I watched the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting on Thursday, December 3 and during the comment period at the end, I heard Dennis Waldron make a certain claim. He said he has cut $2 million from the city budget. He Cut $2 MILLION From the Budget.
If youâ€™ll recall, This is LaVergne outlined how much the budget would have to be cut in an article published in August 2014 if taxes were reduced to 75 cents (from $1). Reducing taxes would have removed $1.875 million per year in revenue. To accomplish this kind of budget cut, both the Public Library and the Parks & Rec Department would have their budgets slashed in half, the Senior Center would have to be closed, all culture funding would be stopped (Meals on Wheels, for example), Public Works would lose half its budget (no more street repairs, salting, etc.), the grant writer position would be gone, the Public Relations Director position would be gone, and finallyâ€¦ the Police Department would have to slash and lay off personnel.
None of this has happened and yet the mayor claims he has cut the budget by $2 million? How is this possible? We believe voters have the right to know the truth. And the truth is he is not telling the truth. He DID NOT â€œcutâ€ the budget. The budget did go down by $2 million, but thatâ€™s because the fire department purchase was paid off in the previous budget. That purchase of the formerly privately owned fire department will result in a savings over the term of the previous contract of about $7 million to the city.
Not only that, but the previous administration also ordered new trucks for the fire department because the others were falling apart. Yes the new trucks came in under this mayorâ€™s watch. But they were ordered and paid for through the professional decisions and management of the previous administration.
The mayor DID NOT cut the budget as he claims. However he HAS been busy using city resources to callÂ escort services and driving his TWO city trucks around everywhere while he conducts personal business (breakfast at Shoneys every morning, for example). And he is spending your tax dollars as if money grows on trees.
Dennis Waldron and his â€œyes menâ€ have been costing taxpayers a LOT of money. Letâ€™s break it down according to city records and resources.
- Settled lawsuits for people who campaigned for him
$50,000 Word of Life Church
- $65,000 Created new assistant job in HR
- $50,000 Made the job of one person bullied out of position into two jobs â€“ city recorder and public information officer
- $65,000 Employees on administrative leave with pay and with benefits for 13 months
- Good employees with high moral standards and strong sense of ethics have sadly left: Assistant Police Chief Keith Lowery, Fire Inspector Dennis Blair, City Recorder/PIO Kathy Tyson
- Rezoned lower density residential areas to higher density (more houses, more crowded neighborhoods, no plans for infrastructure growth and maintenance in the areas) (yay for builders who funded his campaign!)
- Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx and a Dennyâ€™s restaurant – all gone. Gone because the mayor is incompetent and did not know how to keep the businesses that had been attractedÂ by the previous economic development team.
- The mayor claimed 200 new business licenses were issued in one month! Â The reality is these â€œnew businessesâ€ are the subcontractors currently building Walmart. Thatâ€™s the Walmart being constructed because of efforts of the previous economic development team that included former Mayor Senna Mosley and Kathy Tyson (as well as Alderman Tom Broeker and the City Planner who continue to fight for what’s right).
- Well at least this groupÂ finally fixed that KFC intersection, right? RIGHT? Sorry, but he canâ€™t claim that either. That engineering study was ordered and the work was funded in advance by â€¦ the previous administration.
Hereâ€™s why our residents should be paying attention. We should all be asking if we will be facing the same mess our city faced in 2010 after this mayor and his followers are done playing with our city resources, our money, our town.