Pelican Bay candidates split over whether to spend or save

Apr 28, 2013 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Star-Telegram.com

Seven candidates vying for council seats in this tiny city are divided into two camps -- those who favor slashing expenses, and those who want to spend money on improvements to lure developers to the area In all, three of Pelican Bay's five council seats are up for grabs in the May 11 election -- and early voting begins today.

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#1
May 17, 2013
 
By Gordon Dickson

gdickson@star-telegram.com

PELICAN BAY - Seven candidates vying for council seats in this tiny city are divided into two camps -- those who favor slashing expenses, and those who want to spend money on improvements to lure developers to the area

In all, three of Pelican Bay's five council seats are up for grabs in the May 11 election -- and early voting begins today. Council members serve two-year, unpaid terms.

The city of about 1,547 occupies less than a square mile near the western shore of Eagle Mountain Lake, in northwest Tarrant County. It is served by the Azle school district, and affords its residents a rural-style escape from the big-city problems of places such as Fort Worth, whose downtown is 25 miles away.

But being isolated from the problems of a big city also means being isolated from its benefits. Pelican Bay has very little commercial activity, so much of the city's roughly $450,000 in annual expenditures has to be covered by property taxes on the area's mostly modest homes. Homeowners in Pelican Bay pay a tax rate of 89.8 cents per $100 valuation -- one of the highest in North Texas.

Earlier this year, City Council members were told by an accountant that their general fund, which covers day-to-day expenditures, was nearly empty -- with a balance of only about $50,000. The budget crunch has led to accusations of mismanagement and hidden agendas among the mayor and council members, and created an atmosphere that many officials agree has become hostile.

One council member running for re-election was even arrested in March for driving without a license in what she described as a politically motivated traffic stop after she raised questions about financial mismanagement during a particularly testy budget meeting.

A few weeks later, city officials were told that the city's fund balance was actually higher -- the most recent estimate is $85,000. But nonetheless, the financial crunch has motivated some council members and their supporters to call for massive cuts in city spending.

Place 3

Among them is Place 3 incumbent Bill Morley, 60, a retiree. He said city employees in the past spent recklessly because "there was no one really checking on it."

"Everybody thought they'd just buy something when they needed it," he said. "We're still sitting at $85,000 or so [fund balance], but granted we're not in tax season so we're not going to have a lot of money coming in. We've really got to be careful here on in."

Morley is being challenged for Place 3 by Sabra Swaim, 48, a graduate of Brewer High School in White Settlement who now works as a criminal investigator in adjacent Parker County.

Swaim favors cracking down on code enforcement at some of the area's unkempt homes, and spending the money necessary to make Pelican Bay an attractive place for home developers.

"With a little work somebody could get development going, and make it into a nice community," she said. But, she added: "We've got people on the council who have properties and are landlords. They don't want to see code enforcement. Everybody has an agenda."
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#2
May 17, 2013
 
By Gordon Dickson

gdickson@star-telegram.com

PELICAN BAY - Seven candidates vying for council seats in this tiny city are divided into two camps -- those who favor slashing expenses, and those who want to spend money on improvements to lure developers to the area

In all, three of Pelican Bay's five council seats are up for grabs in the May 11 election -- and early voting begins today. Council members serve two-year, unpaid terms.

The city of about 1,547 occupies less than a square mile near the western shore of Eagle Mountain Lake, in northwest Tarrant County. It is served by the Azle school district, and affords its residents a rural-style escape from the big-city problems of places such as Fort Worth, whose downtown is 25 miles away.

But being isolated from the problems of a big city also means being isolated from its benefits. Pelican Bay has very little commercial activity, so much of the city's roughly $450,000 in annual expenditures has to be covered by property taxes on the area's mostly modest homes. Homeowners in Pelican Bay pay a tax rate of 89.8 cents per $100 valuation -- one of the highest in North Texas.

Earlier this year, City Council members were told by an accountant that their general fund, which covers day-to-day expenditures, was nearly empty -- with a balance of only about $50,000. The budget crunch has led to accusations of mismanagement and hidden agendas among the mayor and council members, and created an atmosphere that many officials agree has become hostile.

One council member running for re-election was even arrested in March for driving without a license in what she described as a politically motivated traffic stop after she raised questions about financial mismanagement during a particularly testy budget meeting.

A few weeks later, city officials were told that the city's fund balance was actually higher -- the most recent estimate is $85,000. But nonetheless, the financial crunch has motivated some council members and their supporters to call for massive cuts in city spending.

Place 3

Among them is Place 3 incumbent Bill Morley, 60, a retiree. He said city employees in the past spent recklessly because "there was no one really checking on it."

"Everybody thought they'd just buy something when they needed it," he said. "We're still sitting at $85,000 or so [fund balance], but granted we're not in tax season so we're not going to have a lot of money coming in. We've really got to be careful here on in."

Morley is being challenged for Place 3 by Sabra Swaim, 48, a graduate of Brewer High School in White Settlement who now works as a criminal investigator in adjacent Parker County.

Swaim favors cracking down on code enforcement at some of the area's unkempt homes, and spending the money necessary to make Pelican Bay an attractive place for home developers.

"With a little work somebody could get development going, and make it into a nice community," she said. But, she added: "We've got people on the council who have properties and are landlords. They don't want to see code enforcement. Everybody has an agenda."

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/04/28/48096...
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#4
May 17, 2013
 
Sorry about the repost.
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#5
May 17, 2013
 
No need to be sorry, but why so late posting it? The election has been over for almost a week. If the pull up and read the complete story it might help Tish.
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#6
May 17, 2013
 
These automatic "roboblogger" links to news articles get removed after about a month if it's on the Star Telegram. I have been frustrated before trying to read something and find out the link to the article is long dead.

So since I just saw this news bit and hadn't read it before, I thought it should be posted before it disappears, since there is a tie for seat 4.

And I don't see how this will really help Tish since she has already been campaigning with Robin. So a vote for Tish is a vote for Robin.
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#7
May 20, 2013
 
Well Robin DID GET ELECTED.

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