LightningWeather Conditions, Forecasts and Alerts

From The National Weather Service for:

Brady - MasonMenardEdenMelvinVocaPontotoc - San SabaRochelleLohnDoole - Mercury


 Sense & Nonsense Featured Link

U.S. National Debt Clock

Up to the minute statistics you can use

City of Brady

Citizens of Brady will get a second opportunity to meet and discuss community affairs on Tuesday, October 16, when Bill Neslage will host a second community meeting at the Heart of Texas Event Center (804 San Angelo Highway). Scheduled to begin at 6:00 PM, the meeting will feature six topics for discussion. They are:

  1. Forming a General Purpose Political Action Committee (PAC)
  2. Agreeing on a name for the group
  3. Reducing utility costs for the Citizens of Brady
  4. Convincing the City Council to change policy on their Agendas, Citizen Comments and meeting times.
  5. Examination of the Texas Open Meetings Law
  6. Function and Operation of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC)

Each topic will be introduced with a short presentation followed by comments and discussion from everyone present.

Building on the experience gained in the first citizen meeting on Sept 20 when some 150 people attended, this meeting will be more structured. The goal is to find people who are willing to help work on specific community problems and develop new, honest, competent leadership for Brady.

Practically speaking, if it is not affordable then it is not available. That applies to everything, including public services.

Local government entities are strangling the people of Brady with things they don't want or need while failing to provide necessities at an affordable price.The Brady City Council is the worst offender when it comes to foolish spending and poor priorities. They spend more money than the County, Hospital and School combined.

The obvious affordability problem for citizens is Utility Distribution Charges. The real problem is undisciplined spending and borrowing. Property and sales taxes barely cover the cost of debt service now. Think about that for a minute. Taxes just barely cover current debt payments - nothing else.

The City Council just decided to build a new Sewer Treatment plant. September 20, City Attorney Susan Horton said that it would cost $11 million, half of which would be free money from "The Man". But she deceived us once again. On Oct 1, the City Council said it would cost $17 million. Early estimates indicate that bringing the Drinking Water utility into compliance will cost at least $22 million. If (big if) grant money is available to pay for half of these projects, the City will have to borrow another $19.5 million on top of what they already owe. That means sharply higher Utility Distribution Charges that many citizens cannot afford.

The City finds itself between the devil and the deep blue sea - strangle Brady with high living costs or fail to provide basic public services necessary for a City to exist. What can be done?

Any individual or business that has ever been buried by debt knows the answer. It is simple, but not easy. Here is what Brady must do to survive as a city:

  • Eliminate ALL expenditures that are not absolutely essential for survival.
  • Shut down all money losing projects
  • Pay debt as quickly as possible
  • Borrow as little as possible if credit is still available. Operate on current income only
  • Burn into every mind that debt is the problem, not the solution

Every successful business or individual has had to do this or will have to do it during the course of a lifetime. The City of Brady can do it too. It just takes discipline and leadership.

The Immediate Crisis

The single most important issue facing the City Council now is dealing with "The Man" to secure affordable water for the people of Brady. Everything else is secondary. The City of Brady has a serious problem when dealing with "The Man" about water because they have postponed, evaded, defied and lied to him for 40 years while wasting resources on other things. The City of Brady is one of the few Texas communities that has NEVER been in compliance with the 1972 Clean Water Act.

"The Man" is running out of patience.

Brady has been operating under continuous and overlapping enforcement agreements with The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) at least since 2007. The most recent agreement was signed by then Mayor James Stewart in July 2009. In it, the City agreed to come into compliance within one year. Nothing was done except to file for an extension in 2010. That extension expired September 23, 2011 without any serious  effort by the City of Brady to bring the public water system into compliance.

Continuing violations led to the most recent Notice of Enforcement dated June 8, 2012. This time the enforcement action was initiated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instead of TCEQ. The deadline for compliance is December 2013, just 14 months from now.

How did the City Council respond to the EPA enforcement order? They talked about it a little and initiated work on a new Sewer treatment plant that Susan Horton said would cost $11 million on Sept 20 (later revised to $17 million in the Oct 1 City Council Meeting). We will write about sewer plant violations (if any) when we have documentation. Notice that the Sewer (Waste Water Treatment) has absolutely nothing to do with clean drinking water.

Water - Bigger Picture

Fresh water is the basic foundation for human life. With it, food, clothing and shelter are possible.  Without it, human beings cannot survive. The size and wealth of a city is determined largely by the availability of fresh water. Look at a map if you doubt that. The largest, wealthiest cities on earth are where major rivers flow into the sea. Upstream, the cities become smaller and poorer.

Given that simple fact, one would think that the City of Brady and Chamber of Commerce would put the highest priority on providing fresh water. But that is not the case. In fact, it is seldom discussed at City Council meetings unless there is a crisis. There is a crisis now.

The crisis we face now is partly natural and partly caused by "The Man" (See The Terrible High Price of "Free").

The natural part we must accept. McCulloch County receives, on average, about 24 inches of rain each year. That is all there is to keep the creeks flowing and recharge the underground aquifers. A hundred years ago there were few people here, so that was enough for everyone to have all they wanted with plenty left over for the folks downstream. The aquifers were full to overflowing. Numerous springs kept creeks running during dry times.

That is no longer true. It becomes less true with each passing year. There are many reasons why, but why is a useless question. Even if we had the answer, it would not change the facts. The fact is that as water became more precious, "The Man" stepped in to take control of it.

TCEQ and EPA Notices of Non-Compliance and Enforcement Action:


- o -

The wisest piece of advice ever offered is that the only thing to do with a bad deal is get out of it. Immediately. It is also the hardest to follow. In personal, business or public affairs, people become emotionally attached to bad deals simply because it is humbling to admit error. Clinging to bad deals is a distraction. It leads to failure.

The City of Brady has many bad deals on the books. They cost more money every year as evidenced by the ever-increasing budget and deteriorating vital, basic public services. The first priority is to identify bad deals and get rid of them. Right now, if it doesn't improve water, electricity, sanitation, roads and security in Brady, it is a bad deal and a distraction. When one pops up on the agenda, terminate it. Immediately. That means, right now.

At the last City Council meeting (See Priorities and Distractions), the first distraction was about grants that might be available to the City. There is no such thing as a free lunch, so forget about it. "The Man's" Jonestown Kool-Aid is free money. Brady has had enough of it, maybe even a fatal dose. (See The Terrible High Price of "Free"). Fire the grant writers and consultants on the spot. It will save a little money and free our mind.

The second distraction at the October 1 City Council meeting was the MUDualistic ATV Park. This project has been doomed to failure from the beginning. The developer did not have enough capital to even begin the project, much less complete it. The idea that MUDualistic would be able to ignore federal, state and local law is ludicrous. To begin a project by alienating, threatening and publicly humiliating adjoining landowners is foolish beyond comment. All this was pointed out to the City Council in August of last year. The entire MUDualistic project sounds like something a bunch of drunks would come up with just before they puke and pass out. It is a bad deal that has gone on too long.

About six people that were in City Government (James Stewart, James Minor, Gail Lohn, Kathi Masonheimer, Randy Barrows and Susan Horton) rammed the MUDualistic development through. Notice that three of them no longer have their positions. The three that remain appear to be perilously close to putting MUDualistic's interests ahead of the interests of The City of Brady, Chamber of Commerce, the EDC and the people of Brady.

In the meantime, MUDualistic becomes increasingly belligerent and threatening toward anyone who disagrees with them.

These three seem to have forgotten that MUDualistic is a private developer, responsible for all costs associated with the project in return for 80% of the gross revenues generated and an equity interest in the business developed.

Many feel MUDualistic has received benefit of public funds, labor, equipment and material that is not available to all citizens. A forensic audit would tell whether those feelings are correct or not. If any public funds, equipment, labor or material have been transferred to MUDualistic without full payment to the city, the mess becomes a criminal matter instead of just a distraction. It is past time to cut losses and close this bad deal before it becomes worse and even more costly.

Making things work is different from complaining that they don't work. Griping is different from fixing things. The first thing Brady must do is find leaders who know how to fix things and make them work.

There are many strong competent leaders in Brady. Some are retired and reluctant to spend their time with public affairs. Others are just busy tending to their own business and trying to make a living in Brady. Either way, these people who have a proven record of success are going to have to take a more active role or move somewhere else because the City of Brady is on the brink of failure. The Texas landscape is littered with hundreds of dying small towns. Brady is not immune to that fate.

The City cannot just continue to borrow and spend on frivolous projects while ignoring, postponing and evading vital ones.

The City must recognize the resource limits in Brady and set priorities that are within the limits of those resources. Working within the limits of reality is what successful leaders do. It is no secret what vital public services are: water, electricity, sanitation, roads and security. When those basic vital public services are available and affordable, individuals and businesses can make a prosperous city. Without them, it is impossible.

The City Council seems to take basic services for granted as if they are part of the natural environment like air and sunshine. They aren't. Most council meetings ignore the basics and dwell on the frivolous. (See Priorities and Distractions) Eliminating the distractions and concentrating on the vital is first priority.

Brady has not been able to build and maintain an efficient, effective Water System or Sewer Treatment facility. They have ignored these vital basic services for decades. That single City Council failure is enough to kill the City of Brady if it isn't rectified quickly.


Sense and Nonsense Is dedicated to providing the information, ideas and interaction necessary to build a community of people who can be trusted and who trust each other.