Saturday, May 28, 2016

CCR 05-28-16 Budget Shock

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

"Sticker  Budget Shock"

   Well, dear readers, it’s that time of the year again.  During the past week, QueenB VD, Chief of Staff Pet Rock LaMorgese and the balance of the Irving City council managed to sit through a two day PowerPoint-induced coma to determine the city’s mammoth budget for 2016-17.

   This marathon session and spending-fest was billed as the "Budget and Strategic Plan Review."

   While you may have been toiling, in a sweatshop working to make ends meet, the city council has been determining how to spend all your tax bucks like this was actually their money to spend.  
   (Yes, it’s a thankless job, but they even get paid to do it.)

   Of course, the documentation the city administration has pulled together, coupled with all the additional "we need this" items pushed by individual council members, represents the first stage of the process.  Later, the city administration will inform the council that to include everyone’s ‘kitchen sink,’ taxes will probably have to be raised.  And this is where the dollar-fisticuffs begin for who gets what and how much. 

    Knowing the city council normally does not want to increase the city’s property tax rate, they are hoping that since property appraisals for a majority of citizens increased around 10% this year, this increase in values will provide additional city revenues as their panacea.

   This process would allow each council member to state: We didn’t raise your tax rate — we just collected more money from you because your appraisal went up.
   (For the slower readers: Your property appraisal does not set the tax rate of how much you will pay.  The tax rates are set by city, county, ISDs and other governmental institutions.)

    Yes, the city council is prone to pointing a finger at someone else.  This is necessary to achieve the goal of having pet projects, single source developers, cronies (even those with a conflict of interest) and Sugar Daddy handlers, loyal to the queen, to have all of their personal items included in the city budget at your expense. 

   While most council members (with righteous intent to do what they were elected to do) will attempt to have a street repaved, storm drainage improved, or police and fire protection increased to accommodate genuine needs, QueenB VDs list has a more personal slant with her budget additions. 

   And this budget season will be a critical factor as QueenB VD develops plans for a mayoral re-election campaign to hold her throne, of perceived power and failed leadership, before leaping into a run for a seat in the 2017 State elections.

   However, when the budget session was over, Dylan Westie, Executive editor/part-time wordsmith and Social Media Troll for the CCR, managed to obtain a copy of the queen’s demand list which she gave to the city manager without, of course, council review or consideration. 

   Following is just a few of the items QueenB VD wants included in the budget:

   1.  A larger than life statue of her placed at the Four Season Resort and Spa to replace the Byron Nelson statue which will be relocated to south Dallas due to AT&Ts stealing the golf tournament from under the queen’s crown and nose.  Total cost: $425,013.
   2.  Wants the Hackberry Creek street in front of her mini-castle totally reworked, repaved and widened to accommodate all those late night visitors seeking the queen’s favor.  A mini-parking lot and rose tinted street lights will also be constructed.  Total cost: $1,200,000.
   3.  Needs a new ergonomic chair, which is elevated higher than all the other council member’s seats, so it will appear she is queenly, above all peons and serfs, and in total control.  Total cost: $1,850
   4.  Increase personnel staffing and personal amenities to include: 
A personal photographer for her photo op sessions -- $75,000/year
A personal driver to sashay her to photo op sessions -- $75,000/year
A new city limo to cart her to photo op sessions -- $125,000 
   A videographer for all of her Red Meat TEA-carnivore YouTube babbling-speech gatherings -- $87,000/year
   A personal assistant to handle scheduling/photo ops and ‘fishing’ for speaking engagements and award programs to attend -- $72,000
Renovate and add a private room at The Keg restaurant for luncheon meetings with cronies, single source developers and Sugar Daddy handlers -- $310,000
Have the city pay her personal Dallas PR consultant planning her re-election campaign to save "Dark Money" funds -- $5,000/month
A FaceBook and Twitter manager who will troll all the Red Meat TEA-carnivore publications to post items on her FaceBook page making it appear she supports and agrees with all the kooky opinions expressed -- $95,000
   Of course, ordinary citizens will have an opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions on what should or should not be included in the city’s budget.  However, by the time the budget document is presented for citizens’ review, the die will have been cast and the chances of citizen input actually influencing, or changing the budget is as probable as Byron Nelson speaking at the council’s Citizen’s Forum on the budget to request the AT&T sponsored golf tournament remain in Irving.

   There is one way to have your budget items considered in a more favorable light.  Send an e-mail to the mayor, each council member and city manager detailing what your major concern with the 2016-17 budget might be.  But don’t stop there!

   When the evening for public input on the budget occurs, be sure to go to the council chamber and ask if/why the information submitted to them is/is not included in the budget.  This will allow the council members to know you are concerned, expect a response, and also require a legitimate answer, without spin, to your request.

   Just remember:  This is your money being collected and spent and you have every right and obligation to ensure it is being done wisely and with transparent fiscal responsibility.

…………………………….Mark Holbrook