpayers will be paying for them for the next 20 to 30 years.
What I do for a living is none of your business. You people don’t even have the cahonies to tell me your real name, so why should I tell you anything about myself. But if you think someone is actually paying me to sit here and do this – you need to dispense with the tin-foil hat. And I have just as much right to comment and express my opinion as the likes of you. Would you ever even think to ask Charles O’Dell this question? I could turn that question around on each and every one of you. The only difference between you and me is that I have the courage to express my opinions in the open – you people hide behind stupid little made up names. If we knew who you really were, we could probably come up with stupid conspiracy theories on the reasons behind your opinions and why you feel the need to subject the rest of us to them.
I am not going to respond to personal, petty, vindictive, and/or malicious questions and comments about my personal life or the personal life of others. Maybe you should get a life of your own and stop dwelling on that of others. Or – you could go get one of those celebrity fan magazines – that should entertain your perverse curiosity for a while…
Lila, you seem to be losing your witty and carefree tone
– where do you think TxDOT gets the money ???, us the taxpayers, it is the same taxpayer pocket that the government is reaching into. That is the problem with you far left dems, you think their is a magical pot of money.
And you come on here and claim facts, but refuse to answer when someone asks you to clearify your facts.
but you are right, I should be fair so i’ll ask both:
O’Dell do you rent property from the Bartons??
Lila do you rent property from the Bartons??
A simple yes or no will do.
And no, college students and renters don’t give Dem’s a bad name, just those that spread lies in the name of justice.
Dems give dems a bad name.
I find it so funny that people actually think there is a difference between the titles “Democrat” and “Republican”! Have you honestly seen ANY difference between how either party has governed in Washington when they each had complete control of both houses and presidency during the past 20 years when it comes to the middle class or poor??
Answer, if you are honest, is NO. Folks, it is time to let the “truth set you free” and quit paying SO much attention to the stupid party labels!! If you vote based on that, you are just dumb and blinded by prejudice (no, not race!). Educate yourself this election year and LOOK at the people not the party when you make a decision—otherwsie you deserve the same crap you’ve been getting.
Lila DOES rent from the Bartons.
When she pops off defending every silly thing having the name “Barton” on it that comes up on this blog, she is simply speaking up for her LANDLORD. That might at least take a little off the monthly payment or get your roof fixed faster.
Not only are the Bartons Lila’s landlords, but she is a consultant for TxDot. She has a vested interest in road projects, paving over stuff is what transportation consultants live for.
So, when ferreting out where a person’s interests may lie, it can be very interesting to see where their money comes from….and where it goes.
You people don’t know squat. But I guess I should be flattered by your sudden perverted obsession with all things “Lila.” But if you think I rent from Jeff Barton, you are wrong. I don’t even rent from his father (although I will admit I DO read his newspaper – I even subscribe). So sorry to disappoint your sleuthing. And I work in the field of historic preservation. Trust me. I am NOT in the business of paving over things. Quite the opposite.
But what I say here must really get to you. It must hurt you that I can state the facts and make you sound pathetically stupid anytime I want. Or else you really wouldn’t be so concerned about me and my private life.
So Django. Let’s hear from you now. What’s your name. Where do you live? What do you do for a living? Where does your money come from – and where does it go? Who do you sleep with? Are you married? Maybe you’re gay? Are you a man or are you a woman? Maybe you are O’Dell in disguise? Who do you vote for? How much money did you make last year? What did you eat last night for dinner? Do you eat meat? You know what – I really don’t care…
You think you know me from reading posts on a website like this? You don’t know jack. You’re no more than a pathetic coward that is afraid to state their own opinion in the light of day. You must not hold that opinion in very high regard yourself – so why should the rest of us care what you think.
And if I sound like I’m in a nasty mood – it’s because I am. But not because of your idiocy. I’m just very, very busy right now and I just don’t have time for this inanity.
Adam, I agree. Republicans are what is wrong with republicans too! It just did not seem as appropriate due to the comment I was responding to! They all suck and need to be ran out of town!! Particsian politics does nothing to further this country’s needs. Let’s get rid of the party system and go back to government of the people, by the people, not by the party.
And we thought San Marcos politics was a shark frenzy!
Methinks somebody is off her meds again.
Is it odd that she answers like a politician “But if you think I rent from Jeff Barton, you are wrong. I don’t even rent from his father ” instead of just saying NO. It is kinda of she is kidding something, maybe the property she rents is owned by another Barton or something, but this way she can say NO, sort-of.
Clinton, “It depends what your definition of is, is” lol
Worse yet, she gives charles a hard time, yet it seem like she pays no local taxes but is paid thru TxDOT by taxpayer funds for her “special projects”.
I like everyone here and although I don’t agree with everything written I respect all opinions given. Viva freedom of speech.
Scott, if we can’t get rid of partisan politics, at least (perhaps) we can take one step closer by moving to “open primaries” like some states. That’s where people “file” as republicans, democrats, independents, or whatever, BUT they ALL run on ONE ballot. Thus voters don’t have to choose which primary to vote in, everyone gets to vote among all the various party candidates and the top two voter getters—regardless of party–emerge then to run against each other in November. Gives candidates with real ideas a better chance to be heard by voters and not have to chose some fictious party platform (which no one pays attention to after being elected) in order to run, and then have to pretend on issues just to get thru the primary.
Adam, I think you’re spot on and I couldn’t agree with you more.
What I can’t figure out, Lila, is how you can criticize Mayor Mike as a tax and spend RHINO (not fiscally conservative) but claim to be a yellow dog yourself-what? Also, if Lucy Johnson works from home AND is going for her Master’s, when will she be “on call” as mayor, darling? Of course, I don’t have a Gonzalez for Precinct 2 sign in my yard either-does anyone?