Letters to the Editor

Posted

Charter concerns versus city infrastructure, citizen needs

Dear Editor,

In response to the article “Council to look into changing city charter”: I agree that the charter needs to be updated and revised; however, I question the motives behind the proposed changes. The city manager was hired under the current charter; his contract stated a “necessary” move was to take place within a six-month period. When the city manager failed to move his residence to Sealy, not only did he violate his contract, he violated the charter. Now, several members of the city council want to change the residency requirements of the charter. This is what I disagree with. Citizens of the community establish rules and regulations for the good of the public. When a violation occurs, the rules are not modified to accommodate the offender – the offender is penalized. In a business environment, when an employee violates a contract, they are terminated for breach of contract – companies cannot afford the liability incurred by an employee who does not adhere to the basic terms of employment. Both parties sign a contract agreeing to the terms and conditions. Therefore, as a taxpayer in this community, I do not agree with the motives behind this pending charter revision. However, as a member of the city council, I am a minority.

Council also made contractual revisions with regard to use of the city vehicle. Numerous complaints, from citizens, attested to the city manager driving the vehicle, for personal use, after business hours. In September, Council voted to give the city manager an auto allowance plus mileage for each business mile driven outside Austin County. I did not agree with this revision; however, I voted for it. Oct. 10, I was called to New Mexico to tend to a family emergency. I received a copy of the manager’s current revised contract at 4:50 p.m. that afternoon. On Oct. 11, council voted to approve the revised contract confirming the raise, extending the terms of relocation to Sealy until June 2017, and offering moving expenses up to $5,000. Given the opportunity, I would not vote for this contract.

As a taxpayer, I want my dollar spent wisely. I did not vote in favor of the 2016-2017 budget; I felt it was incomplete. Many questions were unanswered. I also objected to $11,000 budgeted to “build employee morale.” There are viable methods used to build morale other than using taxpayer dollars for catered dinners. The remodel of the public works building is incomplete. The intersection at Moody and Front streets needs repair. On Silliman Street and Frydek Road, potholes are developing due to the increase in traffic. The culverts on Front Street, the YMCA, and the Wastewater Treatment Plant have yet to be completed.

It troubles me to witness this downhill spiral; yet, my concerns fall on deaf ears. I am in office for the citizens of this community, to uphold the laws of the State of Texas, and serve to the best of my abilities. I take this oath seriously. Please voice your opinion.

Janice Whitehead

Clarifying The Sealy News

I would like to clarify statements that have been published in three issues of The Sealy News.

The Sept. 22, 2016 article, "Council approves budget", incorrectly stated that "Sealy City Council approved its 2016-17 budget that includes a tax rate increase of eight percent for homes in the city limits." The tax rate that I voted for and passed for the City of Sealy for the upcoming year is .43737. The current tax rate is .4500, so the tax rate has been decreased.

The Sept. 29, 2016 article, "City enters into agreement for pipeline relocation", states that the cost for moving the gas pipeline for the frontage road currently being constructed is estimated at $462,692.10. I think it's important that the taxpayers know that half of that cost will be paid by Town Park Center, in accordance with the Road Improvement Agreement the city has with Town Park Center.

In the Oct. 13, 2016 article, "City officials voice concerns over I-10 construction plans", the article addresses my statements made in regards to the project. I stated at the TxDOT meeting that we are requesting that the current frontage road being built be extended from Rexville Road to FM 3538, between the high school and the interstate, in the plans for widening I-10. The safety concerns I was referring to when I spoke at the meeting are along Kloecker Road, once the current frontage road is completed. Adding a frontage road from Rexville Road to FM 3538, will help prevent frontage road traffic going onto Kloecker Road, which the high school is located on as well as residential homes.

If anyone has questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at jsullivan@ci.sealy.tx.us. Thank you.

Jennifer Sullivan

Sealy City Council Place 4

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