Friday, May 4, 2012

Frankly, City Finances are in Sad Shape

The City is short on income by more than a million dollars.
The City is a million and a quarter dollars under budget on expenses.
The vast majority of income has been received for the current fiscal year.....
but there are still 5 more months of expenses.

In a shocking expose based on the current City of Wilmer Profit & Loss statement, mayoral candidate Joe Aldrich blasted the City Council on fiscal irresponsibility and the budget. The City planned to overspend current income by $4,900 according to the published budget figures. Last year's budget doesn't seem to be quite in balance. It doesn't take an accounting background to see a problem here, just take a look.

No "red flags" appear in the report because everything is "under budget", so almost any expenditure the City cares to dream up (like the Dewberry drainage project) can be said to be in the current budget. The problem is the income shortage of over a million dollars and the vast majority of property tax proceeds already received, and little chance of significant additional revenue in the remaining months in the current fiscal year. All the while, expenses continue to accrue regardless of the availability of funds to pay the bills.

The City Council approved a budget with known deficiencies, such as the tremendous over estimation of permit income because Whirlpool's windfall last year wasn't factored out of the proposed budget. At time of adoption, the budget was known to have overstated $135,000 in permit fees alone.

No wonder those special public funds accumulating in the Economic and Community Development Corporation accounts seem so irresistible to the City Council - Wilmer only has a bit over $175,000 in the bank to last over the next 5 months - each of the development corps has a similar amount of money in their accounts currently. Perhaps this is why these development corporation boards can't seem to get enough cooperation from the City to be able to schedule a meeting and the directors can't get access to the financial records.

At the time the budget was being discussed in public hearings, last year's new council was in a huge battle with Jeff Steele. It's beginning to look like they may have approved a budget with the intent of embarrassing Mr. Steele and then forgot to repair the damage once in office - so now eight months into the fiscal year, they've neglected to come to grips with the issues and the responsibility lies solely on the current occupants of the seats in the governing body to repair the problem. After several budget workshops, why have no corrections or changes been made? How much is this going to cost US?


Anonymous said...

hello again paul here is there contact details,give them a call ,say Howard h put you on

Anonymous said...

I have heard rumors that the vacant housing and rental registration ordinance that is still in effect generated over $100,000 in revenue the last budget year. I have also heard the rumor that the "over estimated" permit fees for this budget year was not over estimated, but the amount projected was affected by the current coucil enacting a temporary moratorium(sp)on the collection of fees that has since expired. The ordinances are in place to ensure all potential safety issues and basic residential needs were confirmed for all citizens in rental properties. They also make certain that no one has to live next to an abandonded property with little or no upkeep and holds the property owner responsible for maintaining the property to the same standards as an occupied residence.These fees are no longer being collected even though the ordinances are currently in full effect. I would think the current administration would have a responsiblity to the citizens to make certain these inspections were performed and fees were collected to keep the city fically stable.

As I stated at the beginning, these are just veifiable rumors.

Anonymous said...

rental registrations are 50 dollars each. It would take 2000 inspections to generate that revenue.

Anonymous said...

Rental Registration & Inspection (RRI) Program

The RRI Program has two-parts: 1) annual registration of every rental unit, and 2) inspection bi-annually or with every tenant change, whichever comes first.


1) From June 1st through July 15th of each fiscal year, City Hall will mail invoices to each rental property owner listed in the database. It is the responsibility of property owners to register all of their rental units, whether or not prior notice was received.
2) The deadline for registration shall be August 1st of the same year.
3) The registration and initial inspection $50.00 for single family dwellings. The registration and initial inspection for multi-family dwellings will be $50.00 plus $5.00 per unit. Property owners that fail to register by the deadline of October 1st must pay double per unit.


1) An Inspection Report is required for each unit. All tenants/landlords must schedule a rental unit inspection prior to requesting water service. Water service may be applied for in person at City Hall.
2) The Utility Billing Department will direct all tenants/landlords to the City Secretary to verify registration and/or to schedule an inspection. If the rental units are registered a copy of the registration form will be forwarded to the Utility Billing Department for processing of water services and connection. Registration is required to schedule an inspection and set up a billing account.
3) Old and new occupied rental units will be inspected with each tenant change or every other year, whichever comes first.
4) The fee for the Inspection Report must be paid by the tenant or property owner (as specified in the rental agreement), prior to each inspection.
The fees are as follows:
a. Registration & Initial Inspection - $50
b. Follow-up Inspection – no fee
c. 3rd Inspection - $90
d. 4th Inspection - $120
e. 5th and subsequent inspections - $150
5) All fees for water service shall be paid prior to the Rental Inspection. Water service will be connected before the inspection to allow verification of sufficient water supply and hot water as well as to check for leaks.
6) Upon completion of the inspection, the Building Inspector will provide the property owner and tenant with a list of corrections or a Certificate of Occupancy.
7) Re-inspections or follow-up inspections will not be made until all corrections are complete and applicable fees are paid.
8) Failure to comply with renter’s registration and inspection guidelines could result in citations, fines and/or court visits.

What You Should Know – Before Renting

What to take with you when looking for a home:

 Flashlight
 Light bulb
 Hair dryer
 Pen/pencil and notepad

Use the above noted tools to check for the following:


 Turn on each light switch to ensure they work
 If there is no bulb in the socket use the one you brought along
 Check every plug by plugging in your hair dryer
 Make a note of everything that does not work


 Turn on the sink and tub faucets to see if they work or leak
 Flush toilets, be sure to check for leaks along the base of the toilet
 Be sure drains are operating properly
 Check the water heater


 Check heating and air conditioning – look for a clean filter and avoid highly musty smelling units
 Adjust the thermostat up and down to be sure it works


 Look up – are there water stains and/or cracks
 Look behind doors and open and close them to be sure they work


 Check for smoke detectors
 Make sure doors close and lock properly

From the Office of the Attorney General

Anonymous said...

2000 Inspections? Sounds like a lot. Lease to own units are also considered rentals. Lease to own is also illegal in Texas unless processed through an attorney. Even when processed properly they are still considered rentals during the entire life of the lease. The HUD(mobile home)parks have almost half of that number. 90+% of the Clayton Crossing units meet this criteria. A surprisingly large number of homes in the community consists of rental or lease to own properties. 2000? We are there.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Editor,
Did you know the City of Wilmer broke a law? They hired an employee in a position and never posted that position. Mr. Pena also did the hiring and firing. This is also illegal. Counsel members are to have no interactions with employee's on day to day operations. The mayor or City manager is the only official that has the authority to make these decisions. Which Mr. Pena is in neither position. I wonder if TCEQ knows that there are not two C or higher licensed operators in the water department, which is also illegal.