City Council Topics

I am now placing all the City Council Packet Information on this page. Please click open the file of the date you want to view. In that file you will see everything that the City Council has within their laptops and written reports. It will contain the meeting agendas, minutes from the previous meetings, financials, staff reports, proposals, and every ordinance or resolution that the Council approves or passes on. Some of these files are large, so please remember that it may take a while to load them depending on your internet connection.

You will need Microsoft Word to read the documents, Microsoft Excel Viewer to read the spreadsheets, and Adobe Reader to view the large reports. If you need to download a free version of Adobe Reader, please click the following link: Adobe® Reader® 7.0

If you need Microsoft Excel Viewer 2003, please click the following link:
MS Excel Viewer 2003

If you have a problem with reading or downloading any of these files, please contact me at: info@TimMikeska.com

 

The Council Archives Of My 3 Year Term:

May 12, 2005 April 26, 2005 April 21, 2005 April 14, 2005
March 22, 2005 March 17, 2005 March 10, 2005 Feb. 22, 2005
Feb. 10, 2005 Jan, 25, 2005 Jan. 13, 2005 Dec. 9, 2004
Nov. 23, 2004 Nov. 11, 2004 Oct. 25, 2004 Oct. 20, 2004
Oct. 14, 2004 Oct. 13, 2004 Sept. 28, 2004 Sept. 9, 2004
Sept. 1, 2004 Aug. 24, 2004 Aug. 12, 2004 July 29, 2004
July 22, 2004 July 8, 2004 June 22, 2004 June 10, 2004
May 26, 2004 May 13, 2004 April 27, 2004 April 8, 2004
March 23, 2004 March 11, 2004 Feb. 24, 2004 Feb. 12, 2004
Jan. 27, 2004 Jan. 8, 2004 Dec. 9, 2003 Nov. 13, 2003
Oct. 28, 2003 Oct. 9, 2003 Sept. 23, 2003 Sept. 11, 2003
Aug. 26, 2003 Aug. 19, 2003 Aug. 7, 2003 July 22, 2003
July 10, 2003 June 24, 2003 June 12, 2003 May 27, 2003
May 6, 2003 April 22, 2003 April 10, 2003 March 25, 2003
March 13, 2003 Feb. 25, 2003 Feb. 13, 2003 Feb. 6, 2003
Jan. 28, 2003 Jan. 9, 2003 Dec. 17, 2002 Nov. 25, 2002
Nov. 14, 2002 Oct. 22, 2002 Oct. 10, 2002 Sept. 24, 2002
Sept. 12, 2002 Aug. 27, 2002 Aug. 20, 2002 July 23, 2002
July 11, 2002 June 25, 2002 June 13, 2002 May- 2002 Mikeska term begins

The Following Are My Views and Opinions of Important Topics During My Term As A Councilmember:

Click on a Topic or Scroll Down to View

 

Lower Water Utility Rates Civil Service Commission
Street Improvements... Finally ! Retail Development
2004 - 2005 Budget Police and Fire Budgets
Victim Services Proposal 2005 Tax Rate

 

Topics relating to 2002-2003

Taylor Public Library Taylor Municipal Airport
Budget Through Truck Ordinance
Trash-Brush Collection Street Improvements
Drainage Improvements Residential Foundations
T.E.D.C Grocery Store Options
School Zone Improvements Taylor City Cemetery
Wholesale Water Agreements Taylor Fire Department
Taylor Police Department New User Fees
Dove Hunting in City Limits Tax Abatements
Water and Wastewater 1935 City Hall
Board and Commission Appts. Facilities Committee
City Manager Review BRA - Water Plant Info.
Assisted Living Centers Voter Bond Projects
Water Bill Errors Residential Lot -Home Restrictions
Bond Vote Results & Comments CENTEX Airport Project & POLL
Planning Committees Taylor Municipal Court
Police and Fire Civil Service ? Charter Provision for Direct Legislation
WCID #2...... WHY?  

Please Scroll Down To View Specific Topic Updates

Water Plant Sale Results in Lower Utility Bills

Summer was welcomed in Taylor by the City Council approving lower utility rates for both residential and commercial customers. The completion of the sale of our Water Plant to BRA was the catalyst for this new savings to our citizens. BRA also submitted a plan to the City that states their plans on the expansion of the new Lake Granger Regional Water Treatment Facility. This plan calls for a new intake and an expansion to 6 million gallons of treatable water per day. I hope these discounted rates are continued indefinitely to help our citizens. I feel however, that this is only temporary and within the next few years these rates will rise to pay for additional water supply improvements.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Civil Service Commission

The Council appointed the slate of candidates that was presented by our City Manager. Leland Enochs, Mary Chapa, and Leon Nickerson were unanimously approved. These will be excellent commissioners that will adopt rules and serve as an appeal board for personnel issues involving the Police and Fire Departments.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

New Street Improvements

Finally after a long delay involving the utilities being moved, Howard and North Drive construction has begun. This is one of the many frustrating things about city business. Projects move too slow. These projects should have been completed along with the Sloan Street improvements. In addition to these two projects, over 10 miles of city streets will be seal coated this year.
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New Retail Developments

North Taylor is booming....! The new SuperWalmart and the new HEB are both open and business is good. In May, I attended the International Council of Shopping Centers Convention in Las Vegas. Also attending was our City Manager, Mayor and our Economic Development Director. We spent long days visiting many retailers attempting to sell Taylor. I was very impressed with just how many already new about our benefits and development areas. I wish I could mention all of the retailers and developers we met with, but I must respect their wishes and limit my information due to their competitive strategies. I don't ever remember walking and visiting with so many people in such a short time. I must admit that it was an exhaustive effort for someone recovering from an illness. But I really believe that we must promote Taylor directly to these retailers. We thanked Walmart for their tremendous investment in our community. I feel they were pleased that elected officials from a small Texas community would take their time to come to Las Vegas and thank them for their commitment.
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2004 - 2005 Budget

The City Manager has submitted his budget for 2004 and 2005. Staff has worked very hard on this very difficult task. I am somewhat pleased with our revenue projections based on the tax base estimates and increase in sales taxes. I do, however, think the sales tax increase estimates are estimated too low at only 8%. There is an increase of $ 100,000 in administrative costs. This additional cost is directly related to the staff submitting a budget which calls for an Assistant City Manager, an Accountant and additional Clerical Staff. The 04-05 Budget calls for the following:

City Manager
$ 121,345.00
Assistant City Manager
$ 94,676.00
Finance Director
$ 70,669.00
Community Dev. Director
$ 75,788.00
Library Director
$ 55,250.00
Fire Chief
$ 72,759.00
Police Chief
$ 84,597.00
Public Works Director
$ 70,669.00


What you may not be seeing is a previously authorized City Accountant. I believe that salary is in the $ 50,000 range. The accountant and Assistant City Manager positions are brand new. During the City Managers review a few months ago, the Council asked the City Manager to attempt to keep key personnel by giving the Council notice if their were problems in key positions. In late spring, we lost our Finance Director. The City Manager proposed hiring both an Accountant and a Finance Director. Now the City Manager wants to bring our retired Finance Director back as the Assistant City Manager. Then place the ACM in charge of the two positions that were authorized to replace him. Confused? I gave my support to this venture until I realized some concerns presented to me by some of our staff and most importantly.... YOU THE CITIZENS ! This increase in our administrative costs is over $ 104,000.00 not including the staff accountant. I think we are a City that can afford to have an Assistant City Manager. I'm not sure if we need both an Accountant and a Director of Finance. What do you think? Let me know...
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Police and Fire Budgets 2004-2005

The Department Heads for both the Police and Fire Departments were given instructions to absorb the cost of Civil Service within their 2004-2005 Budget. In doing this, they raised the entry level positions and cut the pay of some of their senior officers. Additionally, some officers were given compensation based on their additional certifications that help serve the citizens. In the Police Department, 1 full time corporal position and a part time position were cut. I have to admit that I told the City Manager after the Civil Service vote that I wanted to keep the staffing and programs within these departments the same without any increases. I felt that they had each achieved Civil Service status by a very narrow margin and that I wanted to see how the new Commission and new Civil Service requirements were handled by the City. I was not for Civil Service since I thought we could change our personnel policy to reflect the benefits of Civil Service without deleting the merit raises that Civil Service discontinues. I am a strong believer that all termination's should be "for cause". Please read my additional statements further down on this page or simply CLICK HERE. I am very concerned that we are making a mistake by cutting the 1 1/2 Police Department positions. I fear that this will keep us behind the "service curve" that our citizens desire. These elimination's will hurt our response times and investigations. Our City is growing, both in retail and residential development. Cutting these positions is not the answer. I also fear that the Fire and Police Departments absorbing these Civil Service costs could be viewed as punishment for their efforts in seeking Civil Service protection.

Victim Services Proposal

During our recent Budget discussions, I instructed the City Manager to calculate the costs of having our own Victim Services Coordinator. These costs were estimated at a little over $ 50,000 I am a strong advocate of this program. For years, as a Fire Command Officer, I have seen the need for this valuable service. Williamson County has a Crime and Victim Services Department, however, they have been lacking in their service to the Taylor area. I can recall numerous incidents when I have called for victim services and have had to wait hours before they arrived. I have personally collected funds on the scenes of structure fires and accidents to help those who needed a hotel room or gas money. I recall vividly an incident many years ago when we collected money from our firefighters to help a young mother, who was homeless from a fire, purchase baby formula and diapers. I already had citizens willing to volunteer and donate relief funds for this program. I perceived this program as another "star in the crown" of our giving community. Something that helps those in desperate need. A true Christian effort to help those that immediately need relief through skilled volunteers and generosity.

** The City Council voted not to fund this program on a 4 to 1 vote with myself being the dissenting vote**

Instead they authorized the new Assistant City Manager position along with the additional clerical staff.

I guess what upsets me the most is that the Staff can always find money to fund projects or personnel they feel is necessary. They can manipulate the numbers to appear that their programs will not affect the budget or cost the taxpayers any more money. I know better, and many of you know the real truth.

E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

2005 Tax Rate

Well..... I tried.
I made a motion to set the tax rate at 72 cents. It was not seconded. I then asked for 73 cents. It was seconded by the Mayor but failed in a split vote 2-2 with one absent. Then, Councilmember McDonald moved for 74 cents. Councilmember Jez seconded the motion and the Mayor Hill voted with them. I voted no. The motion to set the rate at 74 cents was approved 3-1.

I do believe that the citizens need a break. We know that next year the rate will increase due to the voter bonds that were approved for the new library and fire station. That's a given. Why the Councilmembers could not give the citizens this small break is disturbing to me. It may not be much to most of us... but to some that break is very important.... very important indeed. Councilmember McDonald stated his feelings about this. He stated that the up turn in the local economy way be short lived. He also did not want to rely on our increased sales tax revenue and he also stated that the recent conversion to civil service is another reason to keep the rate higher in case of unforeseen expenses related to civil service. When I heard that I was somewhat distressed. Regardless of our feelings about civil service, it was voted on by our citizens and approved. We still should not punish everyone in the City of Taylor for this vote. It's over. We all have to live with it. It should have nothing to do with the tax rate. The City Manager had already instructed his department heads to absorb the new costs within their budget. That's why we are already loosing 2 1/2 positions in the police department. We have already been punished once... why punish everyone again with another penny in the Ad Valorem tax rate. Why?

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Charter Provision for Direct Legislation

A group of our citizens presented a petition that was verified by our City Clerks office requesting the Council adopt a petition regarding the proposed Central Texas Airport. On the advice of our City Attorney, we took no action because he was unsure if the petition as it was presented fell under the charter provisions as direct legislation. I understand that the language of the provision is meant to consider items that directly falls under laws that the city can control. I think we have to be very careful with this provision. If we don't find out what we can and cannot do regarding this provision, then we may be inundated with requests under this provision to regulate all kinds of laws effecting our citizens. This could be very costly to the city. Technically, we could have city wide elections using this provision at every state mandated election date. City wide elections cost an estimated 5 to 6 thousand dollars each time. I need some clarification on this matter. Since I am not an attorney, I will request an opinion from the Texas Attorney Generals Office.
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Taylor Municipal Court

The Taylor Municipal Court under the direction of the Council and City Municipal Judge Randall Pick has become a highly respectable professional court. Over the years, the court has endured a lot of changes. No one wants to be in a position to actually be called into court either for a jury summons, witness subpoena or an infraction, however, rest assured you will be handled professionally in our Municipal Court.
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Committees For Our Future

Recently, the City of Taylor held community meetings with our citizens concerning our Future Comprehensive Plan and our Park Masterplan. These meetings were very well attended and the input from our citizens will be very valuable. The City has contracted with Angelou Economics and Wilbur Smith Associates to develop the best possible plan for our future. We continue to need your input and I stress the importance this information will be to our future quality of life. I attended the Parks Masterplan meeting and realized the need for our youth to have a skateboard facility and additional youth oriented programs. When I was growing up in Taylor, we had a very successful "teen den" in Murphy Park. Ping Pong, pool, darts, and other games were available with adult supervision. We need a facility like this along with an area for our youth to rollerblade, skate, bike ride, and skateboard.
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CENTEX Airport Facility

** Let me clarify something, TXDOT has not asked the City of Taylor to be a partner on this project by contributing funds for the completion and operations for the CENTEX airport. I would not be in favor of the City of Taylor spending any funds on this project. We have to many projects that warrant our immediate attention. **

As many of you may know, Taylor Municipal Airport (T74) has made the short list for the planned 60 million dollar CENTEX Airport. We are contending with sites near Hutto and Manor. This is a very unique opportunity for Taylor. Projects of this magnitude rarely come our way. Many of my constituents have long complained to me about their property taxes. The school district, city and county taxes are increasing without additional economic impact from developments that Taylor has been loosing. It’s now time for us to realize the potential economic impact of this project.

The following text is taken from some of my letters to our citizens inquiring about the proposed airport:

There are a tremendous amount of rumors and unqualified information about this proposed facility. Hopefully, this letter can clear some of them up and make you aware of the scope of the possible benefits this facility would bring to Taylor.

Concerns regarding "large jet traffic" must imply that many believe big Boeing Jets will be using this facility. Why would they? Just because a runway is going to be 7,000 feet, does not imply that 737’s would land here. They have to have a reason to. As it was stated, this would not be a commercial carrier facility or a fleet cargo facility. It is reasonable to assume that a small Cessna Caravan type cargo carrier could use this facility. Businesses such as these create jobs. Large Boeing type jets could land on 7,000 feet but why would they want to? Where are they going? As some of you may know, I am a pilot and have been involved in aviation for over 20 years. Aircraft such as these are very expensive to operate and require commercial applications to support their operation. It’s possible to land a 737 on 7,000 feet, but when you fill it full of passengers or cargo it may not be within the distance/weight/stop/go limitations for takeoff. TXDOT has advised the City of Taylor that the ramp, taxiway and runway weight restriction will be 60,000 lbs on this facility. That means that only general aviation aircraft will be capable of meeting the weight restriction requirements. No, 737, 727 and larger commercial aircraft can use this facility since they will exceed the weight restriction. TXDOT has reiterated the fact this is not a commercial airport. It’s general aviation only. General aviation is everything that is not commercial or military.

Nobody wants to do anything that may decrease their own property values. Would this actually happen? I don't know. I have been told that the Williamson County Appraisal District plans on lowering the value on homes in Taylor due to the fact we have over 150 on the market that are not selling. However, if Taylor gets additional jobs related to the airport, the marketability and increased home sales customer base may increase the value of homes in Taylor. It does not matter what the market value of a home in Taylor is if you don’t have new people with jobs that can purchase them.

It is a fact that modern jet aircraft are now being built quieter. 25 years ago, commercial and business aircraft were built using turbojet axial flow design. They were very noisy. Most importantly to the owners, they burned large amounts of jet fuel. Over time, these aircraft were built or retrofitted with high-bypass turbo fan-jet technology. They are much quieter and burn 75% less fuel than the old axial flow turbojets. I am not aware of any modern manufactured business or commercial jet that does not use this new type of engine. I have heard the "howl and growl" from the crop dusters for years. I can actually tell when they depart the runway early in the morning from my home on Cypress Trail.. As a Councilmember, trains and loud stereo systems are the most prolific complaint that I hear from my constituents in regard to noise. We must also remember that we currently have no noise abatement policies in affect for our airport. There are only published recommended traffic patterns. In a new State managed facility with a control tower, there would be tower controllers managing the traffic flow that will increase safety and prohibit aircraft from flying over our homes at low altitude. We could also mandate by ordinance a noise abatement policy that could answer some of the noise concerns. The noise at McKinney Airport was minimal. We traveled to Addison Airport and parked on the departure end of the runway. We witnessed a Lear Jet takeoff and the noise from that aircraft was not much more dominant than a truck that passed by. I plan on flying a business jet into our present airport and have sound level (VU) monitors at Pasemann Elementary and the Middle School. I also want people monitoring the noise from their homes. I will have the Taylor Daily Press report the date and time for this experiment.

The realistic value of this facility being an economic benefit may be the easiest question that I can answer. It will. I travel to general aviation airports all over the southwest United States. Where there's an airport, there is economic benefit. Cities that have general aviation facilities are considered progressive and have strong economic potential. Some are concerned that bars, and gentlemen's clubs usually locate near an airport. That would definitely concern me too. However, I can assure you the City of Taylor has in place ordinances that will protect us from these unwanted businesses. Remember, we do not have liquor by the drink in this part of the county. Therefore bars with liquor would not be possible.

There are concerns that no tax revenue will be created by this facility and the loss of 700-800 acres from the property tax rolls would be detrimental. The adjoining private property values would increase substantially. That will offset, many times over, the loss from the tax rolls of 800 acres that are now currently listed as agriculture exempt. Property adjoining this facility may not be valued by the acre, but possibly by the square foot. Property Tax revenue from this facility could be the first real relief that the citizens of Taylor may see in the near future regarding Ad Valorem property taxes. Consider this… One moderately valued business jet (Lear 35 or CitationJet) based at this facility would probably be on the tax rolls at 2 million dollars. Remember, all business aircraft are subject to property taxes where they are based, not where the company is actually located. 2 million dollars on the tax roll is the same as having 20 new masonry homes. However, these aircraft do not place any additional stress on our school system since they have no children. They place no additional pressure on the city infrastructure since the infrastructure will be provided by the State of Texas. In McKinney the City had to spend millions of dollars to build and run that facility. The State of Texas will do that for us. We get all the benefit from the property taxes, sales taxes, jobs, and economic windfall without city bonds, or use of the city’s cash reserves. The taxable aircraft value will provide a lot of money to our city, school and county in the means of property taxes. That's just one airplane. If we have only 20 business aircraft based here in our taxing district, it could provide huge sums of money that may finally relieve our current tax burden. I don't know about you, but it makes me physically sick to pay the astronomical amount of property taxes we have in Taylor. A new Gulfstream V-SP costs about 30 million dollars. Consider what that aircraft or 10 more like it would generate in property taxes. Recently the Taylor Independent School District announced that there would be a huge budget shortfall of over 1 million dollars in the present and following school year. Taylor is bleeding. We need positive economic growth.

Now lets look at sales taxes. All sales of aircraft equipment and associated labor revenue at this facility will partly return to Taylor. We must see some type of relief in our property taxes. Economic impact, along with an increase in sales tax revenue is our salvation from high Ad Valorem taxes. Recently the Williamson County Appraisal District levied a new property tax on leased property. That means for all of those companies who lease City or State property must now pay leasehold value taxes. This currently affects our airport. Pilots who rent our local airport T-hangars now have to pay property taxes even though the City of Taylor owns the property. I can't tell you how many phone calls I had on this. It really seems unfair, but their interpretation of the law says they must pay it.

We have been advised that if the Hutto site is selected we may have to close our municipal airport with the loss of all of the money the city, county and the federal government has invested over the last 50 years. We are at the mercy of the federal government regarding decisions to maintain our present facility. They may decide that both sites are too close to be viable general aviation facilities. Additionally, please don't assume that the local pilots or aircraft owners are generally in favor of the new CENTEX airport being located in Taylor. I have found only a few that were in favor. Since this new facility would have a governing FAA office or control tower, many are afraid that their "small town" airport will disappear. What I mean by saying "small town" is this..... Currently we have no controlling authority to manage the airplane traffic. Local pilots are worried that they will face stricter enforcement from the government and an increase in possible infractions, fines and suspensions. In other words... more rules ! Remember, I am one of those local pilots. But again, I cannot consider what is best for me. My job is to look at the entire benefit to the public. Please don't think that I will support this airport since I am a retail business owner. This facility won't be built for 5 to 6 years. My health will cause me to retire much sooner than that.

I traveled to McKinney Texas to view first hand the Collin County Regional Airport. I was highly impressed with the facility and the economic benefit it awarded the City of McKinney and the School District. A school board member stated that the Texas Instruments hangar and 2 Global Express Jets put 600 children through school from the benefit of the property taxes the aircraft generate. That's over 500,000 dollars! The jobs both direct and indirect are pivotal in the low jobless rate in Collin County.

Here are some figures from the McKinney Economic Development Corporation:

** Collin County Regional Airport supports approximately 165 full-time aviation-related jobs, with an estimated direct payroll of $5.6 million.
** The direct output attributable to the airport is estimated to be more than $33.3 million.
** More than 19,000 general aviation visitors arrive at the airport each year, supporting more than 120 jobs and $2.5 million in payroll.
** General Aviation visitors are also responsible for over $4 million in direct output.

Total Employment = 470 jobs
Total Payroll = $13.1 million
First Round Impacts = $37.3 million
Secondary Impacts = $28.4 million
Total Impacts = $65.7 million

Many argue about their personal property holdings and the effect this facility may have on their property values. I also have a lot of property in Taylor. I have a home on 2 acres on Potomac St. I am part of a group that has 60 acres consisting of Mustang Creek Golf Course. I have almost an entire downtown city block on West 2nd Street. I have a home on Johnson Drive, 4 lots on Johnson Drive, and a home on Cypress Trail that are all within the great circle depicted on the TXDOT map. I also have a lot of property value at stake. I, however, cannot consider that since it's my job as a Councilmember to do what is right for everyone in Taylor and not just a select few. The single family residences in the close vicinity of the McKinney Airport have seen a steady increase in property values. In fact the Mayor of McKinney informed us that the area around the airport has increased in value percentages higher than the areas further west of the facility.

I must make something very clear. When I took office 2 years ago I promised that I would vote for projects that created good quality jobs. I learned many years ago when I was President of the Taylor Chamber of Commerce that "quality of life"… begins with a job. It does not matter the kind of home you have or the type of car you drive. It does not matter what kind of park you have near your home or how your city’s infrastructure is maintained. Without a job, most of that is useless. Many people in our community need jobs. I have had numerous calls from our citizens that implore me to vote for this project because it will provide needed jobs. Most of the citizens who are worried about this facility have nice homes provided by good jobs. Many of our neighbors are not in that position and I understand their anguish. A few have told me that I should not look at those with the personal issues of "not in my backyard" and vote for the welfare of the citizens who need the tax relief and jobs.

There is a large silent majority that trusts the council will do what is right for the entire city. They don't come to council meetings, and they don't write letters to the editor. They simply call, write, talk directly or e-mail me with their concerns. What do I tell those citizens struggling in our community without adequate jobs? What do I tell them when they call me complaining about their high property taxes? This is becoming very personal for some of our citizens. This issue becomes an emotional topic when it becomes personal. You must understand, that it's the Councils job is to do what is best for all of Taylor. It can't be personal for us.

This facility is a long way from being decided upon. There will be numerous hearings required to address environmental issues and transportation issues. The State of Texas rarely proceeds with a project of this magnitude without public meetings and hearings. I will always respect the public and listen to their concerns. I hope we can be equitable and fair to all of our citizens.
Tim Mikeska

I have begun to record all of my contacts with the public and their stance on the CENTEX Airport issue.

** I am including those citizens who appear with their opinions during the citizens communication period at our Council meetings.
Type of Contact  
YES
NO
Undecided
Phone Call   47 35 0
In Person   53 48 7
E-Mail   97 52 2

Totals as of 3-23-04

  197 135 9

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Police and Fire Civil Service ?

Within the near future, the citizens of Taylor may be asked to vote in a civil service election for our local Police Department and Fire Department. Nearby cities, Pflugerville, Georgetown, Round Rock, and Cedar Park have recently approved civil service in their cities. Are we ready for this in Taylor? I am undecided. There are benefits and problems associated with civil service. I need your input.

Update March 11th, 2004

The Taylor City Council received a petition meeting the requirements for a city wide vote on the Civil Service issue. I wish the fire department and police department personnel would have given me a chance to present my proposal that I believe would have been approved by the city council.
I wanted to present the following changes to our personnel policy regarding these departments. 1. The changing of "At-Will" employment to termination's by "For Cause" only. I believe strongly for this since the debacle in our county by an appointed sheriff terminating over 20 employees for no reason.
2. The increase in "carry over" time relating to both vacations and sick time. I would have matched the requirements stated in civil service. It's my opinion that the current policy punishes those dedicated employees that do not abuse the system.
3. An increase in yearly accumulation of both vacation and sick time. I would have presented a plan that would have exceeded the civil service requirements.
4. Complete paid compensation of accumulated sick and vacation time at the time of the employees retirement. I would have matched the civil service requirement.
5. Continuation of Merit Raises. This is not allowed under civil service. I feel this is very important to reward those employees that strive hard to excel in their field.
6. Paid compensation for all employees that receive additional certifications and training related to their specialty. I believe in this very strongly. As Vice President of the Williamson County Fire Chiefs Association, I see many other departments who award those employees who seek additional training. This is good for the department and our citizens who benefit from their training.

** I believe I could have achieved these goals for our fire and police department. You may ask, why argue over this issue if civil service provides all of these same items you would have implemented? It's because I have been told by other departments that civil service implementation may promote mediocrity. It does away with merit raises that can award those employees who work hard. It promotes employees who can test better than anyone else. As a firefighter, I don't want the Lieutenant in charge of getting me out of a difficult situation to have had the ability to take a test better than someone who has leadership, common sense and most important.... bravery! Like many of you, I know people who can study a book and ace a test. But in reality, they don't have the leadership or common sense especially in an intense emergency situation. I was told a story recently about a department that had a firefighter that was a gulf war veteran who also spent time in Kuwait battling oil well fires. He was incredibly brave and dedicated. He was held in high regard by all of his fellow firefighters. But he had problems with tests. He tested for every promotion but was always passed over due to poor scores. His new Captain was only in the department a short time and excelled in his test scores. He had neither the experience or the nerves to handle difficult situations. This almost cost 2 firefighter their lives.

I guess what disappoints me the most is I was never given the chance to achieve these goals. I am also disappointed in the fact that some of our citizens were misled during the petition drive. I talked to a few of the citizens who signed the petition and they told me why they signed it. An honorary retired volunteer firefighter who signed the petition told me that the firefighter told him that .... "it was time that we received a retirement plan". Well, that's not very factual. The police officers and firefighters already have a retirement plan and civil service will not effect it. Another person told me that the petition presenter told him that they had not received a raise in over 5 years. That's not true. In the two years I have been on the council, they received raises both years. I don't like it when our current policy or practices within our city is misrepresented.

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Type of Contact
Yes
No
Undecided
Phone Call 9 6 3
In Person 12 12 2
E-Mail 11 18 1
Totals 3-23-04 32 36 6

Williamson County Water Control and Improvement District No. 2.

Tonight (March 11th 2004) the Taylor City Council did a political favor one of our county commissioners. They approved the creation of a Water Control and Improvement District for property outside our city limits that is owned by our county commissioner and his family. It serves absolutely no purpose or benefit for our taxpayers and citizens. The other council members and city staff were afraid that if we did not approve this project that the commissioner may retaliate by limiting the county support of projects in our area. As you may guess by now, I was strongly opposed to this. It benefits not one single citizen of Taylor. Additionally if the District accumulates debt, and the City annexes that area in the future, the City must assume that debt. I am disappointed in my fellow council members. I would never let the possibility of another elected official limiting their local funding of projects in determining a vote on a project that directly benefits that elected official. I do not believe in that. This vote should be in the dictionary under examples of "good ole boy politics"

Update March 23, 2004

Wow !.......... I would never have imagined the amount of feedback regarding my comments to this item. I actually had people waiting for me at home after the press ran this story with my above mentioned comments. Phone calls, e-mail's, and even 3 people at Mass last Sunday approached me. All of them had positive comments. Many are disappointed with our local county politics and the way business is handled. I believe the recent appointment of a sheriff in Williamson County that was not elected by the public and who recently lost the election (3rd place) is one of the main reasons the citizens are upset. I urge the County Commissioners to rectify this problem by letting the winner of the upcoming runoff be immediately appointed sheriff.
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November 4th, 2003 Bond Vote Results and Comments

The voters have spoken. The Fire Station Bond Issue and The Library Issue have passed. The Community Center Issue failed. Now we must come together and make some tough decisions on our future. We have to evaluate our Community Improvement Projects and decide what we can immediately afford to support our growth and at the same time, support the retail developments and help control our rising property taxes. From talking to the people involved in the election, it appears that our senior citizens made up the majority of our voters. I hope in the future that everyone in our community will study the issues and vote for what they feel is best for our future. Citizens of my generation will have the burden of paying taxes for a long time. We must allow for our continued growth to alleviate our property tax burden and to increase our retail sales taxes. This is the key to our future quality of life in Taylor.
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Residential Lot and New Home Construction Ordinance

The Taylor City Council recently introduced an ordinance that will require some new home construction to have a minimum lot size of 7,000 sq. feet and a minimum livable area of 1,400 sq. feet. Additionally the ordinance will not consider hardi-plank or hardi-board as standard masonry to meet the 3 sided masonry requirements. This ordinance was recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission after a long 15 month deliberation. Members of the Austin Area Home Builders Association came to the meeting and voiced their concerns regarding this ordinance and their belief that this will curtail affordable housing in the Taylor area. The Planning and Zoning Commission had numerous public meetings and public hearings regarding these changes and few spoke about any perceived problems. I allowed this ordinance to be introduced on a 3-2 vote because I feel there was ample time to have public comment. Also, many of my constituents have told me their concerns about the quality of the homes that were being built near their homes. I am always open to hear additional concerns regarding this ordinance from the taxpayers or builders. Please e-mail me with your concerns.

Update October 28th, 2003

The Council has restructured this ordinance to grandfather all existing platted lots and homes from these new regulations. Additionally, we will use the entire under roof square footage to calculate the minimum size restrictions. We also will allow the solid composite cement hardi-plank for the masonry restrictions.
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Water Bill and Meter Reading Errors

Ouch !! ............. Yes, I have heard from many of you about this. I voiced my concerns to the City Staff and then I received MY water bill for my commercial business. It was about 400 % over the monthly average. The Staff took immediate corrective action in regards to the personnel problem and then they began to analyze the meter readings to find an equitable way of resolving this problem. Please contact City Hall at 352-3675 if you feel there was a problem with your water bill. The City will wave all late fees, penalties and interest charges for these effected bills.
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Bond Projects for Voter Approval

The facilities committee has presented their report to the Council. They voted unanimously to recommend the Council call a November bond election to decide 3 issues. To vote on an new Fire Station, Library, and Civic Center. The Council agreed and the voters in Taylor will have these choices in the November election.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Assisted Living Centers

On August 26th, 2003, the Taylor City Council was presented a plan to convert a residential home to an assisted living center for senior citizens. It was denied by a unanimous vote. The reason I denied this request was because of the safety issues. Lake Drive is a busy street and the house in question sat on one of the busiest intersections in town. I also have concerns about approving a project that had not been issued a license and had not been inspected by the fire department to guarantee compliance with the fire codes. We do need centers like this one in Taylor and I give the applicant credit for wanting to fulfill this need. We just need to find a safer place to facilitate this project.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Annual City Manager Review

December 17th, 2002
Tonight the City Council gave a favorable review to our City Manager Frank Salvato. Mr. Salvato carries a tremendous amount of knowledge in many different aspects of city operations. Mr. Salvato is very accessible to all of our citizens. His door is always open to our citizens and he encourages open communication. If you need to contact the City Manager, please call 352-3676
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

December 15th, 2003
Tonight the City Council again gave a positive review to our City Manager. He also received a modest cost of living salary increase. Mr. Salvato continues to have an "open door" policy for our citizens to voice their concerns directly to the source of our administration.

Facilities Committee

The City Council at its first meeting in October, named the Planning and Zoning Commission along with 5 individual Councilmember appointees to sit on the City of Taylor Facilities Committee to review and make recommendations to the Council regarding the future of our current building facilities. They will review the recent engineering study that discusses the future use of the library, 1935 City Hall, Downtown Fire Station, The old Taylor High School building and the current City Hall and Auditorium.

Update December 17,2002

The Facilities Committee continues to meet and review specific locations. They have a difficult task before them and I want to publicly thank them for their service. The City of Taylor is fortunate to have volunteers that will dedicate their time and energy to this very important committee. The Council looks forward to their final report.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Board and Commission Appointments

Throughout the year, the Taylor City Council appoints members of our community to serve on numerous advisory boards and commissions. If you would like to place your name on the appointment list please contact our City Clerk Barbara Belz at 352-3676 or e-mail your request to me and I will forward it. My only requirement for appointments is that you are willing to serve and that you are a citizen of Taylor. It can be very interesting work and it's an honorable duty to be able to serve your community by serving on any of our advisory boards.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

1935 City Hall

The City of Taylor will soon have to decide the fate of our 1935 City Hall. There are alliances forming to keep the structure and remodel it for public use including offices for the Chamber of Commerce. Others are supporting the razing of the building and replacing it with another useful structure. Some people feel this building has prominent historical value. Some people believe that razing the building will defeat the City of Taylor’s commitment to our Main Street Project. I am not an engineer or architect and I don’t see much historical uniqueness in the old City Halls design. That, of course, does not mean that there are citizens in my community that have strong opinions about keeping this building and those that want something different. We have to also consider the downtown fire station that has been located on that block since 1879. Consultants are studying the usefulness of the structure. They are also studying the most important factor….. $ Cost $. (See: Facilities Committee)

Update January 28, 2003

Tonight the City Council decided in a 4-1 vote to keep the $ 17,500 recently awarded to the City of Taylor from the Texas Historical Preservation Trust Fund for preservation work towards the 1935 City Hall. During the Council meeting, many citizens were present and voiced their concerns stating that returning the money would be the first step in the probable demolition of the structure and also that the return on the funds would possibly hurt our chances in receiving other grants from the State. I voted to keep the funds. I believe that we should continue to study the 1935 City Hall as being a viable building for offices. I also want to hear the final report from the Facilities Committee in regards to the future use of this building and finally I hope the City will conduct public hearings with the community to determine their thoughts about the future of this building. The Council agreed with the Facilities Committee to move the firefighters in the attached Fire Station to a portable facility on the grounds nearby.

I am unique, in the fact that from 1979 through 1985, I was a field Paramedic with Williamson County and our station was located with the Firemen at the downtown station. Since 1979, I have been involved with the Fire Department in numerous capacities and as of last week, being appointed Chief of The Taylor Fire District. I know that building very well. I even used the basement as an Emergency Operations Center in the early 1980's. I am one of a few citizens that can claim that building as being my home for 5 years.

Now, we have to decide what's best for our citizens. Not just those who are dedicated to historic preservation and Main Street, but all of our citizens.

Update June 1, 2003

The Facilities Review Committee and the City Council approved Kamatsu Architecture to investigate the continued feasibility of the Old 1935 City Hall. Soon the Committee will present their findings to the Council along with their recommendations.

Update August 5, 2003

This is another long and complicated project that the Facilities Committee has worked very hard on. Komatsu Architecture has presented their building estimates and comparisons on using the old 1935 City Hall for continued use as a fire station. This would be a major renovation. I will support the Facilities Committees recommendations and assume they will choose building a new station since the costs of both projects were very similar. I will vote to put this issue on a bond election.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Update August 14, 2003

This evening the Council and the Facilities Review Committee met in a public hearing at Taylor High School to discuss with the public Komatsu Architecture analysis of our options regarding the future use of the 1935 City Hall as a Fire Station. Here is the estimated project costs:

Phase
Remodel Station New Station
Design $
100,000
140,000
Construction $
1,050,000
1,360,000
Furnishings $
100,000
100,000
Land Costs $
0
100,000
     
Total $
1,250,000
1,700,000
 
 
450,000
 
or 36% for new

I have concerns regarding using this facility as a 21st Century Fire Station for the citizens of Taylor. I would prefer that this facility be used for something other than a Fire Station. That does NOT mean I want this facility torn down. I agree that if we are are truly dedicated to downtown renovation and our Main Street Program, we will find funds to rehabilitate the 1935 City Hall and find a proper use for it.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Tax Abatements

I have stated to many of my fellow citizens that I will carefully consider any proposed tax abatements. The recent default in Taylor Technologies has caused me great concern. In September, the Council approved an abatement for Basler. The building Basler had occupied has been empty for some time. An empty building without workers and equipment does little to boost or encourage our economy. Basler will remodel and add between 50 to 100 people to their workforce. I don't like it when a company that wants to move to Taylor says they will relocate or build in our area only if they receive an abatement. They should consider all the other things we can offer. I would also hope that any company considering Taylor as their home, would be financially sound enough not to depend on the financial savings offered by tax abatements. The citizens of Taylor are burdened by high Ad Valorem property taxes. One way to help decrease our dependence on Ad Valorem property taxes is to stimulate our retail sales. Retail sales and the important sales tax rendered from local purchases can be the best catalyst for decreasing our high property taxes. We should focus our business recruiting on retail sales. We need more than just homes in our community. We need additional restaurants, hotels, GROCERY STORES, and general retail merchandise stores. I would consider granting tax abatements for these types of businesses to encourage retail sales and to boost our local economy.

Update August 26, 2003

The Council recently approved tax abatements for 3 projects. ERCOT, Laboratory Tops, and Harimasa. These projects were already applied for prior to the Abatement Ordinance expiring on August 28th. Now, the staff and the Council are reviewing changes to this Ordinance that will make it more attractive to the Citizens of Taylor. We need to be competitive, but we also need to be very careful with how we give our money away. I came up with an idea to include a "point system" for companies who use local contractor services. It makes little sense to give a company an abatement, then they use Austin contractors for their projects. If a company uses local businesses and services, then points could be acquired that would go towards completing their abatement requirements.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Water and Wastewater

It's very important when you turn on your faucet and see good clean water and it's even more important when you flush your toilet and everything "goes away....."
I wish it was all that simple. This spring, the City had some problems with the taste and odor of our water. The water was safe, but this caused many of you to contact me and the other Councilmembers. The broken filters have been repaired and our increased monitoring should help prevent this from happening again. The infrastructure (water, sewer pipes and roads) in many of our areas around town are in bad shape. The City spends a lot of time repairing broken water lines. The old clay pipes and shifting black soil cause havoc with our water and street department. Tree roots, collapsed and blocked lines cause our wastewater department to spend a lot of time and money. We must work to replace these old lines.

The projected growth in Taylor will cause us to consider some important matters dealing with our waterplant on FM 1331. There may be a need to expand its capability. This will be expensive and the City is still carrying debt on the waterplant. The city has been approached by the Brazos River Authority to negotiate the possible sale of the waterplant. This will be one of the most important matters the Council will face this year. I believe water will be our most important resource in the future. I need your input.

 

Taylor Public Library

Our Public Library is one of our City’s most important assets.  The library staff brought to our attention the possibility that mold was evident in the building.  Environmental Technologies was hired to conduct testing.  They confirmed that mold did exist within the walls, ceilings, windows and other places throughout the building.  The Council had no choice but to temporally close the library.  Now a difficult challenge faces us.  Preliminary reports from the engineers include a lofty price tag to completely remediate and repair the building.  Additionally, the size of the facility as it exists today may not be large enough for Taylor’s projected growth.   The library staff has done an excellent job using other locations for resource study and accessibility.  Beginning in November, the City Hall Auditorium will be used as a temporary location.

Some of our options are:

·        Remediate the mold problem and make the necessary repairs to the existing structure.

·        Remediate the mold and increase the size of the structure to meet our future needs.

·        Remediate the mold and use the facility at its present size for other offices and build a new library.

·        Remove the structure and build a new library in it’s place

·        Remove the structure and build a new library at another location.

I have been very apprehensive regarding mold and its recent notoriety in Texas.  My mother used to call this “mildew” and she simply took care of it with some bleach.  Now as a Councilmember, I have to be very sympathetic to those citizens who may have sensitivity to mold and its possible adverse effects.  The council needs your input.  Before I vote to decide this issue, I want to hear from anyone willing to discuss the many choices available.

Update December 17, 2002

The Taylor Public Library has successfully moved to the Municipal Auditorium at 400 Porter Street. The Library is open to the public and the City of Taylor has remodeled the restrooms in the main foyer. The facilities committee continues to evaluate their options regarding the future location of the library and other city offices. I want to thank the staff of the library for their hard work and dedication in relocating our public library. (See: Facilities Committee)

Update August 5, 2003

The Facilities Committee will be presenting their final recommendation's to the Council within the next 30 days. I have reviewed the data and endorse the presentation of a bond issue to extensively renovate the present or build a new library facility.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Update August 14, 2003

This evening the Council and the Facilities Review Committee met in a public hearing at Taylor High School to discuss with the public Komatsu Architecture analysis of our options regarding our public library. Here is the estimated project costs:

Phase
Remodel Library New Library
Design $
250,000
270,000
Construction $
2,470,000
2,700,000
Furnishings $
330,000
330,000
Land $
not calculated
not calculated
Total $
3,050,000
3,300,000
  Difference
250,000
   
8% more for new
     

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 Budget 2002-2003

This was an extremely rewarding experience….  That is…. If you like getting flooded with numbers, requests, spreadsheets, hearings, and arguments for and against needed projects.   I have learned, in this my first budget process that there are always more requests from the city staff than money to finance their requests.  The city manager did an admirable job sorting through these requests to determine what departments needed the necessary funding.   There are no excessive projects planned in this budget.  We were able to keep the tax rate at last years operating and maintenance value but we had to increase the interest and sinking fund based on debt service requirements for voter approved bonds that were issued last year.

Budget 2003 -2004

The City of Taylor was surprised to learn that appraised property values actually decreased within the city causing us a projected budget shortfall approaching $ 200,000. The city manager and department heads refocused their priorities to absorb this shortfall and will soon present a balanced budget for fiscal year 2004. Through their efforts and the efforts of the present Council, the Ad Valorem tax rate should remain the same. If your appraisal decreased, this would mean you would be paying less taxes. Contrary, if your property appraisal increased in value, your Ad Valorem property taxes will increase.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Trash-Brush Collection

The spring storms and neglected curbside brush pick-ups have made this subject a matter of some conflict between our city staff and Waste Management.   The City Council and staff have heard your many concerns.  This problem seems to be getting better.  The city manager will maintain contact with Waste Management and monitor their progress.

Update October 22, 2002

The Council has authorized the City staff to advertise requests for qualifications to companies interested in contracting the solid waste collection services for both residential and commercial customers in Taylor. The current contract will expire on January 31st, 2003.

Update December 17, 2002

Tonight the City Council approved a new solid waste collection ordinance for both residential and commercial customers. IESI Corporation has an impressive history of service to their clients. The city manager contacted many of IESI's clients and all of them were complimentary of the company. IESI will begin providing service in February. If you have problems or complaints with their service, please contact the City of Taylor at 352-2066.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Drainage Improvements

I’m sure you have noticed the many areas around our city that have drainage problems.  The staff currently has ongoing improvements planned on Dickey and Avery Streets.   The staff has met with homeowners in the Donna and Paula street area to evaluate their needs.  We need to made aware of other areas in our city that needs drainage attention.

Update January 15th, 2003

I have heard from many of our citizens regarding the standing water and drainage problems all over town. Summit Circle, Rio Grande, Crystal Circle, Hillcrest, Edmond, South Doak and numerous downtown locations. The City (unfortunately) has very little funds in this years budget to address these concerns. We must begin planning to fix these drainage problems! I know we have a lot of projects with limited resources. I would hope that the city staff and Council will plan to address these problems as soon as funding can be secured. Our goal now is to make sure that future housing projects and subdivisions DO NOT create drainage problems for the homeowners who are already here.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Taylor Municipal Airport

This is another jewel in Taylor’s crown….  I spent almost 10 years on the airport board seeking improvements to our airport.  The airport is one of the city’s few revenue-generating ventures.  My goal since being involved with the airport was to make the airport an “income producing” business for the city.  Originally we wished that the airport would be self-supporting.  Now that this has been accomplished, its time to generate much needed revenue that will help us overcome our high tax rate and city dependence on Ad Valorem property taxes.  The increase in generated sales tax, jobs, commercial tax base and fuel sales can make our airport very valuable.  Our city does not have a lot of revenue generating projects.  Franchise taxes, utility fees, sales tax and certain user fees generate modest amounts of income that does little to offset our dependence on property taxes.  Williamson County Commissioners and the City of Taylor recently completed Justin Lane.  Justin Lane is a newly completed road that will open up commercial development on the west side of the airport.   Commercial Development will stimulate key sources of additional revenue.  Finally after months and months of delays, the airport contractor has made substantial progress with the final completion of the taxiway and apron areas.  The 500-foot length addition is now in progress along with the widening of the main runway.   Hopefully, we will finish this entire project by January 1st 2003.   With the airports final completion, the Airport Board, TEDC and the City can begin commercial recruitment for viable revenue generating development.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Update April 22, 2003

After a long wait The Taylor Municipal Airport expansion project is complete. This expansion funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, Texas Department of Transportation and the City of Taylor will allow for increased commerce and self sustainability that should relieve the City taxpayers from supporting this venture with their taxes. In fact..... this expansion should make this city asset profitable.

Update June 1, 2003

This last weekend the City of Taylor sponsored a Fly-In for area pilots and local citizens. The event showcased our newly completed runway extension, ramp area, and taxiways. The turnout had over 100 aircraft in attendance and over 100 spectators. My thanks to the Airport Board and the Fly-In committee for a great job. We need to continue to seek federal funding for airport improvements.

Through Truck Ordinance

In May, the Council adopted an ordinance that establishes a truck route around Taylor using our existing loop 397. The Council has received many complaints about fast moving large transport trucks on our downtown streets. Trucks that have delivery destinations in Taylor will be allowed access. Now, we are waiting for the Texas Department of Transportation to install the proper signage to complete this project.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Update April 22, 2003

This project is a perfect example of how slow the "State Bureaucracy" works. It has been 1 year since this was approved by the council and still the signs have NOT been posted. The City Manager has made countless calls and letters to TXDOT to finish this project. Apparently, engineers, and more engineers are needed to evaluate, discuss, and contemplate the necessity. Now you know why it costs so much to run our state.

Street Improvements

It is obvious that we have a problem with a lot of our local streets. I field numerous complaints from citizens all over town. We can blame countless reasons why these streets are so bad, but that will do little to fix them. Recently, the City of Taylor completed the Davis Street reconstruction project. North Drive and Howard Streets are the next two projects that will be bid out for complete reconstruction. The Council has dedicated 400,000 dollars in this year’s budget to continue to repair our streets. Almost 7 linear miles of Taylor streets will be seal-coated in the next year. The Council should continue to fund these improvements.

Update January 28, 2003

The City is still waiting for Oncor and the other utility companies to relocate their infrastructure on North Drive and Howard Street before the rebuilding of those streets.

Update April 22, 2003

The Council has authorized the City Staff to begin the bid process for our 2003 street improvements. We will spend over 400,000 dollars in this years budget to repair our streets.

Update June 1, 2003

The City Council at our meeting on May 26th voted to decrease our budgeted money for our street repairs from $ 400,000 to $ 350,000. Staff presented concerns regarding our budgeted income. The City recognizes that the economy has slowed considerably and we are analyzing staff positions, projects, and any nonessential items. I was the only Council Member to vote against lowering our budget for street repairs and maintenance. I sincerely believe our streets are in too bad of shape and we should look to cut items somewhere else.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Update January 22, 2004

Public meetings were held recently to discuss the slow process of our street improvements. Streets scheduled for complete rehabilitation are:Howard Street, North Drive, Sloan Street along with additional new water and waste water lines and sidewalks. This has been a terribly long process and it's very frustrating to me and the other Council Members. These bonds were approved in 1998. The holdup on this has been the lack of cooperation with our utility company's moving the necessary gas and power lines. This is by far the MOST FRUSTRATING project I have been a part of. I believe our streets need immediate attention. Our citizens demand it and still we are being help up by these utility company's.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Residential Foundation Concerns

Residents and Builders have informed me that many of our codes and requirements regarding foundations have made it financially difficult for residents to make repairs or additions to their homes. The City Staff recently conducted a public meeting that heard many concerns regarding this issue. Some of the questions dealt with the city required code that deals with Engineering of Slabs. Currently, the city requires that a foundation be designed and sealed by a Texas Registered Engineer.

Community Development Director (Bob Van Til) recently submitted his initial report regarding this meeting.

“The purpose of the report is to evaluate the effectiveness of the City’s current policies as they relate to residential foundations. The second purpose of the report is to develop recommendations that may address the concerns surrounding the present policies. In March of 2001, when the City adopted the 1997 Standards Building Code, the City adopted local amendments to the building code. This local amendment has recently caused residents to complain about the costliness of adhering to the requirements. The specific concerns relates to the expense of providing an engineered foundation plan for structures of any size that are intended for inhabitation. More specifically, the concerns have focused on repairing or renovating existing residential foundations, and the construction of porches, patios, and residential additions.”

I feel that the Engineering Seal is necessary for any new home or commercial construction. I have concerns with the pier - beam and block - pad foundations. These are usually older homes with residents that have moderate incomes or retired fixed incomes. The requirement that any slab that is larger than 400 square foot be Engineered also concerns me. The City has had many porches that were later enclosed fail in its foundation and that failure has caused the entire residential foundation to have serious problems. I think we can regulate these “porch additions” by permit and give the homeowner the option of having their addition Engineered in case they would want to enclose their addition OR to sacrifice the possibility of enclosing the addition by not having an Engineer Seal.

The City will conduct a final public hearing with residents and builders to formulate a recommendation for changes to our ordinance. This meeting will take place on Wednesday September 25th in kitchen at City Hall. This is open to the public, so now is your chance to voice your concerns.

Update October 10th, 2002

The Taylor City Council introduced Ordinance 2002-36 to address the many concerns regarding the construction, repair and maintenance of different types of foundations. I would like to thank the City staff, especially Community Development Director, Bob Van Til, and the many interested contractors and citizens who spent many hours of "heated debate" to help make these changes. These new changes should make repairs and maintenance of our older residences more affordable.
Please Click Here To View The New Ordinance

Update January 28, 2003

Recently, the Community Development Department, initiated at "Second Saturday Program" that will open the City Hall from 8 am to 12 noon on the second Saturday of every month to facilitate the issue of building permits and to answer questions about the required permits and fees associated with building projects that require inspection. I congratulate the city staff in making themselves available for our citizens during these designated weekends.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Taylor Economic Development Corporation

The Council recently approved the operating budget for our local 4-A Industrial Development Corporation. I expressed some concerns during this budget meeting and I have heard numerous comments from our citizens. Some of you would like the TEDC to be able to expand its assistance to retail, parkland, and city infrastructure projects. There seems to be some dispute about the validity of the TEDC and the way it operates. The TEDC has been an important part of the commercial-industrial development in Taylor since its inception. Can it be improved? Yes, I’m sure it can. Any City Department can be improved through increased communication and interaction with the community. Some citizens are unsure exactly what the TEDC does. Our citizens, TEDC, and the City of Taylor need to share their ideas and implement specific goals to improve our community.

Update October 28, 2002

The City Council and the TEDC Board had a productive meeting this evening with both groups discussing issues regarding future retail and industrial development. We also talked about the 4A designation versus the 4B. This is only a start in what I hope is a continued dialogue between both organizations. I stressed the importance of communication and credible information that must exist within both the TEDC and the City Council. We agreed to meet again with additional information from other sources to discuss the future development goals of the TEDC.

Update December 9th, 2002

The City Council along with the TEDC Board met in a joint meeting tonight. Mr. Jeff Moore with the Texas Attorney Generals Office was present to answer questions from the Councilmembers and the public regarding the differences in 4A and 4B economic development organizations. Mr. Moore did an excellent job conveying the ballot options and distinctions regarding converting 4A Economic Development Corporations to 4B. A public meeting was held and speakers addressed support for the current TEDC 4A status and other speakers questioned the possible change to a 4B corporation.

Briefly, some of the differences are.....
4A based corporations are those that support the creation of jobs and workforce development. 4B based corporations can perform the same as a 4A but can also be used for public parkland and specific infrastructure improvements.

Last week, Mr. John Nelson the TEDC Executive Director, and Mr. Frank Salvato the Taylor City Manager, met with myself and four of our citizens to discuss their individual concerns about the current TEDC operations. The citizens discussed matters relating to the current TEDC operating budget, the amount of money that the TEDC has spent on economic development, and their credibility. Mr. Nelson apologized for a recent report that was given to the Council that incorrectly listed the accomplishments of the TEDC. The report misstated the amount of jobs created and the amount of increased appraisals on property that was associated with TEDC projects. That report was corrected.

Now, you ask...... What’s my opinion?

The real problem here is not the status of the TEDC. Some in our community believe that the TEDC costs too much to maintain. Current figures show that the operating costs (Salary and Office expenses) are around 30+- %. Is that high? It may be or it may not be. The City of Taylor is conducting a study of similar 4A and 4B corporations to determine their operating expenses. There are a lot of variables that make these figures difficult to accurately analyze. Large Economic Development Corporations collect many millions of dollars in taxes compared to their expenses and would have very low operating budgets. Small corporations do not have separate staffs but instead share the responsibilities with other city staff members. Those should have very low operating costs since the work is being done by others within the city.
The questions is ..... how do those type of corporations perform? It would make good business sense that a corporation with it’s own staff would be more productive and motivated.

I have been contacted by 24 members of our community that have concerns with the TEDC. I have had contact with about 18 members of our community that support the TEDC and its operations. Those are very small numbers considering that there are over 7,000 registered voters in Taylor and over 14,000 residents. My goal is to get the most bang for the buck..... The taxpayers deserve 100% accountability for all government agencies that collect or use any type of tax. I will keep my options open in regards to the TEDC and hope that you will contact me with your questions and opinions.

Update June 1, 2003

The Council has appointed 2 new members to the TEDC Board. Christine Lopez and Johnnie Mikeska (no relation) have been appointed to 3 year terms. The TEDC Board has agreed to help fund water and wastewater expansion for the proposed new HEB and Walmart SuperCenter. I like the idea of the TEDC helping retail development. Retail development is the key factor in providing lower (property) ad valorem taxes for our citizens. We need to encourage any project that will add money to our sales tax revenue and tax base. Many new jobs will be created by these projects.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Update, September 23, 2003

T.E.D.C Board along with the City Council has pledged money to support the expansion of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). ERCOT will add a 50,000 square foot addition with capacity to add another 150 employees to the 200+ already working in Taylor. This is a major investment in our community and I thank the TEDC Board, the City Council, City Manager Frank Salvato, TEDC Director John Nelson, City Attorney Ted Hejl and of course ERCOT for making this a reality.

Grocery Store Options

Not a whole lot of options… We definitely need another grocery store in Taylor. I am tired of the long lines and overcrowded isles at our only grocery store. The City Staff has been in contact with our grocery store and other commercial grocery stores. We realize that Taylor shoppers deserve easy access and reasonable prices.

Update January 15th, 2003

This is beginning to be a "hot topic" within the gossip mills in Taylor. Recently a representative from HEB was in our City to discuss their commitment and possible future plans. I have heard your concerns about this. There are also negotiations with Walmart to bring a Super Center to our city. Personally, I would like to see a Walmart Super Center (with Grocery Store!)

Update April 22, 2003

Tonight, the City Council was approached by Walmart with plans to build a "SuperCenter" on Loop 397 and North Main. Accordingly, at the same meeting, HEB informed the City of their intentions to build a new store across from the Walmart SuperCenter. YIPEEEEEEE !!!!
The rezoning ordinances have been submitted and should be approved at the next Council meeting.

Update June 1, 2003

The Council has approved the zoning changes for the HEB and Walmart SuperCenter projects. These developments are leading the way for our expansion to the north. The north highway 95 expansion zone will enable numerous kinds of development.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Update October 9, 2003

It's Official !!!! Walmart Corporation will build a "SuperWalmart" and HEB will build an new grocery store on property recently approved for rezoning by the council at the corner of Loop 397 and State Highway 95 north. I want to thank our City Manager, Frank Salvato, for being instrumental in the acquisition of these badly needed additions to our community.

 

School Zone Improvements

In a cooperative effort with The Taylor Independent School District, the City of Taylor recently completed additional school zone improvements at Pasemann Elementary, T.H. Johnson Elementary, Northside, Taylor Middle, and Taylor High Schools. The City and School District want to include additional projects to ensure continued safety in those areas. One of my major concerns is the Taylor Middle School. This school sits on loop 397 where large, fast moving trucks traverse daily. Students are not supposed to walk to school since buses are available to take students anywhere they live, even if their home is right across the highway. Of course, some students still walk across the loop to their homes. That worries me. The City and School District are applying for a grant that would help construct an underground passageway from the proposed KB Homes Northside Addition to the Taylor Middle School. This would also help facilitate traffic going to the new Williamson County Park. We should call upon all of our resources to make this passageway a reality. Our children deserve a safe walkway to school.

Update June 1, 2003

The City of Taylor and the TISD were notified by the TXDOT that we did not receive the Safe Routes to School Grant. We will continue to seek funding for this very important project. Additionally, the Taylor City Council and the TISD Board of Trustees continue to have joint meetings to keep both party's informed of our goals and mutual projects.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Taylor City Cemetery

Fortunately, our City Leaders had the vision over the years to acquire a very pleasant place to inter our families. The City Cemetery is a peaceful place that I often visit to reminisce old memories with many of my friends. Over the years, the City has dedicated certain spots within the cemetery for family members to erect trees and scrub memorials for their loved ones. Some families have placed these memorials outside of those designated areas causing maintenance problems for our grounds keepers. The City has a guideline for placement of these memorials and the rules regarding the headstones and other regulations. The problem now is that through the years other family members have placed memorials that do not meet current guidelines. The Council recently reviewed the ordinance that regulates the cemetery. Our intentions are to better communicate the regulations with a “brochure” publication available at the sextants office. We don’t want to remove any trees or scrubs that are already in place and thriving. It may be necessary to relocate new plantings that are outside the designated area. They will be relocated to the memorial areas. I recognize that this may be a very emotional subject for many in our community. Our goal is to have an exceptional cemetery that is uniform in appearance and easily maintainable.

Update June 1, 2003

The Council recently approved a booklet that provides the citizens with all of the rules regarding our cemetery. New signage, gates and road repairs will be completed within the near future.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Wholesale Water Agreements

The City Council was presented a signed wholesale water agreement with the City of Hutto at our Council meeting on September 24th. The Council approved the agreement and authorized the mayor to sign on behalf of the City. The City staff carefully reviewed this document along with our City Attorney. They all agree that this agreement is satisfactory. The City can now market one of its resources and at the same time, expand its service capability. The amount of overall connections to our system, MAY translate to lower water costs and lower debt service costs.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Taylor Fire Department

This is a subject that’s close to my own heart….. I have been involved with Emergency Services since 1978. I often have citizens ask me a very similar question regarding our fire department. “Why does a big fire truck always respond to ambulance calls?” The role of our fire departments has changed over the last 20 years. All over this planet, fire department personnel are responding to medical calls as a “first responder.” This new generation of firefighters are highly trained individuals that possess, at least, an Emergency Medical Technician certification. The fire departments usual quick response can sometimes make the difference between life and death. Taylor Fire Department trucks also carry Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) that are a vital tool in restarting the heart rhythm in cardiac arrest. In fact, there is an individual alive today as a result of our fire departments quick response and knowledge of their AED. That is reason enough to validate our fire departments continued response in all medical emergencies. Chief Haywood Stanford reminds all of us that the role of our department is to: …… “save lives and property”. To learn more about the Taylor Fire Department, I invite you to view their website at: www.taylorfd.com

Update June 1, 2003

The Taylor Fire Department recently acquired an MSA Thermal Imager to greatly enhance our rescue capabilities. The Thermal Imager can see in the dark and through heavy smoke and flames. The department continues to update our equipment and personnel.

Update October 9, 2003

The City Council has voted to add another New Fire Engine to replace two aging vehicles that date back to the 1980's. Along with this new pumper, the Fire Department will add 2 Ford Expeditions to be used for medical response. These Expeditions will allow a faster response to medical calls and alleviate the need to have heavy fire apparatus responding to medical calls. This will save the taxpayers money by saving the wear and tear on these fire trucks and the city streets.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Taylor Police Department

I have noticed a lot of change in the Taylor Police Department in the last 30 years. When I was a young student, we did not have police officers on any of our campuses. The department has had to modify and adjust their role in our community. The type of crimes and their frequency have changed dramatically in the last 30 years. These changes in our community have challenged the police department to make necessary adjustments in their service. I have been asked by a lot of our local parents: “why don’t the police just leave our kids alone like they did us 30 years ago….?.” We all grew up with different levels of security and parental protection. Our society has, unfortunately, changed considerably in the last 30 years. Our personal parenting skills have changed. All of these factors have caused the police department to maintain the peace and enforce the law without prejudice. This is an ongoing challenge and the department has had to grow and evolve to its present level of being a highly professional organization. If you would like to know more about the Taylor Police Department, I invite you to view their website at: www.taylorpd.com

Update June 1, 2003

The Taylor Police Department took possession of 2 new Police Package Dodge Intrepids. Soon these vehicles will have on board camera systems and wireless terminal capability.

E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

New User Fees

During the recent budget preparation, the city administration asked each department head to review their internal procedures to determine if some type of income producing fee was feasible within their departments. I agreed with most of the new fees and the price increase of other fees. I was not in favor of establishing fees for monitoring commercial alarm systems. Commercial businesses are more prone to vandalism and burglary than residences. The silent alarms gave the police department the opportunity to "catch the suspect in the act." The police department internally monitored some of the commercial alarms in Taylor. There was very little time delay in receiving a silent or panic alarm and the actual response by the department. I believed this was an important objective in catching criminals "in the act". The alarm board spaces in the police department were completely filled allowing only about 60+ businesses to be monitored. City administration felt that this low number of actual monitored alarms made it unjustifiable to maintain without cost since everyone else in the city was having to use Commercial Alarm Monitoring Companies. The goal here is to catch crooks and protect our citizens. I would have preferred not charging for the alarms and expanding the monitoring board to everyone. Think of the reputation Taylor would have if it were known that the police department monitored ALL of our alarm systems. This would certainly help reduce crime.

City staff and department heads evaluated other area cities to determine what fees were practical. Engineering, Inspection, Permits and Court Fines are all part of the new fees and increased fees. I do agree that the income from these fees will help the city offset its reliance on Ad Valorem property taxes.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

Dove Hunting in the City Limits

Recently, the City of Taylor has received many complaints regarding dove hunters hunting within the incorporated city limits. First, let me say that I have been hunting since I was 6 years old. The experiences I had hunting with my father are those which I will cherish forever. We all recognize that shotguns are very dangerous. The City has let hunters use shotguns on their own property if all the shot pellets and projectiles remained on their property. I agree with this, but I believe we should also have a safety zone of 1,000 feet from the hunter to the nearest residence. We should also restrict hunters from shooting in the direction of public roadways. Hunting should never be allowed on city owned property. This is a "public safety issue". If we have problems with maintaining the safety of our citizens, then we should reconsider all of our options.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

Brazos River Authority - Taylor's Lake Granger Water Treatment Plant

Update February 7, 2004

The Citizens of Taylor have spoken. The final vote count to authorize the Council to sell the plant to BRA is 733 for and 352 against. Now it's time to move forward and look to our future. This should no longer be a dividing issue in our community. I believe this additional election gave citizens more time to reflect on the costs and debts that the city would incur. I still have my personal reservations with selling the plant. But there is now a mandate. It's the Councils job now to closely monitor the progress for completing this transaction ensuring the citizens of Taylor are well served by BRA and that all of their commitments are honored.
E-mail Direct to Councilmember Tim Mikeska

 

more to come......

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