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Updates and comments from October Kennedale City Council Meeting

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The following are comments from visitors and citizens during the October 16, 2018 regular meeting of Kennedale City Council along with updates from Council and staff. These are from the ?draft? minutes of that meeting. The approved minutes with any changes will be made available at a later date. {{more: continue …}}
Visitors/Citizens Forum Kennedale City Council Oct 16 …
Sarah Bishop Johnson Cotton, resident, stated that she urged the Council to consider those who cannot afford higher water and tax rates.?
  • Councilmember Gilley stated that the City of Mansfield tax rate is lower than that of the City of Kennedale.
  • Greg Adams, resident, stated that he urged those Councilmembers who received campaign donations from Ron Sturgeon to recuse themselves from the vote on the agenda item related to his place of business.
  • ?Mayor Johnson stated that no law required those Councilmembers to recuse themselves from that vote.

Steve Higginbotham, resident, stated his criticism of the Council for not passing the tax rate necessary to support the adopted budget and denying the bond issuance.

Linda Graddy, announced the Kennedale Community Theater?s production of ?Closed for the Holidays? on December 14 and 15 at the Kennedale High School auditorium.
Andrew Schaffer, resident, Arlington, stated that he is currently building a home in Kennedale and criticized the Council?s decision to lower taxes and drawdown the reserves.
Jeff Nevarez, resident, thanked those who made the Concert in the Park a success, announced the Rotary Club Chili Cook Off, and stated his criticism of the Council for not passing the tax rate necessary to support the adopted budget and denying the bond issuance.
  • Councilmember Gilley stated that the difference between adopting the effective vs. the proposed tax rate is roughly $288,000 in revenue.?
  • Mayor Johnson stated that the increase in expenditures must also be accounted for.?
  • Jeff Nevarez, resident, responded with his view ? as a resident and Parks Board member ? of the importance of sidewalks, new and expanded parks, and connecting to the regional linear trail system; and his frustration that a reduction of revenues has delayed those.
Michael Chandler, resident, stated his criticism of the depletion of the reserve funds, specifically noting that it left the City less able to respond to potential emergencies.?
  • Councilmember Gilley stated that emergencies are typically addressed via Certificates of Obligation or Tax Notes.
  • City Attorney Wayne Olsen urged the Council to exercise discretion in their responses, noting that the purpose of the Visitor/Citizens Forum was for residents to bring issues to Council?s attention, and that while Council could respond with factual information, that this was not a forum for open debate of issues.?
  • Councilmember Joplin stated that the reserves were healthier now than they have been in five years; and that she could provide a chart showing that they would remain above the required minimum fund balance.
  • In response to Mayor Johnson?s question, Finance Director Brady Olson stated that, under the Adopted Budget and Tax Rate, no major fund was projected to end FY18-19 above the 18% minimum fund balance.
Nadia Guerra, resident, stated that in light of recent Council decisions regarding the budget, funding capital projects, and future development, she has concerns with members? level of understanding and willingness to take responsibility; and stated her criticism of the time and money expended on a denied issuance of Certificate of Obligation debt.

Ann Fontenot, resident, did not speak but submitted a written statement of her criticism of the Council?s recent decision against funding the equipment necessary to live-stream meetings; and her perception of the conflict of interest created by members of the Council having accepted campaign donations from local businesses that the Council and Advisory Boards are now considering action regarding.

Caleb Stafford, resident, did not speak but submitted a written statement his criticism of the Council for not passing the tax rate necessary to support the adopted budget and denying the bond issuance.
Council/Staff Reports/Announcements Oct 16 …
Rockie Gilley, PLACE 1, announced that he had been researching bonds and speaking with those in leadership roles at other cities.
Chris Pugh, PLACE 2, announced that he had attended a breakfast for City staff hosted by a neighborhood association and spoke with residents regarding Council?s decisions regarding the budget.

Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Lee, PLACE 3, thanked the Parks Board for hosting the Concert in the Park.

Linda Rhodes,?PLACE 4, announced that she attended a P&Z training hosted by the City of Forest Hill along with Councilmember Joplin and several members of the P&Z and BOA Boards; that the Public Safety Open House was scheduled for Saturday, October 20; and expressed her appreciation for first responders, noting that the American Public Works Association now recognized public works employees as first responders.
Jan Joplin, PLACE 5, announced that she attended the P&Z, EDC, Parks Board, and Comprehensive Plan meetings, the Family Place presentation at the Library, the Senior Citizen Center Open House, the P&Z training at Forest Hill, and Concert in the Park; she added that Public Safety Open House and Trunk-or-Treat were scheduled for October 20; acknowledged Breast Cancer Awareness Month; and noted the recent decrease residents should have seen on their utility bills.

Mayor Brian Johnson announced that he attended a SETT meeting regarding VIA, the Mansfield Performing Arts Center, and road expansion; attended a TRTC meeting regarding drone regulation; he then acknowledged Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month; and congratulated the Parks Board on Concert in the Park.

City Manager George Campbell announced the appointment of James Brown as Fire Chief.

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