Letters to the editor

Disagreements with column about city council

Posted

Dear Editor,

Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, Joe. Please consider:

  1. Lloyd Merrell and Robert Worley handed out more than $300,000 in COVID-19 assistance funds to Sealy businesses, using city money. They relied on city money to administer the grants, and planned to replace it when federal funds came in. No one approved this action before it took place. Only Merrell and Worley screened and decided on the recipients. To date, one check from the federal government for one-fourth of this amount has come back to City of Sealy coffers. Speculation that no additional federal funds are forthcoming is rampant. Could this also be why established business owners who were recently awarded grants to spruce up their establishments are having these grants pulled and being told there is no money for the grants, and there are bleak prospects for future help?
  2. The balanced budget that Councilwoman Dee Ann Lerma acknowledged in a recent council meeting is also confusing. Was this “balanced” budget created using the additional federal funds Merrell and Worley were counting on to replenish the city money? 
  3. Council members were forced to approve the COVID-19 allocations after the checks were mailed out. If they voted against the action, then they were effectively “voting against the federal reimbursement.” They had to approve it, or lose the funds, according to the city attorney.
  4. A system of checks and balances is very important. When public funds are being spent, oversight must be maintained. Sealy needs this oversight now more than ever, with this growth. Calling this overseeing “micromanagement” is preposterous.
  5. A spouse of a city administrator and relatives of a council member applied for, and were granted, COVID-19/aka City of Sealy grants. A few of these grants were later returned/refused. The concern is the grants were accepted and approved.
  6. I appreciate the research councilmembers Sullivan and Koy have contributed to recent meetings. They are not rubber stamping every whim presented. They are representing Sealy, rather than accepting everything at face value.
  7. We have a capable, informed city council member who is prepared to take on the temporary responsibilities of mayor. She has current city interests and concerns because she lives here. Janice Whitehead is continuing to vote and comment at meetings. If she is going to run the meetings, she should not be voting ... but then, there is another law that the city attorney found that justifies this action ... why does he look so hard for ways to circumvent established plans? 
  8. City employees should not be visiting with and endorsing their choice for mayor during working hours. 
  9. The Allens Creek Project was adopted 10 years ago. Nothing was done under the administration that approved the plan. Now, we were told the project will be put on the back burner again … and we face flooding more than ever.

Nothing has been done to date to enlarge or deepen the creek. Lots of manpower, pictures and old boys slapping each other on the back for “a job well done”... don’t buy the smoke and mirrors, folks. Don’t swallow the Kool-Aid.

  1. Meetings will last longer because more is going on, Joe. To not ask questions is to allow chaos to ensue. Sealy is growing so quickly. The time to question actions is now. Look at the mess on Schmidt Street. No one asked questions until concerned homeowners and taxpayers came forward. Who mandates that 34 businesses a year have to be accommodated? 

Diane Wuthrich

Sealy

Column was missing some points

This article left out that council voted to hire two new police officers, one utility worker for streets and one utility worker for public works. As I stated in the meeting, if the city starts accruing debt because city council voted to allow $881,000 in personnel and we can’t afford it, who is ultimately responsible for that? The city staff or city council? We are in unknown times with the pandemic. Our city revenues have taken a hit. People can’t afford their utilities, our hotel/motel taxes have taken a hit and the economy isn’t in the best of shape. This isn’t called micromanaging. This is called being conservative and doing what’s best for our city’s finances. The money for the other six positions will stay in the budget and can be used to fund new personnel at any point throughout this budget year.

Chris Noack

Sealy City Council Place 2

(Reprinted comment from Facebook)

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