Resigning councilman warns against expenditures

By Michael Robertson | Published Saturday, December 29, 2012

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With my resignation now being given, I would like to address the following issues as a citizen.

I believe trying to bring a fully operational sewer system to the city of Paradise at this time would be a major mistake and an extreme tax burden to the citizens. We currently have an incomplete water system because that project was presented to the people of Paradise by a group of consultants and contractors who knew from the start it could never be completed for the amount originally presented.

On the Dec. 20 agenda was a vote to purchase land the council had already decided not to purchase at a prior meeting for around $225,000. This property is not well-suited for the future needs of a sewer system. At that prior meeting, council decided to spend funds to expand the incomplete water system instead.

If the council decides to purchase this property with a bank loan, it will force an increase in the current tax rate beginning next year and will deplete the city’s cash reserve by approximately $16,000 before the new tax rate increase can take effect to cover the cost of a note payment. The new tax increase will cost each household about $120 a year, just for this property.

Another item concerning a sewer system is taking over the school’s current waste disposal system. I would like to remind the council and make the citizens aware that that system is in need of repair already and will require an upgrade in the very near future.

I know Mr. (Monty) Chapman (Paradise ISD superintendent) would like to get it out of his responsibility and off his budget, but keep in mind the school system budget is several times that of the city and the tax burden to assume responsibility for it alone will be high. Then the city will also have to run lines and add lift stations to tie into that system. This idea had also been discussed and decided against at a prior meeting.

Implementing a sewer system sounds like a good idea, but so did the water system – and it’s still incomplete because people didn’t stop and analyze the whole situation. The few households within the city limits will have a tremendous tax burden to bear with the cost to implement and maintain something I believe most have no desire for.

If the council truly feels this is the best route to take the city down, I hope they put out a survey or a petition to the citizens before passing something only on the recommendation of people who don’t even live in our town.

The real cost of trying to implement a sewer system is not going to be $1.2 million or $1.7 million; it will be at least $5 million to do it correctly and probably closer to $7 million. Keep in mind that’s just to put the system in, not hire operators, run the system or maintain it. It is not like the water system where we just buy the water, put it in the tower and let it run back out; it’s much more involved.

My hope and prayer is that wisdom and practical analysis of all the facts dealing with this sewer system idea will guide the council’s decision.

The decision to put up eight or 10 four-way stop signs on every corner of a very small section of the city, when we don’t even have a police staff, leaves me with some doubt, though.

This year’s budget for street signs was $1,000, and there has been more than $3,000 in materials alone spent. This doesn’t include the cost to install them. I would not consider this a wise use of the people’s money and neither would a sewer system be at this time.

Michael Robertson

One Response to “Resigning councilman warns against expenditures”

  1. Maritha Gan says:

    Looks like we lost a wise councilman. Someone who is frugal in tough economic times. I hate to see Paradise get in-debt to the banks when the citizens are being taxed too much already. Are our property taxes which are tied to the value of our homes actually going down as our houses are worth less because of the economy? No! Next they will be taking in Homeland Security money so that the Council can become “Federalized” like the Decatur City Council and Police. (Beware of selling your soul to the devil.) Delaware has relieved the Sheriffs of their state of the right to make arrests…can you see what is going on here. Mr. Robertson seems like he had the city and its residents best interests in mind. Sad to see him go.


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