Friday, April 18, 2008

April 17 City Council "Entertainment"

Wilmer City Council meeting of April 17 began with much fanfare and went out with barely a whisper. Representatives from the Allen Group were unexpectedly present to hear the council presentation on the status of directly connecting Wilmer to the Dallas Water Utilities.
Click here to view the complete agenda.

Prior to the formal agenda items, Police Chief Robert Wells presented Officer Moore with a plaque for saving a child who had fallen in a well on February 28. Officer Moore received a standing ovation from meeting attendees for his job "well done".

First order of business was the Open Invoice Report. Tiny Lange moved to "pay the bills" with the exception of nearly $600 in undocumented Office Depot charges, but the motion died without a second. Billy Wickliffe's motion to pay all the bills was seconded and approved with over Lange's solitary nay vote.

Councilman Wickliffe was up next to present his findings on negotiations with the Allen group for connecting Wilmer to Dallas Water. Wickliffe's involvement in the negotiations had been ongoing since November 2007. Readers may remember that Wilmer Public Citizen reported on a meeting on November 17. Click here to read the first article. While Wickliffe down played his role in the negotiations, claiming ill health, he apparently had forgotten his prior campaign claim to have already brought Dallas Water to Wilmer. Billy's display of verbal tap dancing and soft shoe without ever leaving his seat was largely unremarkable.

Leslie Jutzi of the Allen Group presented the almost three year timeline spent in negotiation with the City of Wilmer since 2005 that had yet to result in a "pre-annexation agreement" including water, sewer and road improvements. Click here to view the Allen Group handout (Large file). When asked directly, Jutzi declined to place blame for the delays in getting an agreement in place, but indicated that during the same period Dallas, Lancaster, and Hutchins had all completed infrastructure agreements with the Allen Group. Councilman Wickliffe at one point seemed somewhat defensive about the negotiations, implying that Allen Group had changed the terms of the agreement over time. Ms. Jutzi indicated that the current (February 2008) agreement was the result of "robust negotiations" by all parties, and outlined an aggressive eight to ten month time line for completing the project once an agreement was finalized.

Tiny Lange handed out a comparison of commercial and residential water and sewer rates, as well as wholesale supply rates. Click here to review the Water Rate Comparison. It was revealed that Wilmer's current cost for water service ($3.10/1000 gallons) exceeds the billing rate charged to customers ($3.00/1000), resulting in the budgeted losses in the water department. Wilmer pays over 128% more for water supply than wholesale rates charged to Lancaster and Hutchins from Dallas Water Utilities. Wilmer charges residential customers about 20% less than Dallas or Hutchins, and about 70% more than Lancaster for water. Wilmer also makes no distinction between water and waste water (sewer) rates, while Dallas and Lancaster charge significantly more for waste water and Hutchins charges slightly less. Wilmer and Hutchins' commercial rates are "upside down" compared to Dallas and Lancaster in that they do not reflect volume discounts for industrial usage.
(ED NOTE: By comparison, Wilmer Water is a money losing proposition all around.

Mayor Hudson proposed a five member panel of three citizens and two council members to finalize the "pre-annexation" agreement with the Allen Group and move forward to the next council meeting with an approval item on the agenda. Allen Group representatives stated a concern that the current terms and conditions reflected market conditions in late 2007 and may require additional negotiations to move forward. Hudson committed to discuss the matter with Allen Group CEO Richard Allen directly on Friday, April 18.

The final item on the agenda, an annexation proposal of 95+ acres at the owner's request, was unanimously approved without further discussion and the meeting was adjourned.


Anonymous said...

It's about time Wickliffe's lies were exposed. He campaigns that he brought in Dallas Water - but it's only in emergencies from Mike Rader at double what it costs other places - and THEN the city loses money on it. Looks to me like Wickliffe delayed getting Dallas water for 3 years and has been lining Rader's pockets and his own.

Anonymous said...

The citizens of Wilmer better wake up. Billy Wickliffe needs to go. He has been telling lies to all of us for years and still he keeps getting elected. This will be our only chance for two years. Vote for the person of your choice and kick Wickliffe off the council. We all had hopes that Dean Rolison would make a good councilman, but it apears he is going to be another Wickliffe stooge like Bain is.

Editor Publisher said...

In all fairness to Mr. Wickliffe, I was recently reminded by a former mayor that Hudson, Lange, and (maybe) Lowe voted for the hefty rates charged by Mike Rader's Wilmer Municipal Water District. Looks like everyone can get credit for our public water rates. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Mike Rader set the water rate based upon what he had to pay Hutchins for the water. The water rate increase only applied to business. Mr. Wickliffe voted for that same rate increase. The Mayor only votes if there is a tie vote.
Please set the record straight. The former Mayor was not even in town when that took place.

Thanks, Don Hudson

Editor Publisher said...

Thank you. I stand corrected. Please keep those comments coming and keep setting the record straight! If I publish a story OR a comment that's just not right - say so.

Former Mayor Root said...

Look no matter how you spin it, Hudson, Wickliffe and Lange voted to give Rader the right to increase, decrease or charge what ever he wanted to for his water. The point is that they gave him the right to charge for water they could have gotten cheaper. Now they want to cry that he's charging to much. The contract was flawed when they voted on it and vote they did. What happened after that night is still the fault of those three.
Former Mayor Root

Anonymous said...

What is the deal between Rader and Hudson? Hudson got his money from Rader and now they are on the outs? Hudson must be looking for new resources to fund his lifestyle? The bottom line here is he doesn't live here! He can claim he rents a mobile home all he wants, but he didn't buy property in Wilmer and build here, he chose to buy and build in Palmer. For those of you who doubt it just go to Ellis County Appraisal District. Or just drive by FM 813 and see the compuond for yourself. He has moved his old trailer there and moved almost his whole family.

Anonymous said...

I just move to this little town, and now understand why their is no growth. The long term citizen'a need to wake up!