Composed 7 May 2011 Disclaimer - I still have a lot to learn about the workings of the city



Aquatic Center Votes
Monday's Cost
Operating Cost
Case Studies
Site Development
Project Costs
Opportunity Cost
My Conclusion

Master Plan
Monday's Agenda
Agenda Page
Web Broadcast
TIF Summary


 As a citizen that has to pay taxes I feel I've done more than any resident should have to do to try and understand the reasoning behind the current City Council's decision making process.  I also feel the questions I pose and the position I am taking is representative of a normal working person in the city.  However, there is a lot of information that would be useful in the decision making process that I am not aware of and that I would know if I had some experience on city council and / or one of the committees.

For instance, I have no idea what the city's total budget is and how much of the non-payroll revenues this project could effect.  If $10 million is a small percentage of the capital improvement portion of the budget then it is unlikely to effect your property tax one way or the other.

Another item; council did a by name request for the engineering management firm they intend to hire to do the project.  There was some discussion in the Administration Committee meeting why this was done.  My apologies for not listening better - I had just gotten a copy of the Master Plan and was looking at it.  Even though I wasn't listening intently of what I did hear, the discussion seemed reasonable.  Later in the meeting when I heard that the engineering management firm would be compensated at the high end of the pay scale I really wish I had paid better attention earlier.  Then it turns out the companies the engineering management firm will use to construct the project will not have to go through the normal bidding process.  Picking an expert who has done good work in the past can be a good idea. There are even times when paying top dollar for that expert makes sense.  In this case though my inexperience makes it hard for me to understand how in these economic times paying at the top of the scale and then not getting assurances the rest of the work will be done at prices reflective of the economic conditions shows good stewardship of our taxes. 


As a councilman I will also have to learn how to speak city hall.  For instance I went to the May 4th Administration meeting with a very different expectation than what actually occurred at the meeting.  I had no idea the Master Plan was being presented.  I went there to hear about the bond issue they were going to discuss.

This leads to another aspect of the council that I don't know.  How much compensation do council members receive?  I've not looked into this because compensation falls way below the two main reasons I'm running for council; I am looking for the political experience that will show I could be a good congressman and I'm interested in knowing from an insiders point of view how our taxes are being spent.  But it is reasonable for the compensation rate to affect how much time council members devote to looking into the details.  

Concerning council pay, I've read in a Dayton Daily news article that the council member that deployed to Iraq volunteered to give up his $300 a month council pay in order to keep his seat on the council.  If that turns out to be the full compensation rate for council members Huber Heights is getting great service.  The May 4th Administrative meeting started at 5:30 I had figured it would go about an hour and a half.  When I left at 8pm they hadn't even started the agenda items of the main meeting. This single committee meeting could have been a 5 hour long.  Each council member also attends the main meeting and I would hope they do background reading.  This would be a lot of time for $300.

When I filed my financial disclosure form with the State I called the office in charge of the form and asked "do I fill out the block for municipalities that pay less than $16,000 a year or more than $16,000 a year."  That office believes the correct choice is more than $16,000 a year.  If council members are making more than $16,000 a year than the public should be asking for better communication about what is going on within city business. Pay rate and the level of work a normal council member should be doing is something I could probably find out now but I definitely will know once I am on the council.

I need to talk about political experience and formal political support. My friends and neighbors have been supportive of my campaigning.  They have volunteered to help hand out pens and provided a presence for me at the polls on election day.  I hope someday to inspire people to examine and debate the details of politics like they do sports or movies.  But I've not achieved that yet.  And I've not networked enough to find the people that already have that interest.

 Finally, I know these articles will have some sentences that aren't sentences.  Also, some good points will not have made it into these pages.  When I have a week between when I first write and my final edit the sentence structure turns out to be a lot better.  I present these pages in the form they are presently in because I believe Monday's vote is important enough to talk about even if the presentation isn't as professional as I would like.    


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