Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Councilman Vardeman's Incredible Patience

Just having passed St. Patrick's Day, there's another saint that comes to mind when I think of San Angelo City Councilman Don Vardeman.  It's Saint Monica, the patron saint of patience.  Consider how long Vardeman wanted council to examine the half cent sales tax:

October 1, 2013 - Council Vardeman said council had already talked about the half cent sales tax and he wanted to keep that on the forefront, along with stormwater as to what they can use it for, what they want to use it for, the bare minimum and what we're doing (with those funds currently). 

November 5, 2013 - Councilman Vardeman said he'd been asking for Council to look at our stormwater fees and half cent sales tax and how much is going where.

November 19, 2013 - Councilman Silvas raised Don's issues, half cent sales tax money and stormwater fee.  He wanted to make sure those were coming to council soon for discussion.  That same meeting Councilwoman Farmer asked that a COSADC report showing the various half cent tax projects from the 1999 ballot, the 2004 ballot, and the 2010 ballot.  The report showed the amount approved, the amount spent and the current project status.  She asked that this be generated quarterly for City Council as it had been done until February 21, 2012.

Five months after his initial request City Council had the half cent sales tax funds and projects on the agenda. 

March 6, 2014 -  Vardeman asked "Were there specific amounts listed here (on the various ballot projects).  Is that ironclad?  What is our status of those?  Have all those monies been spent, are they in process?  Did we borrow money to complete those and that's the debt you're discussing?"

Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Michael Dane replied, "Don, I'm not sure we've got the details on what exactly has and has not been started or completed, but as far as, you said something about ironclad, there was a difference in the viewpoint on this ballot, in that in past ballots estimated amounts were circulated.  We think the coliseum will be x amount, then the scope of the project changed and the amount of the project went up.  With this ballot, I was told it was written this way, so the project amounts were capped at the amount in the ballot and that half cent sales tax could be used up to that amount, but not beyond that amount."

Vardeman replied, "On Item E, River Improvements for $4 million.  Have we capped that?  Is it maxed out?  And I guess what I'm asking for is if we can have a status of each one of these.  If they're already completed, already maxed out, I'd like to know that.
Councilman Vardeman waited five months to not have his questions answered.  That's patience, not only a virtue, but a requirement for City Council members trying to get their questions answered from staff.

Update 3-30-14:  City Council minutes state "Councilmember Vardeman suggested staff prepare a report regarding the monies dedicated to the various projects and obtain the status of the various 4B projects."  I suggest the Secretary accumulate the number of times Vardeman has made this very request and put it in parenthesis. 

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