I am excited to be serving as your City Council representative. From the volume of calls and letters, I can tell we will be busy working to improve the quality of life in our district. Many of you have legitimate needs, and I look forward to helping you get them resolved.

Our office takes care of numerous problems each day. My assistant, Marsha Cranford, and I attempt to process a “service request” the same day we receive a complaint.

The requests are forwarded to the City staff assigned to address such problems. A report is generated weekly to show all the outstanding service requests.

Ideally, we should know which requests have not been answered. However, please let me know when the City has not taken action on a problem. In non-emergency situations, give it two weeks and then call me at 670-4069.

Changing the Rules

The most controversial issue addressed by the new Council thus far was a proposal by Mayor Ron Kirk to change a section of the Council rules, which was adopted by a majority of the Council.

Under the old rules, any Council member could ask than an item be placed on the voting agenda for consideration by the Council. The mayor was required to put the item on the agenda within four weeks. An alternative procedure allowed three Council members to sign a request, and the mayor was required to place it on the agenda for a vote at the next meeting.

The new rules require the recommendation of five members to place an item on the voting agenda. The mayor is then required to place the item on the first voting agenda scheduled at least 30 days after the request.

The Council members opposing the change believed it increased the mayor’s power beyond the limits specified in the City charter. They also felt they would be losing part of their personal privilege as Council members.

The City Attorney, however, said that under the City’s home rule powers, the Council has the right to adopt the change.

I believe the Council reached the right conclusion. If a Council member is unable to garner the support of four other members to place an item on the voting agenda, chances are slim that the representative can convince a majority to pass the item.

In the past, there were instances where representatives used the voting agenda as a forum for personal issues. I do not believe a Council meeting should be a forum for such issues, especially considering our lengthy agendas.

It’s Budget Time

This month, we begin the budget debate. The preliminary estimates are that next year’s property tax revenues will be up by 0.99 percent.

Based upon the preliminary budget, I am optimistic that we can provide you better services with no tax increase or hidden fees. The amount of bond money to be dispersed this year is not clear yet, but I assure you that my priorities will be White Rock Lake, potholes and drainage problems.

If you have issues or ideas that you want me to consider during budget deliberation, please let me know.

I have scheduled budget town hall meetings Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. at the Casa View Library and Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Harry Stone Recreation Center.

Finally, for those of you with some time and interest in helping the City, there are many positions on boards and commissions that need to be filled. If you are interested, please call me, and I will mail you a list of available positions.

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