Tuesday 02 September 2014

Brookshire City Council: FM 359 No-bama Boulevard, at Least for Now

Brookshire will not be re-naming FM 359 North “Obama Boulevard,” at least for the time being.

Brookshire resident Eric Scott had asked that the proposal be placed on the council agenda to name the state highway in the northern part of the city for the 44th President of the U.S.

However, when the council got to the item on the agenda during last night’s meeting, Mayor Joey Vaughn said no action would be taken “because Mr. Scott could not be here tonight.”

Vaughn did not indicate when, or if, the proposal would be placed on a future agenda.

Prior to the meeting, a number of residents in the near-capacity council chambers wondered aloud why the cash-strapped city would be considering such an item at a time when it has not been able to pay its bills since April and has reportedly been struggling to meet payroll. One woman asked who would pay for the street and highway signs if the road were renamed.

“The city hasn’t been able to pay for gas for its police cars and fire trucks, hasn’t paid its insurance premiums and has a whole backlog of bills and the mayor thinks this foolishness is important,” the resident said. “It sounds to me like this guy Scott is just on some kind of ego trip with this. Does he plan on paying for the new street signs out of his pocket or does he expect the taxpayers to foot the bill to push his political views?”

Another resident pointed out Scott was a political supporter of Vaughn’s during the last municipal election, including driving Vaughn supporters to the polls to vote.

“Do you suppose if one of us asked the mayor to have a street renamed we’d have gotten the time of day out of him?” the man asked.

In other action, the council set a special workshop for Dec. 1 to consider changes to the recently-adopted city budget. Vaughn suggested the workshop after several council members offered suggestions to change the budget to help the city out of its ongoing fiscal crisis.

“I want everyone to be able to put in their suggestions,” Vaughn said.

The council also held a 20-minute closed-door evaluation of Police Chief Brandal Jackson.  Jackson recently completed his first year as Brookshire’s top cop after being sworn into office last October following a lengthy – and frequently contentious – selection process.

No action was taken following the evaluation and the council adjourned moments after completing the evaluation.

21 Comments

  1. madcat says:

    Bad timing on changing the name of the street (s). Not cost effective. Wait and see what happens after the election. Also, consider why this is to be even considered? Has the current president done anything in Brookshire to be honored in such a way?

    • Sarah says:

      Of course the president has done something. How do you think the non wanting to work people get their money. remember hope and change?

  2. CommonSense says:

    In the opinion of this citizen journalist the most important matter that was on the agenda for last night’s meeting was the action or inaction taken on the issue of seeking admission to the ESD. This renaming of a street is a side show to much more pressing fiscal matters facing Busted and Broke Brookshire. This talk of renaming a street is a waste of oxygen exchange. I believe it is an attempt to garner favor from the supporters of the current administration of the city and to draw attention away from the monumental fiscal crisis the city is experiencing. The distraction is an old method of approval from a failing administration. But then the citizens of Busted and Broke Brookshire have fallen for the old hat trick before and will fall for it again. I for one would love to hear the outcome of that ring of the circus called politics in Busted and Broke Brookshire.

  3. YAHOO says:

    I’m sick to my stomach about even entertaining such an idea, when the city of brookshire is in such a dire state of emergency to control spending and to come up with ideas to make money for the city.We as citizens of brookshire do not need to entertain stupidity,but in focusing together come up with a solution to make brookshire financially strong again.

  4. Mikel says:

    While driving down 359 between I10 & Hwy 90 I noticed there are NO street signs even now, except at the corner of Waller @ the funeral home….Brookshire can not afford the street signs right now, so why do they think they can afford them in the future……..From offline reports & listening to current employees the city is in very very bad shape financially. Now, all of a sudden the incompetent ditchdigger mayor wants to set up a workshop to get some ideas when he wouldn’t take any suggestions before….My suggestion is to not give this Bozo any ideas so he can’t use those ideas against the person suggesting the ideas. Even good ideas won’t help the city at this time…..LET HIM FAIL… It will take many years for Brookshire to recoup their loses….

  5. DIOGENES says:

    Why not name it after another loser. No doubt Obama will go down as one of the two worst Presidents (Jimmy Carter is the other one) in the modern era.

    Since Brookshire is a joke and the “Speed trap” capital of Texas why not.

    Did you know that last year’s income from Mun. Court fines was almost $200,000.00. At an average cost of $150 per ticket that’s . . . . That’s over 1,300 tickets. Bookem Dano…………………………

  6. CommonSense says:

    Kendleton.

  7. fiveshooter says:

    While is seems pretty clear that the proposer is among the few to want a FM road changed, the important thing is the budget. The obvious dancing being done about questions to the expenditures by the Police Chief and the Head of the Fire Department were truly pathetic. The Council needs to hold their feet to the fire, even if the FD is on the council too. The obvious disrepect shown to fellow members is disgraceful.

    While one of Mr. Sanders suggestions of cutting salaries to 100 per council and 7800 for the mayor met with stony faces, I do have to wonder how it is the mayor gets to draw two salaries for working 8-5 at the water district. Does he use vacation time, or loose pay for smiling at ribbon cuttings during working hours. 30 grand a year for ribbon cuttings and whatever he makes at the water distrcit is a darn good pay year in the little town of Brookshire where unemployment is high and the sidewalks were rolled up years ago. I understand why he has no interest in being fiscally responsible.

    When I first heard aboutg the insurance and retirement going unpaid and even checks bouncing, the first thing I thought was I’d like to see just whose check did go through. Lo and behold, I hear during the meeting that a council person and head of the FIre Department’s check went through the bank when others bounced and some weren’t even paid. You can’t tell me that’s not an inside job

  8. fiveshooter says:

    The estimated numbers for tickets does not match with the police report that comes out in the paper. Those 5-6 things reported each day could easily be done by one office. Why does anyone need to spend over 200 dollars a month in their vehicle. Brookshire is what….just a few square miles. I know their mileage has increased since McDonalds opened. It’s much further away then the donut shop where I used to see the police cars and that’s not a silly joke.

    Where is that backhoe? Why are they scalping parts to keep things running? Why are the streets paved? Oh yeah, the council can’t agree to cut the police budget and give it to the public works to clean up the town. Is that because the Fire Department and the Police Department wear the same glove? If they police have the capability of brining in sooo much money in tickets, why can’t they share the wealth? I don’t know who is getting these tickets in a town of 4500 so I guess it’s the highway traffic. MCDONALDS iIS RIGHT BY THE HIGHWAY….you can make up the difference in less than a block.

    It’s way past time that the cronies on the council stop snickering and mumbling in meetings. If they don’t, it won’t matter. The Brookshire city limits signs will come down. The streets already have the holes. The drought gave it the dust. It’s all set to become a ghost town.

  9. beachgirl says:

    For some interesting reading, why not go to the city’s webside and download a copy of the $2.4 mil 2012 budget.. VERY eye opening.. Really now, do you need almost $50,000 for city telephones? Does this include landlines for the PD, city hall and public works AND employee cell phones?? Ever tried calling public works? No one ever answers the phone OR the messages left.

    Does the mayor need ALL that money like the expense allowances AND salary too AND work at publie works??? The budget is fiction, for sure..

  10. YAHOO says:

    Good Morning, Picketers are you ready?We need some citizens with some backbone to stand up to this bull crap!!!! I believe in the very near future,the walls at city hall will come tumbling down and all the mess in it will be held accountable.

  11. CommonSense says:

    Predictions for Brookshire in light of election results.
    1.Property prices will continue to decline, which exemplifies business as usual.
    2.Taxes will continue to go up, which will be necessary as values plummet reducing tax revenues and costs in salaries and benefits to the chosen few increase.
    3.No residential growth because of bad reputation of the city and high taxes of city.
    4.Little or no commercial growth, which will only generate low paying jobs; a result of the level of education of the majority of residents.
    5.Decrease in the quality and quantity of city services as a result of increased costs and decreased revenues.
    6.An attempt by city council to join the ESD so that others can pay the bills for emergency services for the city of Brookshire (a tax increase to the property owners).
    7.Continued insular nature of the city for the purpose of protecting the fiefdom.
    8.Crime will be exported out of Brookshire and will invade neighboring areas diminishing the reputation of the area further.
    9.Schools will continue to slip into obscurity.
    10.City council will spew that the city is moving in the right direction with no justification or proof.
    11.There will be no independent audit of city books.
    12.Consternation from the council and their core supporters that all things bad in the city are racially motivated so as to deepen the servitude of the masses to the chosen few.
    I could not resist reposting this. I know I am being mundane but the future of Brookshire is clear.

    • Sarah says:

      Good observation Common Sense. I kind of remember a speech a few years ago about transparency, hope and change. It’s like a bad dream all over again.

    • beachgirl says:

      Absolutely right Common Sense, so it will be bidness as usual at City Hall UNLESS voters get out and MAKE change happen for the better in May.. The fact is City Hall needs a major transfusion of new blood NOW. May is too late..

      The new budget shows $25k for an audit.. Really? Who will do that and what will it show? A city that is BK, with a credit rating down the toilet with no ability to borrow money to make ends meet until the tax money rolls in? What happens if the citizens can’t pay their taxes this year and very little tax money does come in?

      I feel sorry for the employees, who have no med insurance now and no retirement contributions made in months, and are wondering if their checks bounce this payday?? Brookshire has hit rock bottom, I mean how much worse CAN it get other than total takeover by a higher entity?? Time will tell..

  12. fiveshooter says:

    Who will do it for 25? Well I could use some exta cash beach girl and I know how to read a budget. People are starting to get out of town. An engineering firm is moving to Katy. Is the EDC…by the way yet more double dipping council members working on any businesses besides ones that will provide them with food…let me say double dipping between their multiple city jobs again. There are wide open spaces (and I don’t mean between the councils ears)..room for car dealership, factories big stuff that could provide jobs and boost employment and taxes in Brookshire. Instead of raising their cups to salute free food in that picture in the newspaper, why don’t they put some effort into fixing equipment, finding that missing backhoe, checking the city’s inventory to see what else has been taken, check what the fire chief does with city equipment on the weekends, cleanup the city pound, tell the police chief he has to drive his private car to work and back to Navasota..well I could just go on and on but I’ll save it in case beach girl can get me that auditing job.

  13. CommonSense says:

    If I still owned any property in Broken and Busted Brookshire I would put my property tax money in an escrow account and then would sue the city for failure to provide adequate fire, ems and police services to say nothing of the public works or the lack there of. I did notice today that the Xmas decorations are out. Gosh that is important to put out the 30 year old Xmas decorations. Who needs gas for city vehicles when you have decrepit Xmas decorations out. A tax payer revolt might save the city from years more of degradation of property values. But then that would make to much sense. Apparently the 300 voters who keep electing idiots are happy with their lot in life and the Xmas decorations.

  14. YAHOO says:

    Good Morning,my sentiments exactly about the Christmas decorations ,they are out of sinc,just like……..

  15. Mikel says:

    Did you notice how many public works folks it took to put those decorations out? Really good planning.

    • Headshaker says:

      At least we can see The Public Works Department out actually working. The decorations may be 30 years old, but they didn’t spend any money!!!

  16. Headshaker says:

    At beach girl’s suggestion, I took a look at that city budget and it’s a jaw dropper. I agree, really $50,000 for phones? The Mayor needs $2000 for a phone? Doesn’t Sprint offer all you can use rates of about $70 a month? That’s less than $1000 and is his telephone bill already included in the city office budget? His budget is 20% of city hall’s budget and nearly 50% of the public works budget. The FD lumped it’s bill together $6K for telephone and utilities, so I’m not sure what the telephone bill really is. Someone needs to be assigned #1 to audit those bills and make sure it’s all city business being billed #2 to find a contract with some provider that will offer a discount for a telephone bundle. I imagine the $15K for the BPD can be drastically cut too without loss of services.

    They need to do that same thing (find a bundled costs) for all that insurance they need to carry.

    Another shocker is $25.5K on uniforms and that doesn’t include cleaning. Only $3K for the BPD, but $8K for the youth program? Why? At the most the children should be given t-shirts..group discounted at a cost of less than $10 each. Employees should have no more than 2 shirts and furnish their own pants and shoes. That probably would run less than $1K. Now the BPD needs only $3K..I’m not sure why if we aren’t hiring new people, BUT that aside, why does the FD need literally 4 times the money for uniforms as BPD??? They have $12K for uniforms, not including cleaning. Well, yes sometimes there’s a burn here and there, but not that much and remember that doesn’t include cleaning the smoke etc from their clothing. Poor step-child Public Works is line-itemed for $2.5K. They probably need it with the rough work they do. It looks to me like they could save several thousand dollars to pay those back bills just in uniforms.

    Let’s talk about radio maintenance and repair. Why does the FD need $4K vs. the BPD $1K??? BPD uses their radios every day. The FD does not.

    Just what is miscellaneous and why does it amount to over $10K? That may sound nit-pickey, but when office supplies, cleaning, etc are all listed..that’s a lot of extra cash with no account codes needed other than Misc. Nearly one-third is listed for the youth program. $3K of unknown expenses.

    What stuck me the most..it seems the FD budget is well padded compared to other departments. Isn’t a Council member the Chief?

    It’s no wonder the city is nearly out of business. Any other small business would be too.

  17. DIOGENES says:

    The first thing of interest was the vote to accept the October 2011 invoice payment report. Now as best I can figure out, Brookshire has a system that when a bill or invoice comes in a check is immediately written to pay it. But if there is not enough money in the account to pay that bill then it is held. And there in lies a major area of contention between the Mayor and everybody else because the number and amount of checks being held is only known by the mayor, who continually refuses to release any information on unmailed checks. In my discussions with one council member, off the record, it is estimated the amount could be as high as $350.000.00. So far the only payments that have been met on a consistent basis has been payroll.

    A motion was made to accept the October invoice payment report and it was denied three to two with Stamps and M. Vaughn voting for and everyone else voting against. The same thing happened with regard to the September Invoice Report and I can only assume that this is a symbolic vote that doesn’t mean anything as it just goes in the books and that’s the end of it.

    The next item of interest was a request to rename 359N to Obama Blvd by Eric Scott. One person from the Audience spoke and stated she didn’t see how a broke city could afford to buy street signs to rename anything. This brought a laugh from all, even the mayor. Mr. Scott was not present so the request was tabled to another time.

    This is a very potentially hot potato because President Obama is black and proponents of him have always used the agreement that if you were against him or his policies you were prejudice. This was never true but it ran well in the press as everyone was afraid of being called “Prejudice.” This should be left alone by council and put on the next ballot if it warrants that kind of attention. I doubt it. I think if someone builds a swimming pool and teen center for our youth, we should maybe name a street after him, or at least the center should be named after him or her.

    I’ve been living in Brookshire for over 15 years. I have seen this city as racially divided the entire time. The only time I saw some of the people come together was when we thought we were going to have a serious hurricane and Mayor Woods formed an emergency committee to help deal with the problem. I was a volunteer on that committee and so were many fine black men from their areas of Brookshire. We worked well together. We need to do that all the time and not just in an emergency. I think Brookshire is just starting to heal the black/white wounds from the past and it would be a shame to take a huge step backward over the naming of a street.

    Next up was a discussion on amending the 2012 Budget. This is a carry over from the last meeting. Cutting the budget is good. How much it needs to be cut is or should be based on how much the city is in the hole. Since no one knows that but the mayor, this is a slightly one-sided argument. All council can do is cut the budget and hope that they cut it enough to make up for the backlog of unpaid bills.

    This is really a dumb way to go about this. The problem that Brookshire is in is not the sole fault of the mayor but the fault also, of everyone on council that has been there longer than one term. Everyone on council has constantly voted to increase the budget every year without regard to the needs of the city. They decided to have a workshop. At this “workshop” the Mayor needs to come clean with the exact dollar figure that the city is behind and then they need to work up a budget that not only addresses covering this amount but also does NOT exceed the projected income for 2012.

    Next up was the issue of Brookshire joining the Waller County ESD. This will save the city in direct current expense, $200,000 off the budget. ESD is paid for by a tax that is quite small when divided among everybody, and not having to be lumped on our budget. Be sure and tell your councilman or woman to get this on the next ballot in April. It is long overdue.

    I for one am tired of all the questions about how much the city is behind in paying invoices and what does it really owe. Under the Freedom of Information act, I have requested copies of the last 12 months bank statements and check register for the last 12 months. I will reconsile it myself and we will see what we will see.
    I have been told that this information has already been given to council members yet they have not said anything.
    Evidently they are either too inept or too lazy to figure it out but then why should they. The constant increase of the annual budgets is as much their fault as it is the mayor’s.

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