Ousted EIC Member James Wilson Speaks Out

In a December 26 article in the Hill Country Community Journal, former EIC member James Wilson has some strong words for City Council member George Baroody and Mayor Bonnie White.

Wilson went on to say: “Bonnie White’s goal is to have complete power and control. She wants to dismantle all of the independent boards and have every one answer to her. This is a very dangerous situation and the voters best beware.”

White told the newspaper that she would have preferred to hold the termination in a closed executive session, out of public view.

But Wilson is not going away! “I may not be on EIC anymore, but I’m not going away,” Wilson said. “I have always served this community and I will continue to do so.”

Read the entire article via the link below.

http://www.hccommunityjournal.com/article_1a3c8f50-ea78-11e7-99a0-63c5dbb78c49.html

Financial Outlook 2017

This week’s video is an in-depth look at the city’s finances, including revenues, expenses, assets, and debt. Have you ever wondered how the city brings in revenue? How much it costs to provide police and fire protection? Or water and sewer services? How much debt does the city actually have? This is the video for you. We explore the city’s finances without insider jargon.

In addition to the video, some of our members have also authored a white paper with additional information and discussion about finances. See the document below the video. This is the first in a series of white papers that will provide in-depth discussion and facts about the issues facing our community.

 

Financial Review City of Kerrville 2017 by Aaron Yates on Scribd

Turmoil on EIC

The city council voted last week to terminate a volunteer EIC board member for daring to disagree with the council majority. Mr. Wilson, along with a majority of EIC members, regularly voted against Mr. Baroody’s vote. Baroody holds a place on EIC as well as Place 2 of City Council, having run unopposed in 2017. According to Baroody, James Wilson threatened conflict with council. However, Mr. Wilson said repeatedly that he “anticipates” conflict — not a threat.

Merriam-Webster defines “anticipate” to mean: “to give advance thought, discussion, or treatment to” a matter. Mr. Wilson certainly had reason to suspect a future conflict with council, which, at the time, was busy attempting to terminate the contract with City Attorney Mike Hayes.

Learn more by viewing our most recent video.

City Council Voting Records

Do you remember how the votes went down this year? All 115 of them since May? Don’t worry, you don’t have to. We have recorded the votes from each council member going back to the inauguration of the newest council members in May 2017. This page will be updated as often as possible.

City Council Recap for December 12, 2017

The Kerrville City Council held a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday evening, December 12, 2017, in council chambers at Kerrville City Hall. The meeting was quite eventful, yet at least one action was quite concerning. Here is a brief recap of the events.

Debt Refinancing

The City refinanced over $17 million of General Obligation and Revenue Bonds last week. The purpose of the refinancing was to restructure the current debt service to enable financing of two major infrastructure projects: the Legion sewer lift station and the water system enhancement to bring the TTHM levels within mandated limits.

This action coupled with the restructuring of the debt to KPUB, which allows the funding of these upgrades within the Council guidelines that stipulate no more that 35% of water & sewer revenues can be used for debt service. Specifics of the refinancing are available online. Here are the critical elements of the refinancing:

  • Gross savings by refinancing the $17.2 M is $1.17 M with a net present value savings of $1.1 M
  • The average coupon interest rate is 2.472 %.
  • The City was able to retain a high AA rating and the rating agency, Standard and Poor’s, offered exceptionally positive words regarding the current financial state of the city as well as its management of financial matters.
  • S&P offered comments such as, “Very strong management with strong financial policies and practices..”, “ Strong debt and contingent liability position…” This is counter to some who claim that the City’s finances are reckless and in a very onerous position. The professionals speak highly of Kerrville history of financial management!

O’Reilly Auto Parts CUP Denied

O’Reilly Auto Parts Corporation had requested a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for an acre of land bordering the Guadalupe River and adjacent to Starbucks on Junction Highway. The Planning & Zoning Commission had previously approved their request, with some additional stipulations added.

Discussions during the council meeting centered on the proposed size of the building — over 7,000 square feet — and the impact upon the river corridor. Speakers encouraged the Council to deny the request because of the negative impact upon the river views as well as overall vision for the future of the river front. After considerable discussion, the council voted 5-0 to deny the request. According to O’Reilly’s representatives, it’s unlikely they will proceed with any construction project on this site, since they’d now be limited to only 3,000 square feet.

Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Fees Reduced

The Council voted 5-0 to correct an anomaly in the Alcoholic Beverages Ordinance which imposed a $1,500 licensing fee upon brewing sites, such as Pint & Plow, as compared to the licensing fee of a restaurant of only $150. A quick agreement was obtained to reduce brewpubs fees to $150.

Termination of EIC Member James Wilson

There were two agenda items related to the Economic Improvement Corporation (EIC). First, the EIC requested the council increase their budget by $83,300 to provide potential funding for outside legal services. After a bit of wrangling, the council voted 5-0 to authorize the budget modifications.

Emotions ran hot on the next EIC item regarding the intention to essentially fire a volunteer EIC Board member, Mr. Jim Wilson. George Baroody was the lead Council member in proposing that Mr. Wilson’s term be terminated immediately. In Mr. Baroody’s words , “Mr. Wilson has made comments which disparage the Kerrville City Council!”

Mr. Ferguson questioned the suggestion and thought removing Wilson would be inappropriate. Mrs. Summerlin had a significantly different view from Baroody’s, as well. She insisted that no threats to sue had been made, nor were any comments made by Mr. Wilson which warranted removal, especially mid-term with his term up for renewal in June 2018.

Emotions ran hot as the termination was approved. Mrs. Summerlin called the move undemocratic and a scary precedent. Why would anyone volunteer to serve on the city commissions or boards if their service is contingent upon their complete agreement with the Council majority, asked Summerlin.

Baroody continually asserted that this situation was different and created an unhealthy operating condition on the EIC Board. After a series of exchanges among Baroody, White and Summerlin, the vote to remove Wilson was 3-2, with White, Baroody, and Voelkel in favor, and Summerlin and Ferguson opposed. Applications will be accepted for candidates wishing to fill the remainder of the term held by Wilson.

In the aftermath of this action, another EIC member resigned in protest. Mr. Paul Stafford submitted his resignation on Thursday, adding his name to the list of EIC members who no longer serve our community because of the actions of this council. Delayne Sigerman was removed in May 2017, and now James Wilson and Paul Stafford have also vacated their chairs after serving the city with distinction in these volunteer posts.

Upcoming City Council Meeting on Tuesday, December 12

The Kerrville City Council will hold a regular meeting at 6 PM on Tuesday night, and a few agenda items have piqued our interest.

CUP for O’Reily Auto Parts on the River

The council will hold a public hearing and consider a resolution allowing for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for about an acre of land next to Starbucks. The owners want to build a new O’Reily’s auto parts store — their second location in Kerrville.

Kerrville has often been criticized for squandering opportunities along its greatest asset — the Guadalupe River. Is granting a CUP for an auto parts store along the river a good idea for Kerrville? The council will wrestle with that decision on Tuesday night.

EIC Board Appointments

The agenda item states: “Review and possible action concerning the Economic Improvement Corporation board appointments.” This caught our eye because there are no members that are nearing the end of their term, as far as we know. Current EIC members include:

  • Kenneth Early, President
  • Sheri Patillo, Vice President
  • George Baroody, Council Place 2
  • Gary Cooper
  • James Wilson
  • Robert Naman

This council appointed Gary Cooper and Robert Naman back in May of 2017. Council and the EIC have faced off on several issues this year, including the budget for the KEDC and a discussion about the legal representation of the EIC during a conflict with the council.

Council may adjourn into executive session to discuss these matters, as the agenda foreshadows.

Other Board Appointments

Council will also consider appointments to the Food Service Advisory Board and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

City Manager Performance Review

Also in executive session, the council will conduct a performance review of City Manager Mark McDaniel.

All of these matters and more will be on the agenda for this Tuesday night. A copy of the agenda is available at the following link:

http://kerrvilletx.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2837