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City of Brady

The last two items on the Brady City Council Agenda for Tuesday, June 3, 2014 merit close citizen attention. They will affect the way Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance transportation is delivered in Brady and McCulloch County.

Citizens in Brady and McCulloch County have enjoyed excellent EMS services for the past few years since the present system was put into place. Any changes should be considered very carefully. Not only are large sums of public money involved, EMS services can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations.

Item F on the agenda is about a request from "Service Organization of the Big Country" to cancel the Interlocal Cooperation Agreement (Ordinance 1011, passed in 2007) for providing local emergency medical services. The original contract was between the City of Brady and "Heart of Texas Memorial Hospital District". It was assigned to "Service Organization of Concho Valley" in 2009 and again reassigned in 2013 to "Service Organization of the Big Country".

Cancellation of this agreement might significantly alter the financial viability of the current EMS services offered by the City of Brady. Other than rumor unsubstantiated by legal documents, it is unclear exactly who would provide EMS in McCulloch County in the future.

Item G on the agenda is a proposal to add regulations governing EMS (Ordinance 1155) to set high standards for 911 emergency service in Brady and McCulloch County, no matter who runs it.

Reference Documents:

To set and achieve goals, it is necessary to have a definite starting point that is measurable and some way to measure progress toward those goals. The "Document Center" set up by the City Council and City Manager makes factual information much easier to acquire. When facts are readily available, rumor cannot rule.

Facts are sometimes difficult to acknowledge. Fantasy makes people feel better but impedes progress. The point in presenting this material is not to criticize, but to lay the groundwork for improvement.

Over a year and half ago we published an article entitled "Brady Reality - Community Assessment" using data we believed to be reliable from CLResearch. How does it compare with the more recent Brady Demographics and Income Report from LCRA prepared for the Brady City Council by Mike Tolleson?

Sadly, the two reports show essentially the same thing - Brady is losing population, under-educated and low income compared to the rest of Texas and the nation. Highlights:

  • Brady's current population is 5,480 compared to 5,999 in the 1990 census.
  • 31.9% of the people in Brady did not complete High School compared to 14.8% nationally.
  • In Brady, 8.9% have a Bachelors degree from college compared to 17.7% in the USA.
  • Current Median Household income in Brady is $28,109 compared to $54,442 for all households in the USA.
  • Current Average Household income in Brady is $35,766 compared to $70,173 nationally.
  • Of the 2,726 Housing Units in Brady, 20% are vacant.

Everything local officials do should be evaluated in light of these sobering facts. We cannot afford high public debt loads or luxury public facilities and services.

Reference Document:

In the past month or two, the City of Brady has made great strides toward releasing much more information about City government to the public at their official website. Information that was closely held at city hall in the past is now appearing online in a timely manner. If continued, this trend should reduce citizen hostility and suspicion. It will lead to more efficient and harmonious local government.

This came to our attention when we began looking for budget information for the "2014 Budget Process" article. To our surprise we found comprehensive budget planning documents freely available at the "Document Center" under the Finance heading. Similar planning documents were not readily available to the public for previous budget hearings.

This definite move toward open local government has occurred with no fanfare or personal claim for credit that I am aware of. It is just happening. Take notice and give credit to those responsible.

The document center appears to be newly organized, with few older documents available. Among the most interesting and useful are:

  • "Council Packets" under the government heading. These are prepared by City Manager Dale Brown to provide background information and recommendations for each item on the coming agenda. They appear to be posted a day or two before each meeting. Also included in these packets are the minutes of the previous meeting.
  • An Electric Rate Study with its' own heading

Hopefully, the "Document Center" will continue to expand. Someone deserves a lot of credit for getting it moving in the right direction.

Brady Mayor Pro-Tem Latricia Doyal opened the July 16 regular meeting of the Brady City Council and quickly turned to the sixth item on the agenda - canceling the special election and declaring unopposed candidate Tony Groves Mayor of Brady, effective immediately.

Mayor Tony GrovesGroves, a Texas A&M Graduate (engineering), spent 30 years on active duty in the US Air Force. Col. Groves is a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict, Cold War and First Gulf War. After Retirement from active duty, Groves spent 12 years teaching military science at Texas A&M University.

His father and mother, Warren and Juanita Groves, are long-time Brady residents. Tony and his wife Janice move to Brady in 2011. They have two children, Holly (who lives in Brady) and Adam (stationed at Sheppard Air Force base in Wichita Falls, Tx.)

Brady City Manager Dale Brown and his staff at City Hall prepare budget documents for the City Council to consider, amend and finally adopt. Preparing the information for the City Council is a huge task. It is presented in a series of working documents that the council will go over in detail at public budget workshop meetings.

The planning documents are available at the City of Brady website for public scrutiny now. This transparency is a welcome change from past practice. The Council, mayor and City Manager should be commended for making the process open to everyone. Let them know you appreciate it.Citizens who are concerned about Brady City spending should inform themselves and offer suggestions in the public meetings in July so they can be considered before the final budget takes shape. After mid-August, the 2013-2014 budget will begin to take final form and become increasingly difficult to change. Now is the time for constructive citizen input.

To be helpful, take time to at least look over the planning documents on the city website before offering opinions, comments and suggestions at public meetings. A public meeting is not the proper time or place to expect officials to educate or placate anyone.

There are three budget planning documents available. They can be viewed online or downloaded for printing. They are:

  • Budget Planning Report - A 90 page report showing actual expenditures for each budget item for fiscal years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, budgeted vs actual revenue and expenditures for 2012-13 and the proposed budget for 2013-14.
  • Budget Detail Report - A 166 page report showing each budget accounting item with a Description, Explanation and Base Budget amount.
  • Supplemental Decision Package - A 77 page report sub-titled "Summary of Selected Decisions by Priority". This is a list of priority items in the upcoming budget.

Avoid Ignorance, be Informed.

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.