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Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/4/16 14:50:00 (2947 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowIf someone earned $58,000 a year, and took out a mortgage on a modest $105,500 home, would you call that person irresponsible? What if that mortgage was a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year term? What if this person had the highest credit score possible, and was able to get a 3.98% interest rate? What if that person also had a savings account with $26,700 just in case cash flow got tight? Would it make any difference to know that this person pays cash for their cars, saving enough money each year to have money for a new car when one is needed? Would it help to know that this person never charges minor purchases and never pays their monthly bills with a credit card? What if this person also sat down each year and wrote a budget, and stuck to it?

Would you call this person irresponsible? Would you say they had too much debt? Should they go on a diet of beans and ramen noodles, and live like a peasant?

I think it's safe to say that our hypothetical person is pretty responsible to buy that $105,500 home, even though it means a little debt. After all, if they weren't able to get that mortgage, they'd be wasting money in rent.

Well, the City of Lewisville has a similar situation to the above, but words are cheap for come-lately City Council Candidate Steve Hill, who doesn't mind disparaging his own city in exchange for a few votes from the uninformed.


In order to know the city's situation, you need to have a look at the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report: (Download PDF)

The City of Lewisville's situation is basically identical to the hypothetical situation above; just multiply the numbers by 1,000.

In 2010, the City of Lewisville's general fund had total net revenues of $58 million, spending only $56.2 million, ending the year with a general fund balance of $26.7 million. The city had $105.5 million* in outstanding bond debt, which was used for major projects like new streets and street repairs, drainage, parks, facilities, and other improvements with a long service life. Further, $40.7 million of that debt related to water and sewer infrastructure to be paid out of the utility revenues. By my calculations based on principal and interest paid, the City's debt has an average interest rate of 3.98% and would be paid off in just over 10 years if we stopped selling bonds. (Of course we would end up with some pretty awful streets, and the water and sewer service might not be reliable.) This year, the City of Lewisville earned the top credit rating of AAA from both Fitch and Standard and Poors. Only 16 cities in the state of Texas earned that rating.

Here are a few things Fitch said in its rating:

Quote:

The city's financial profile continues to be a positive credit consideration, a major factor behind the rating upgrade to 'AAA' from 'AA+'. Despite a flattening of general fund revenues since fiscal 2006 the city managed to add to reserves each year from fiscal 2006 to fiscal 2009; the unreserved general fund balance at fiscal 2009 year-end totaled $31.7 million or roughly 52% of spending. The unaudited fiscal 2010 results include a decline of roughly $5.2 million in reserves due to one-time outlays, but fund balance will remain sizable. Likewise, liquidity remains healthy, with fiscal 2009 general fund cash and investments totaling $33.8 million or more than 7 months of operating expenditures.

Sales tax revenues comprise nearly one-third of total general fund revenues and are the second largest operating revenue source. Receipts dipped more than 6% in fiscal 2009 to $17.7 million but rebounded in fiscal 2010 to $18.6 million, a 5% increase (preliminary). Management projects flat sales tax revenues for fiscal 2011, and Fitch notes the solid performance of this revenue source given the challenging economic environment. Projected fiscal 2011 general fund results point to a modest general fund balance increase, despite the TAV decline, no increase in the property tax rate, no layoffs or furloughs, a modest compensation increase for staff, and increasing pension and health insurance costs.

Lewisville's direct debt position remains moderate, although the overall debt burden is well above average due to Lewisville ISD's (unlimited tax bonds rated 'AA+' by Fitch) ongoing borrowings. Debt service as a percentage of operating expenditures is manageable at less than 12%, and principal amortization is well above average at 75% in 10 years. The city's debt position also benefits from annual general fund transfers to capital projects; Lewisville maintains a policy of transferring a sizable amount of surplus revenues, primarily for street and drainage improvements. The city has $23.5 million remaining from previous authorizations, but no additional borrowings are planned presently. The slowdown in growth has lessened the demand for additional infrastructure, and management prefers to wait for further evidence of a sustained economic/tax base rebound before proceeding with additional borrowings.


Friends, this is what fiscal conservatism looks like. If the Texas Legislature or the United States Congress came back with a financial report as good as the City of Lewisville, the Tea Party wouldn't exist, and we might just have to consider organizing a parade to celebrate the achievement. Steve Hill is not just uninformed, but he is also spreading myths about the city being in too much debt. Hill's type of ignorance is doubly dangerous because he doesn't know what he doesn't know. After just a few months of attending a few Council meetings, and no experience serving his city at all, and a history of not even voting in local elections, he wants a seat at the big table, where the uninformed decisions have adverse consequences for all of us.

Lewisville has a good thing going. We have great parks and amenities that increase our property value and quality of life. We have excellent services like police and fire, and public works that generally get the job done efficiently and without controversy. Certainly things are not yet perfect, and we have things we can improve on as a city - like preventing decline in our older neighborhoods. We certainly don't get that done by frivolous and unnecessary cuts that only serve someone's ideological agenda. We need to stay the course. We stay the course by electing citizens to our City Council who have a proven commitment to the City and to staying informed, and who will stick to the plan.

In City Council, Place 3, we endorse T.J. Gilmore, and urge you to vote for him on May 14th.

* Direct debt is the total of GO bonds and Water and Sewer bonds. TIRZ #1 and voter-approved 4B fund obligations are component units not paid from the general fund.


Related Posts:
- Qualifications for Lewisville City Council

Keywords:
- TJ Gilmore
- Steve Hill
- Municipals2011

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Poster Thread
kjudk1955
Posted: 2011/4/16 15:52  Updated: 2011/4/16 15:52
Guest Columnist (Verified User)
Joined: 2007/4/26
From: Lewisville, TX
Posts: 87
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Wow, Steve! This is one of the best and most informative posts ever. Nothing I can add. You nailed it!
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/4/16 16:04  Updated: 2011/4/16 23:24
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Steve Hill is not just uninformed, but he is also spreading myths about the city being in too much debt. Steve, exactly what is he saying? We understand he is not informed or being fed inaccurate information, probably Gorena again. That usually comes with not serving and studying city government. We have seen this before with other candidates spreading false statements and none got elected to my knowledge. It just kills me when someone comes along and says they have attended a couple of council meetings and suddenly they can solve everything. Like they are the Wizard of Oz! Give us a break.
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Poster Thread
WhosPlayin
Posted: 2011/4/16 23:36  Updated: 2011/4/16 23:36
Editor
Joined: 2008/12/12
From:
Posts: 3893
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
What's he saying? Good question. Here is one of his pieces of campaign literature: (Click to enlarge)
Open in new windowOpen in new window
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Anonymous
Posted: 2011/4/17 8:37  Updated: 2011/4/17 11:19
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
What a sad piece of campaign literature! It rambles, throws out trite thoughts like "I'm a patriotic.", and still doesn't answer anything. I think he overshot what needs to be discussed when running for city council. What does pro-choice and national sovereignty have to do with Lewisville? It sounds more like he is running for a congressional seat. I think that anyone who reads this piece would still ask what is he [Hill] saying. I can't wait to look up his website!
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Runfellow
Posted: 2011/4/16 16:17  Updated: 2011/4/16 16:23
Guest Columnist (Verified User)
Joined: 2011/3/17
From: Lewisville, TX
Posts: 294
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Steve Hill is a nice guy and all that, but he's out of the loop completely when it comes to any of the issues actually facing Lewisville.

For example, obviously one of the major issues facing the city is oil and gas drilling. This has been a contentious issue in Lewisville for a few years now, but try finding anything on Hill's website even addressing Oil and Gas. His "Issues" page is about 323 words long, but he seems to have deep concerns about where our city is headed financially. It seems to me if you really have that many concerns that you'd want to hit that nail on the head early and often and with as much detail as possible. Nope, just 323 words.

By comparison, check out TJ Gilmore's take on the issue here. TJ has been actively involved in this stuff since the beginning on the Oil and Gas Review Committee. TJ actually has more substantiative info regarding Oil and Gas than Steve Hill has on his entire "Issues" page!

Or check out Leroy Vaughn's stand on the issue here.

Want Mike McCary's stance? Well he lists it as a "Real Issue" on his site but that's all you're getting from him.

What really scares me about Hill is how, when faced with a question that he doesn't have a real answer to, he'll simply parrot McCary almost word for word. Example: at the first forum, candidates were asked how important local committee volunteering was to them when considering a run for local office. McCary came first and blanked for a while. Finally he mumbled something about how you had to be on "their special list" to be on a committee. Of course that's not true, and as Steve S. has pointed out, McCary has never applied to be on a committee so how would he even know, but I digress. When it came time for Hill to answer, he literally used the same line: that you had to be on a special list to be on the committee and if you weren't somebody's buddy you weren't going to be on it. The bottom line is that Hill didn't have a clue what to say so he just copied what the first guy said. Er... not exactly what we're looking for in a candidate.
-BC
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Anonymous
Posted: 2011/4/17 8:53  Updated: 2011/4/17 11:21
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Debt for a municipality is good to some level. Dave Ramsey is great and all for arguing against consumer debt which is used for unnecessary consumption and wasting assets. There are few things that consumers can buy with debt that bring a financial return. Unlike consumers, businesses and governments can borrow money to buy assets that produce future revenue in excess of the debt payments. Just like a business can't make a profit if it doesn't first buy a store and inventory, a city can't get sales tax revenue from the store if the store doesn't have running water and its customers can't drive to it. Using debt to fund capital asset purchases enable the borrower to use the future revenue to repay the debt.

This is far different from federal debt which is used to fund operating expenses and entitlement payments and which cannot be covered in any likely economic scenario. That is, even when the economy is great, the federal government still runs a deficit. It's untenable. The Tea Party has done the country a great service by putting a big red exclamation point on this fact. But to expand the Tea Party's message into being against all debt, particular local government debt, is not fiscal conservatism, it's simply imprudent. For a city to have no debt for capital improvement would mean that current tax payers are funding 100% of future growth, that the city would have infrastructure improvements after its competitors, or that it would simply have less and cheaper infrastructure.

Maybe the city's debt load is too high. But the relevant question is what is the optimal amount of debt and for what purposes should it used.
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2011/4/17 11:25  Updated: 2011/4/17 11:25
Editor
Joined: 2008/12/12
From:
Posts: 3893
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Quote:
For a city to have no debt for capital improvement would mean that current tax payers are funding 100% of future growth, that the city would have infrastructure improvements after its competitors, or that it would simply have less and cheaper infrastructure.


Exactly.

And I think I've made this point before, but it's fundamentally unfair to ask today's taxpayers to pay for new infrastructure that will be used by an influx of new residents during periods of growth.

Also, can you imagine what it would look like if we had to save up $20 million for some streets project? I guarantee you that we'd rack up $15 million of it after a few years, and some grand-standing politician would point to that money and say "see, you're being over-taxed! We should give it back." They'd blow it on operational expenses and fail to keep up with our infrastructure.
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cttx
Posted: 2011/4/17 15:58  Updated: 2011/4/17 15:58
Contributor (Verified User)
Joined: 2010/6/21
From:
Posts: 60
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
I think Mr. Hill makes his stance on gas drilling pretty clear: "I believe that we should use our God given resources, like oil and gas resources in this county and our city."

That's great logic, isn't it? God put the gas in the ground so He must want us to take it out. No need to worry about other factors, such as environmental ones, or whether it's good overall for the community. After all, God created benzene, too, so it can't be that bad.

Also, if the city leases their minerals we may be able to lower the city property tax rate by a fraction of a cent. That's way more important than people's health anyway.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/4/18 16:40  Updated: 2011/4/18 16:55
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
From the 2010 Lewisville Budget meeting:
AUGUST 7, 2010
Page 4
Leaves operating deficit of -$595,598.
Make transfers of frozen street/traffic CIP in FY 09-10 budget (Alley Rehab $170,000, Neighborhood Rehab $400,000).
Eliminate FY 10-11 lines for alley/neighborhood.
Adjusted program balances with FY 10-11 budget included (based on August 5 report)
Alley Rehab $ 170,000
Concrete Rehab 982,735
Asphalt Rehab 860,934
Sidewalk Maint 389,369
Traffic Improv 672,483
Funds Available $3,075,521
Add revenues for building permit fee change $25,598.
Equals balanced budget. ? After you reduce reserves by $570,000!
Reduces FY 09-10 reserves (estimated) by $570,000.

If we are reducing reserves by $570,000 how can you say we have a balanced budget? What is our standing reserve balance now?
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2011/4/18 17:00  Updated: 2011/4/18 17:00
Editor
Joined: 2008/12/12
From:
Posts: 3893
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
All cities and school districts are tapping reserves right now. That's part of why we have them. The reason is that politicians are afraid of raising the tax rates to get the same amount of revenue as the previous year.

The CAFR clearly showed that we added to reserves in 2010, but sometimes that happens because items are not spent like they are budgeted until the following year.

I think we need to jump back on that street and sidewalk stuff, but unfortunately when you're looking at reducing services and making layoffs or putting off repairs for a year, the most politically acceptable thing to do is defer the maintenance. All we have to do to stop that is return our revenue to the previous year's level, which requires increasing the rate. As far as I know, none of the 5 candidates agrees with that.

I would vote for a tax increase of a penny or two to keep at the same levels - in a heartbeat. But nobody would vote for me.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/4/18 17:17  Updated: 2011/4/18 20:05
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
$26.7 million minus $570,000 is still more than $26 million in reserve. It's called a savings account. City Hall was constructed out of that savings account with no debt issued. The animal shelter is being built out of the savings account with no debt issued. Seems as if that is exactly what taxpayers would want -- set aside money during good times to carry the city through tough times.
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fvaughan
Posted: 2011/4/18 20:31  Updated: 2011/4/18 20:31
Quite a regular (Verified User)
Joined: 2011/2/15
From:
Posts: 139
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
With this kind of reserve, why can't we look at fixing deteriorated streets on a planned basis to improve the neighborhoods of Lewisville residents? No, we would rather spend it on parking lots in Old Town. I think the priorities are way out of wack. $12.4 million to house 105 city workers? Not a wise investment. Not when we have a high level of substandard neighborhoods.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/4/18 21:13  Updated: 2011/4/18 21:56
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Steve, I know I have seen several neighborhoods around Lewisville High School get new streets and drainage recently. Maybe you can dig up numbers on how much the city has spent on neighborhood streets and where it was spent. FVaughan might have a point, might not, but no one knows until we see some numbers.
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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 2011/4/19 8:02  Updated: 2011/4/19 8:23
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Hey, I have an idea! Why doesn't someone like yourself contact the city and get the information and then write an article or post a comment with the source and information. Steve could use some help! He has repeatedly, of late, said how hectic his schedule is.
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fvaughan
Posted: 2011/4/24 8:59  Updated: 2011/4/24 9:00
Quite a regular (Verified User)
Joined: 2011/2/15
From:
Posts: 139
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
I looked at the City 2010 11 budget, and it shows that east of I-35, with 31% of the population and 42% of the land area, we are receiving 12% of the road reconstruction funds.

The reason why? I think the east side does not vote, and we do not advocate city hall as effectively as those on the west. We are primarily a poor, hispanic under represented citizenry, with a large proportion of those that are not registered to vote likely because of immigrant status. We pay the price in institutional bias (for those uncomfortable with the r word).

How many city council members live on the East side = 0.

Therefore, why spend money on poor Hispanics and other minorities on the poor side of town that do not vote?
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Poster Thread
Runfellow
Posted: 2011/4/24 10:18  Updated: 2011/4/24 10:18
Guest Columnist (Verified User)
Joined: 2011/3/17
From: Lewisville, TX
Posts: 294
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Frank,
I have the budget in front of me, but it's 316 pages on a pdf. Can you give us a page number for where you found:
Percentages of population on either side of I-35
Percentages of land area on either side
Road construction divided by side of I-35. The only numbers for this I could find were individual projects listed starting on page 253 (or 269 of the pdf).
-BC
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fvaughan
Posted: 2011/4/24 14:22  Updated: 2011/4/24 14:22
Quite a regular (Verified User)
Joined: 2011/2/15
From:
Posts: 139
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
I worked this up on SPSS software, I can send the file if you have the software.

I followed the following steps:
1. Use 2010 census data and extrapolated a geo access survey based on zip code location with the divider line being I-35- http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml
2. Use the city zoning map to determine square mileage per each side of I-35, this is stilted to the east due to large tracts of undeveloped land out by 121 business. A better measure would be a population density map based on census tracts, but I was unable to create one. http://www.cityoflewisville.com/wcmsi ... ntent/Long+Range+Planning
3. I looked at the streets scheduled for repair and determined their location, and plotted them using a 0/1 discriminator based on location east or west of I-35.

I did this 5 years ago and sent it to the city council and mayor. The response I got was they budgeted based on voter participation. I am not sure how to analyze that.
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JEhinger
Posted: 2011/4/25 7:50  Updated: 2011/4/25 7:50
Quite a regular (Verified User)
Joined: 2010/9/3
From:
Posts: 134
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
The east side of I-35E has an urban grid road layout. It has more roads that provide both access and transit. The west side has a more suburban subdivision layout. It has more areas that have separate roads for access and transit. This probably results in more road mileage in the west. And because the collectors and arterials are designed for higher traffic, they're wider. And they're designed to funnel traffic from the subdivisions onto a few roads rather than in the east where you can take any number of routes. I suspect that the east side of I-35E has lower ratio of road mileage and surface area than the west side. It would be interesting to see if and how much that would move the needle on your percentages. There's probably way to layer in GIS data on road mileage, road surface area, and traffic counts.
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TJGilmore
Posted: 2011/4/25 8:49  Updated: 2011/4/25 8:49
Contributor (Verified User)
Joined: 2009/9/17
From: Lewisville, Tx.
Posts: 79
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Frank really good stuff. There's more asphalt road (which is easier to repair but extremely expensive to convert to concrete) on the east side. I know the city has done a ton of curb work in various neighborhoods over the past decade- but limited road surface.

Of course the east side has also gotten some significant amenities and new road work with the Valley extension, RR Park, and the Arts Center. Not to mention the upcoming Animal Shelter. But that might just be muddying the water since the West side did get the Library and a jail.

Prioritization is definitely difficult- I'm disappointed most by the statement that it was based on voter participation. I could see budget priorities being set by a 10 year plan based on citizen feedback- but not based on voter participation.
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Anonymous
Posted: 2011/4/25 9:44  Updated: 2011/4/25 10:29
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
If decisions were based on voter participation, no one would get anything in Lewisville since the voter turnout is inherently low!
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fvaughan
Posted: 2011/4/25 13:08  Updated: 2011/4/25 13:08
Quite a regular (Verified User)
Joined: 2011/2/15
From:
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 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Thanks, Mr. Gilmore.
I think general repair and upkeep of asphalt roads would be great, with no need to replace with concrete. I noticed there is no money budgeted for asphalt repairs in this budget.

The idea of different road usage density from west to east side has a lot of merit and may play a significant role in the decision of where to spend the tax money. The result is the same, though.

If we are serious about rehabbing the east side, I think a strategic, comprehensive plan should be enacted to systematically bring infrastructure up to standard.

A gap analysis should be conducted on the city's 2010 plan for the east side. A lot of good ideas were not carried out re: neighborhood preservation and restoration.
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2011/4/25 13:17  Updated: 2011/4/25 13:17
Editor
Joined: 2008/12/12
From:
Posts: 3893
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Sounds to me like we need to convene a 2020 plan committee too.

Frank, where did you find a list of streets scheduled for repair?
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fvaughan
Posted: 2011/4/25 14:38  Updated: 2011/4/25 14:38
Quite a regular (Verified User)
Joined: 2011/2/15
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Posts: 139
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
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Anonymous
Posted: 2011/4/24 10:37  Updated: 2011/4/24 10:44
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
So, to give the east side of Lewisville a say, you support Mike McCary because he lives there? Mike McCary who has a record of offenses a yard long. Man, I would rather work with whomever gets elected to city council than to depend on a person like McCary!
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2011/4/24 10:49  Updated: 2011/4/24 10:49
Editor
Joined: 2008/12/12
From:
Posts: 3893
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Frank, if that's true, it would have been a great thing to bring up in the budget hearing, because it's fundamentally unfair if that happens every year. I can understand that most of the city's thoroughfares are on the West side, so most thoroughfare money would go there, but when it comes to neighborhoods, it ought to be "to each according to need."

I'm with Brandon, in that I'd like to understand where those numbers come from.
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TJGilmore
Posted: 2011/4/19 9:32  Updated: 2011/4/19 9:32
Contributor (Verified User)
Joined: 2009/9/17
From: Lewisville, Tx.
Posts: 79
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
Fiscal Year 10-11 Adopted Budget for Paving Projects: $60,549,170. Actual expenses haven't been finalized as we are only 1/2 way through the budget year. Over and under budget projects, delays, grants, etc. can impact this number. Remember this budget comes from not just tax revenues, but from bonds that had been specifically let for these projects.

In general: "Capital improvement funds derive their revenue from bond sales and cash transfers from operating funds. These revenues pay for capital projects such as roadway resurfacing, new roadway construction, water and sewer line replacement, park improvements, building construction and technology improvements." Per the 2010-2011 Adopted Budget.

There has been a considerable amount of street and infrastructure reinvestment (my own neighborhood got a new water line this past year)- unfortunately not every part can be redone at once. The Public Works department has a thorough system for evaluating road quality, utilization, and project planning. If there's a road you have a concern about, give the city a call and see if it's on a project list, and if not ask them why not.

Feel free to read for yourself- http://www.cityoflewisville.com/wcmsi ... ing.nsf/Content/Documents
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Anonymous
Posted: 2011/4/21 10:37  Updated: 2011/4/21 10:51
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
But Neigborhood Street Improvements is listed as a $0 amount. Concrete streets make up the majority of repairs, and they are all on the West side of town.

FYI- we have asked for Milton Street to be repaired for years now, its condition is rated as poor by the city. CDBG money was suposed to be used for it in 2010, but no change yet.

Listing streets with the city and asking for repairs does no good, in my experience.
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TJGilmore
Posted: 2011/4/21 12:12  Updated: 2011/4/21 12:12
Contributor (Verified User)
Joined: 2009/9/17
From: Lewisville, Tx.
Posts: 79
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
I've also been disappointed by the speed of the Milton refit. At last report, if I recall correctly, there were significant drainage and sewer issues that had to be addressed which slowed down the refit.

Rebuilding parts of the road would have led to potential flooding of neighborhood homes.

I'll dig into it further and see what the direction is.
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WhosPlayin
Posted: 2011/4/21 13:19  Updated: 2011/4/21 13:19
Editor
Joined: 2008/12/12
From:
Posts: 3893
 Re: Hill's Comments on Lewisville Debt Unjustified
I'm not that familiar with Milton, but a lot of the older streets are mounded over at a grade that is as high or higher than the houses, with ditches along each side. So it's not simply re-paving, but re-engineering to add curbs, gutters, and drainage. The folks who live in Old Town know what I'm talking about, but not sure all of us over on the West side have seen it.
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