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City of Brady

Many people in Brady are dissatisfied with how the City Council operates and spends money. They are frustrated because there seems to be no way to change it. Decent, hard-working citizens are afraid to even say anything for fear of retaliation on the job or in their business. A vicious gossip machine that be can and does bring social ostracism upon relatives and friends of anyone who dares question silences most citizens.

Massive spending projects just seem to pop up with no advance notice or community discussion. City debt goes up as taxes are raised each year and the budget balloons without reason or explanation. Committees meet in secret to make recommendations to the City Council that are funded without public discussion. Then they become continuing expenses the citizen must bear.

Attending City Council meeting is a humiliating exercise in futility. Citizens are belittled and ignored. All the business is done out of public view and passed without meaningful public discussion. City bills are approved without letting anyone outside the Council know what they are or how much money is involved.

Brady's current budget totals $23.8 million. Is that reasonable? You decide. It is more than the budgets of Brady ISD and McCulloch County combined. It is about three times the amount that other Texas cities of 5500 people spend.

Consider that the new interim City Manager, Dale Brown, comes from Palestine, Texas, where the City budget is about $14 million for a population of 17,598. That works out to about $800 per person. Brady spends $4327 per person - over 5 times as much.

What Can Be Done?

  1. Disable the gossip machine. Don't listen and don't repeat it to anyone.
  2. Support those with the courage to question the City Council. Protect them when they are attacked in their business, on the job or through social ostracism of  their families and friends.
  3. Challenge the Council in every legal way possible. Make their actions public knowledge.

One opportunity to challenge unlimited borrowing by the City is to sign the petition to force an election before issuing Certificates of Obligation. Requiring voter approval to borrow will slow the runaway spending. That is the first step to stopping and reversing it.

There are so many illogical things in Brady that it is hard to know where to begin. How about the fact that Brady owns a big expensive horse racetrack but never has horse races?

How about the fact that the City of Brady spent millions of dollars on a water treatment facility at Brady Lake just a few years ago but can't meet minimum state water quality standards? Now they tell us they are going to close it down. It isn't even paid for!

Drive by the old Armory at the corner of Boy Street and the Brownwood Highway. There is obviously some construction work going on there and it isn't all being done by the city. City officials say it is part of the $2 million Warehouse project but never let the citizens in on exactly what that is. Now there is talk of an Animal Shelter that may or may not be part of the Warehouse location. Rumors rule because the Council does not willingly share information with the citizens.

The recent notice of intent to issue Certificates Of Obligation for an unspecified Waste Water project does not include even a brief description of the project. Why not? Certificates of Obligation are for emergency situations. Do we have an emergency with Sewer System? If so, why don't they tell us exactly what it is?

Maybe the City has plans for all these projects, but they certainly don't make them public, even in general terms. Millions are spent without any public accountability at all.

On a smaller scale, witness the City of Brady planting hundreds of little willow trees at Brady Lake which required regular watering with a city water truck. Then go to Richards Park and see the century-old native pecan trees dying in the drought from lack of water. Somehow that doesn't add up - water the willows and let the pecans die? The people of Brady have better sense than that, even if the City Council doesn't.

The list is endless but it just amounts to griping. What can be done?

Napoleon III had this suggestion:

"In my youth, I, too, entertained some illusions; but I soon recovered from them. The great orators who rule the assemblies by the brilliancy of their eloquence are in general men of the most mediocre political talents: they should not be opposed in their own way; for they have always more noisy words at command than you. Their eloquence should be opposed by a serious and logical argument; their strength lies in vagueness; they should be brought back to the reality of facts; practical arguments destroy them. In the council, there were men possessed of much more eloquence than I was: I always defeated them by this simple argument: two and two make four".

Keep it simple. If it doesn't add up, don't believe it. Don't accept vague answers. Bring the discussion "back to the reality of facts".

  • Bill Neslage has spent his personal time and money for the past year to publicize the outrageous behavior at the City of Brady. He has put his reputation on the line for the people of Brady and he doesn't even live within the city limits.
  • A group of Simpson Lake Club residents have sued the City to stop the travesty of the MUDualistic ATV park on their doorsteps. They have spent their money, taken endless verbal abuse, been threatened and vilified for their efforts to simply protect their property values from a predatory City government.
  • When the local newspaper refused to carry anything opposing the City Council position, even as paid advertising, John Harper spent hundreds of hours building and maintaining the Better Brady Now website so there would be a written record of the debates about City actions.
  • Another dozen or so volunteers attended and tried to speak at City Council Meetings only to suffer public humiliation from the City Council and vicious vilification from certain members of the community. They have persisted week after week for a year now.

Now it is time to see where the people of Brady stand. Anyone who wants to clean up the money-shredding sinkhole the City of Brady has become should plan on attending the You, The People of Brady! meeting at the Heart of Texas Event Center (located at 804 San Angelo Highway) on Thursday, September 20, 2012. at 6:00PM.

It is amazing to watch the citizens of Brady be carried away in a wave of ancient gossip carried to new levels in a Facebook Frenzy. It brings back memories of Junior High School - the childish jealousies and cruel rumors that only juveniles can think important. It is just silly and amounts to nothing. They are personality clashes.

Better Brady Now is written for the adults in Brady who care about principles, facts and truth. I you disagree with BBN or we get something factually wrong, please contact us. We will be happy to make corrections or publish your views if they deal with fact or principle.

Reasonable adults can disagree without being disagreeable. If you just want to "vent" (a vent is where eggs come out of a chicken - a fact from FFA Poultry Judging over a half century ago), take it to Facebook or start your own website.

That does not mean that BBN will shy away from controversy. Facts are embarrassing to those with secrets. Principles are even more controversial. Brady is divided, like America itself, on whether the citizens own the government or the government owns the people. That is a matter of principle.

We come down firmly on the side that says that the people own the government, particularly at the local level. If you believe the local government should act in secrecy and force the people of Brady to pay and obey, then we disagree.

The famous Brady rumor mill and commercial news sources have different sets of "facts" about exactly how much the City Budget was in the past and what it is now. Some say the proposed budget (fiscal 2012-13) is "about the same as last year" while others say it is up 25% or more. Verifiable facts are the only way to silence the rumor mill.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own facts. BBN will present the most recent data available, with references, and let you figure it out for yourself.

Read more: City Budget Facts

Property owners in McCulloch pay taxes to support at least six local government institutions. Depending on where they live within McCulloch County, they pay varying amounts.

Some people feel that they don't own property and therefore don't pay to support local government. They are wrong. Local taxes are part of the cost of doing business in McCulloch County. They get passed through to non-property owners in the form of higher living costs and lower wages. Every citizen who lives in McCulloch county pays these taxes directly or indirectly. Everyone has a personal stake in responsible local government spending. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Read more: Local Government Debt = Your Personal Debt

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.