Monday, July 20, 2009

Tonight's Meeting

Abe got in a minor accident today so I won't be at the work session tonight. Text or e-mail me if anything interesting happens though!


  1. OMG it was so amazing, I can't believe you missed it it was... well, I can't describe it, it was beyond words...

    Okay, it was a bunch of people talking about debits and credits on an acounting ledger for four and a half hours. Ian pretty much covered it all, except to say that if the economy still sucks in February of next year they probably won't have a 2010 Bond election, which means it will be even longer before Dumont gets fixed.

    Oh, and during the break Amir convinced me that his senior tax freeze might actually be a good thing after all.

  2. Sherri, a senior tax freeze would ruin this city. We have the largest percentage of over 65 residents of any city around - 25% and growing.

    A senior tax freeze only shifts the tax burden to the under 65 crowd. And, what Omar probably doesn't tell you is that once it is in place, it is PERMENANT.

    OK - let's look at this objectively.

    *Why should city property taxes be frozen for seniors? If we do that, then why don't we just freeze them for everyone? The city can't do this because services are expensive and have to be funded by someone. Why shouldn't seniors have to pay like everyone else?

    *Unlike the school distict where they may no longer have children in the schools, don't seniors still use city services? Some would argue that seniors actually use MORE city services.

    *Don't they use the senior citizen center?

    *Don't they already receive a $55,000 property tax exemption? This amounts comes right off the top of the appraised amount, helping those seniors who need it the most.

    *Don't they receive a discount on their water bill?

    *Aren't they protected from losing their homes if they are unable to pay their property taxes?

    The answer to all these questions is YES.

    Sherri, yes, he's a "charmer", but don't be fooled by this carpetbagger Omar. He pandered to seniors during the most recent city council campaign by pledging to get their taxes frozen, and he know's he is in deep do-do if he can't deliver. This guy is bad news.

  3. Here's the thing that makes it feasable. Seniors would no longer get that $55,000 tax exemption. The folks who are over 65 now would be grandfathered on that, but anyone who turned 65 after the freeze is put in place gets the freeze, but not the exemption. That makes the difference and should (with all the baby boomers about to turn 65) save the city money in the long run.

  4. Sherri, a question I've had (and asked) since the campaign is about the exemption going away. I'm not so sure they can give an exemption to some people but not others. In fact, most cities I'm aware of KEEP their senior exemption when a freeze goes into effect.

    Not saying it's a bad idea, not saying it's a good idea. But a freeze is something that needs to be considered very seriously -- it IS permanent.

  5. Sherri, your (and Omar's)logic is completely flawed. How would freezing anyone's taxes save the city money? Remembmer, once you freeze it, it is PERMENANT. At that point, in order to cover the increasing costs of providing basic city services, the city will, then, have to look to those under 65 to foot the bill.

    So, at that point, seniors get more and more city services subsidized to them at the cost of everyone else. That just isn't right.

    Also, with a $55,000 exemption, those seniors living in less expensive homes get the most benefit from it. They get little to no benefit from a freeze.

    As for those seniors living in more expensive homes, why should the city freeze their property tax anyway? One would think that a senior living a $500,000-1 million home would have the means to pay their property taxes.

    Sherri, don't fall for Omar's political pandering to our senior population. I am over 65 and I see right through this carpetbagger.

  6. Lets wait and see what numbers he and the city staff he's working with put on the table. I said 'might', which means I'm open to it if it makes fiscal sense. What I told him last night was, that we couldn't just look at the next 5 years, we had to see what this would do 20 years down the line and make a judgement based on that. If forcasts show that it works, I say go for it, if 20 years from now, we'd get more money if we continued with the exhemption instead of the freeze, then we should stay with that. It's all about the research.

  7. sherri, Omar can't have it both ways. He can't sell his plan to seniors by promising to limit their future tax liability and sell the same plan to the rest of Richardson by promising to take in just as much in taxes from seniors by eliminating their senior exemption.

  8. Barb, you rudeness and disrespect to Mr Omar are well noted by anyone who reads your posts. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to see and hear the completed work plan for a senior freeze in detail before rendering such a biased opinion? I have heard the Mr Omar has spent a significant amount of time meeting with staff to educate himself with the how the city operates so as to make informed decisions. Seems rather smart to me and notably unususal to other council members, past or present. Maybe the reason is that council members are not paid enough to do more than attend functions offering free meals and free tickets to events and whatever other meet and greet rah-rah socials are present. Anyone with any degree of common sense and takes the vinitiative to attend the work sessions realize that the real discussions and decisions are never created or made on Monday nights.
    And with respect to the permanent statement, a new resolution by the council can rescind anything. Mr Townsend has said so many times. The only thing that seems to be permanent at this time is just this. The citizens have no voice on the design of this community or how it is managed. We just get to live with it.

  9. Seniors already get the exemption. And if they planned ahead financially, they should own their residence. I don't see how they would not be able to foot their share of the taxes. If they did not plan ahead, why am I responsible for their folly?

    And if they cannot afford their current residence, perhaps it is time to downsize or take in tenants. Again, not my responsibility.

  10. Anonymous, you might want to get your facts straight. State law says that once you freeze senior taxes it is PERMENANT (i.e. no going back). As I have noted several times, a senior tax freeze shifts the tax burden to those under 65. So, yes, I am "biased" against this plan because it is bad for Richardson. Even though I could take advantage of it if it was implemented, I can't support it.

    As far as your comments on "citizens have no voice on the design of this community or how it is managed. We just get to live with it". What? In case you didn't recognize it, we just had a municipal election. Here, you had the opportunity to express your voice.

    As for Omar, no disrect is intended - it's just the way it is. If he has had to this much homework, then why did he even run for office? Or, better yet, why would anyone even vote for him? Shouldn't it be O.J.T.?

    To be fair, I suppose anyone who has only lived in a city one year before being elected to city coucil would have to ask these questions.

  11. Is barb a derivative of your name? Or is it a description of your typical message? =)

  12. FYI this is a different Anonymous:

    Perhaps he is doing his homework because he cares about the issue enough to not just approach it the same old way?

    From what I have heard it was his meetings with staff that helped re-shape the webcasting, online agenda, online minutes, and online support material issue. Just 1 yr ago "televising" was going to cost almost 300k up front and another 165k per yr. His meetings with staff helped a new proposal that saved our city over $240k upfront & over $150k per yr while delivering much more than the original proposal suggested.

    Based on my math, that "no good, renting carpet bagger puppet" has already saved more money for the COR than he would have paid in City property tax had he lived here for 20 years. He did that while helping pass an initiative in record time!

    If this is the type of creativity he brings to the table, I will be giving him a chance!

    Maybe Barb you can tell us why you really dislike this person who is new but working really hard to do good for our city!

  13. Anonymous 2, I find your comments amusing. Unless you are actually Omar - which you probably are - you have to be someone who was sitting in these meetings with him and city staff to have this kind of information. Hmmm.

    Even if you aren't either, and are simply listening to Omar's self promotion and boasting about himself, the figures that you have thrown out are ludicrous and unsupported at best. The only changes in "webcasting" invoved technology over the last two years. From what I understand, it wasn't some brilliant idea that Omar came up with.

    You ask why I have a problem with Omar. Your comments say it all. He supported all the initiatives above, but so did the rest of the council. Him trying to take credit for every good thing that this council does not serve him well. And, yes, I do have a problem with him only living here one year - in an apartment no less.

    Andy, the answer to your questions are 'yes' and 'yes'.

  14. Barb, The figures are from about 18 months ago when the council had them presented in a work session. The new figures are from the recent work session which were also presented to the new council. If you look at the two proposals (both were presented in the recent meeting) you could find all the proof you need. The numbers are accurate or very close. If you think "technology changed" that dramatically in the 18 months and nothing else was in play, then that helps expose your lack of knowledge or credibility. In case you are not aware, "technology" has allowed for free webcasting since near the birth of high speed internet access.

    I too hope he will move to a home soon, but I wonder if you are being totally honest about your true reason for such anger towards him? Just seems like an awful lot of venom over someone who appears to be working hard to do a good job.

  15. Anonymous 2, I was at that work session and council meeting and I saw that presentation. Yes Omar was working with city staff, but the real reason that the price dropped so dramatically is there's now a company that, for a fee, will control your cameras from an offsite location, allowing them to dramatically cut the cost. Before that was available, someone had to be in the council chambers managing those cameras while another person had to be somewhere else managing getting the live stream out onto the internet. If Omar hadn't done anything, Steve would have pushed the cameras through anyways.

    Barb, I used to think the same way you do now about Omar. The latest election got so heated, with so many people saying so many different things about all the candidates that I decided that the only way I was going to know how well each member of the council is doing managing this city was to start attending the meetings myself. What I've observed about Omar is always prepared (with one or two exceptions early on) and has always researched each item on the agenda. If it's a zoning issue he goes out and checks out the site. That's what council members are supposed to do and as far as I'm concered he's doing his job. I'd changed my mind about him before I'd actually spoken to him in person.

  16. Barb, you sting like barbed wire. Hard to see the validity in you comments

  17. Ouch, that hurt. You must have been talking to my husband!

  18. You know I passed over something in all this...

    Destiny, how's Abe? I hope it wasn't too bad an accident.

  19. Aw, thank Sherri for asking!

    He's actually fine. It was the car that got messed up. He hydroplaned over at Coit & Beltline the other day when it rained and jacked up one of his wheels. yeah, the rest of you are all jerks. :)