Hutto discussion continued Aug. 30

30 Aug

Viewpoint from Jason Wirth, former city council member.

Well you know me. I am always happy to give my two cents worth. I know many who read this will believe I am negative in my thinking, but I say these things to try to help and to offer my opinions so we can find solutions. I think we have major problems in many areas and it starts with the City Government in general and basically works its way downhill. It has infected almost every Board, Commission, program we have including to but not limited to the Chamber, EDC, Planning and Zoning. Name me one board that doesn’t have a council person on it? Why? I think we all know the answer to that question. It’s to keep eyes and ears on everything. How’s a board or commission to do its job if they can’t operate in the capacity that it was to set up for? Why not just disband the boards and commissions and let the Council handle everything because that’s what’s really what’s going on already?

Solutions to fix this problem? Hmmm?  I think when your City Government has the stronghold that it has on the community and is virtually making all the decisions with no push or pull from the citizens then things can get one sided. It’s basically just short of having an Anarchist type of leadership. One person leads and all follow. And with no change in leadership in sight especially with them increasing the term limits I would suspect that nothing will ever get solved and new ideas and solutions that are not in compliance with the cities way of thinking are shot down with little or no discussion. Why? It’s simple math. The council is comprised of handpicked individuals that are basically yes people for the City Government. Getting existing Council members and New Candidates that have the same ideas as the existing Council has become a team effort by those that are already in office to keep the votes on their side. They want to keep a unified front with no dissention among Council members. Step out of line and you’re gone. They will push a candidate that agrees with their way of thinking and make it a personal vendetta to get rid of the one that disagrees with their viewpoints. Show me the voting record for the last couple of years and I will show you all one sided votes. All “Yays” and very few “Nays”, very little discussion. Unified to say the least.

Why you ask?

First of all too many deals are getting done behind closed doors. The City Government transparency is nonexistent in my opinion. They have a City Website that is somewhat informative, but the only things that are getting any attention at all are Government Awards that shine light only on the City Government and their own personal accomplishments. It’s a bit of a self marketing scheme if you want to know the honest truth. What are the community accomplishments when you really take a better look? Do we have award winning streets and sidewalks? Award winning businesses? Award winning parks? High Business Retention? Lowest Taxes?  Our city government by in large spends too much time applying for awards and not enough time front and center with the business leaders and citizen’s figuring out what direction to take so that we all prosper and not just the government. That’s right…city staff fills out applications for the awards we are winning. Organizations aren’t just showing up here in Hutto handing out awards for doing a good job.  We are out chasing them, asking for them.

Secondly don’t they care if a business fails here? I have heard from business leaders and owners for years that they have never even seen a councilmember or city staff in their store. How would they know how a business is doing if you don’t ever check in with them?

The excuse is that it’s the Chamber’s job or the EDC’s job to bring business to the city and get out there to find us new commerce. The EDC hasn’t really done much with the exception of the TSTC/Temple College deal. Where’s any new business there?  It will probably be at least a couple of years before we see results and we need help now!  How come the City doesn’t become unified to bring business to town or keep existing business here like it did bringing the college here? I would much rather see manufacturing jobs or green businesses coming to town to help offset the tax base. Taxes are high and are just going to get higher. A school is virtually a tax exempt entity that may help create some sales tax and about 40 jobs, but little else. It will not be dragging us out of this hole that we created by letting all these houses to be built with no amenities to help sustain them. The EDC hasn’t brought one new manufacturing business to town in three years and they spend about 400k a year in operations over there just to pay for a building and salaries. What would 400k put back into local business do? How much money did the EDC give to businesses last year? I’m sure a great deal could be accomplished giving 400k to the local business community. In my opinion the city is just as bad. They spend over 4 million a year in payroll and leave little money on the table for new programs. Retail business is on the decline and no one is bringing new business to town and the money that is coming in is being spent to keep city government floating. That spells a recipe for disaster if you ask me. The City is taking and nothing is being given back to the local economy. I beg someone to show me how and where it’s being given back besides basic services that they are hired to supply us. Who in their right mind would agree we need a new city hall with a 35 million dollar price tag? Why in the world would you move forward with a development that is only going to build the government and suck more money from the economy? It’s not giving back …if it is show me how.

Anyway, I could stand on my soap box here forever and a day and go on and on. Until someone knocks these guys off the mountain nothing is going to change. Like I said in my post for the Police Chief support page….you’re either on the inside or you’re on the outside If you don’t see things their way then they just disregard your input and keep moving forward. They don’t want the Chamber, EDC, any Board, Committee, or anyone else to have the upper hand or the solutions, so they keep everyone in the dark as much as possible and keep pushing their own resume building agendas that make them look good and do everything they can to protect those seats in which they have been elected to sit in.

I really think there is no immediate solution to fixing this problem without some bashing and finger pointing. A fight in the front yard isn’t always a bad thing. At least you get a good look at what your fighting and what you’re up against. To me the only way to fix this is at the polls. To elect those who aren’t afraid to question the system and are business minded? Those who can come up with a plan to give back. Someone that can speak their mind and aren’t afraid of a little negative backlash. Disagreements sometimes have the solution hidden in them.  Like I have said before the only thing that is growing in this town is the Government and the Government doesn’t want that to change. And until we fix that problem then the discussion is falling on deaf ears up at there at good ole City Hall. They don’t have to listen to you…they have the deciding votes to do what they want, when they want, and however they want. I agree with Michael’s [Smith] statements with a few exceptions. [see comment posted August 8] My view is election time is when people are lazy. They have been voting based on a popularity contest and who someone has told them to vote for, not for the right reasons. In many cases they don’t actually know who or what they are voting for.

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One Response to “Hutto discussion continued Aug. 30”

  1. Anonymous 30/08/2011 at 10:32 pm #

    Extended term limits, behind closed door deals and ultra-control? Seriously?

    Hutto City government is starting to look, sound, feel and smell suspiciously like the current mess we have in Washington. Look where that has gotten us.

    Effective voter education is the answer on every level. People who blindly vote for who they were told to or based on popularity are just as lazy and irresponsible as those who voted for Obama simply because he was black. This is not a racist statement. Voting for a person because of their skin color is just as ignorant and stupid as voting against them for the same reason.

    When will we grow up past high school politics and realize the consequences of our own actions? This is not the student council here. This is the real world, and whether on the city, state of federal level, EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

    So get educated, people! Wake up and pay attention! Find out what the candidates stand for and vote accordingly. And once they are elected, hold them accountable! What is right is not always popular – and what is popular is not always right.

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