Howe rejects water rate increase at special meeting

By: Kristen Shanahan Email
By: Kristen Shanahan Email

HOWE, TX -- Dozens of Howe residents showed up to a special city council meeting tonight to give their input about how to keep the city within budget in this tight economy.

Residents showed up to tonight's special meeting concerned the City of Howe might increase the rates on city services.The mayor says after hearing their concerns they will try to avoid rate hikes at all costs.

Several Howe residents showed up to Tuesday night's meeting concerned the city might raise water rates to bring in more money, but Mayor Jeff Stanley says after seeing all the opposition from residents they will focus on other alternatives.

He says the city is not in debt right now, but it does look like there will be shortfalls in the future.

"We have to pay several types of bonds and they've been raising every year and it just doesn't look like we are making enough income to pay for them," Stanley said.

Stanley says the idea behind the special meeting was to get residents' input on how to expand the city's budget.

"Tonight we ended up just on a council request trying to find some ways to cut costs. Maybe in the police department," Stanley said.

A suggestion to cut the police force from four officers to two did not go over well with many who attended the meeting, but Deann Mozingo says if cuts need to be made residents should not have to pay more.

"I don't think that they way to solve the problem correctly is to keep penalizing the citizens that live here," Mozingo said.

Another option still on the table doing away with certain benefits for city employees.

"We're a single income family, you know I choose not to have certain things so that we can live on a budget and I think the government entities need to start learning the same thing they need to be accountable to a budget and stick to it," Mozingo said.

Mayor Stanley says a meeting to decide what the city will cut will be held on June 5 at 7 p.m.

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  • by Howe Res. Location: Howe on Jun 12, 2012 at 05:36 AM
    Not surprised at all. With the police department having take home vehicles and the fire chief taking his car home daily, we end up in situations like this. The mayor needs to leave his crookedness to his own business and not bring it to the city. This town really started going down hill 6 years ago with the police chief position and 2-3 years ago when the mayor ran off the fire dept. We just need to clean house and start fresh.
  • by Not My Fault on May 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM
    Take the Obama approach. Just do nothing and let it get worse and worse and just say "this council inherited this problem" and "it's not our fault". American people seem to be good with that nowadays!
    • reply
      by Logic on May 26, 2012 at 11:03 AM in reply to Not My Fault
      Yep...American people know when the trouble began. American people saw a man CUT taxes during a WAR that was costing ONE BILLION per day...they saw the deficit skyrocket. They saw a guy dress up in a flight suit and ride onto the deck of an Aircraft carrier and proclaim "Mission Accomplished" before 5,000 Americans were killed at that billion a day price! And for what...what "freedom" did the Iraq protect of yours? And now you want to put the economy in the hands of the wealthy elite and see how they spend their tax cuts to "stimulate" the economy?
  • by JM Location: Howe on May 24, 2012 at 06:46 AM
    Yes, The City of Howe is in/or will be in a financial situation soon. Lets face it the city is does not have the revenue from taxes, or utility billing to support its expenditures. Unfortunately this will require tough decisions to be made. These decisions can come in the form of increased taxes or cuts. The revenue from utility billing is offset to pay Sherman to handle Howe's wastewater. With the current financial environment Howe cannot afford to build its own sewer processing facility. As long as we are tied to Sherman for the wastewater, water rates will be high. Additionally with the growth rate did we really need the water from NTMWD (Lake Lavon), or could that have waited? Unfortunately we are also stuck with that burden when we should have rejected it. Cuts are painful for all of us, but they are necessary to rein in an unsupportable budget. Yes, we have afforded relatively good police protection, but does the revenue of the city and the municipal court support the department?
    • reply
      by One Way Out on May 24, 2012 at 07:36 AM in reply to JM
      Eliminate the city manager in Howe and that should free up over $70,000 and put this towards paying the bills! Just saying--
      • reply
        by JM on May 24, 2012 at 09:50 PM in reply to One Way Out
        Eliminating the City Manager would free up some funds for the short term, but would not solve the problem. The problem is that improper budget forecasting led unsupportable budget when the city did not grow as thought. Howe as a city requires certain staff to function. Should we have to call the City of Sherman or a construction company every time we have a water leak? No! Nor should we have to wait to pay a water bill because no one is available in the city office. Providing for city services requires more than a City Manager and Mayor. As a municipality several roles have to be filled for the city to operate smoothly. The City Manager could be cut placing more of the day to day operations in the Mayors hands, but would it really solve the problem? Revenue can be increased by growth. What can the city do to provide an environment for growth? In addition to growth the city must craft a supportable budget while not allowing a project that could break the city to ever materialize.
        • reply
          by One Way Out on May 25, 2012 at 03:08 AM in reply to JM
          The city of Howe is small enough to be able to place the CEO role back in the hands of the Mayor. Apparently the city manager was not able to forecast the budget wisely this year. Other smaller cities in Grayson County operate without a city manager and from what I see/hear, as long as you have a good staff in place that will adhere to the budget, you should be in good shape or better than you are right now. Is your shortfall from court revenue?
      • reply
        by to one way out on May 26, 2012 at 09:56 PM in reply to One Way Out
        Talk to the city administrator, he will be more than happy to go over the any questions. The problem is the council thinks its smarter than the city administrator. They are the ones who cut two officers last year instead of only one. I believe the process is being repeated this year because the council won't listen to me he person they hired to do the job. Joe, I hope you are looking for another city, one that supports you ad your efforts because these townspeople are just plain ignorant and not going to support you.
        • reply
          by Bulldog on Jun 7, 2012 at 08:23 AM in reply to to one way out
          The two best employees the City of Howe has is Burt Dowlin, who I believe is capable of being City Administrator, David Wortham is more than capable of running public works. The Mayor is elecetted, nothing we can do about it now except have a recall elecetion. Fire the City Administrator. Discuss having the Sheriff's Office patrol the City of Howe. This would be a good time to bring it up Since there are now two canidates trying to get eleceted as Sheriff. See whay Gary and Waldrip say about covering the City of Howe.
  • by Boomstick Location: VA on May 23, 2012 at 07:58 PM
    Yeah Howe is losing out big time. I mean they recently lost the best Officer Howe has ever seen to Van Alstyne and all because of budget cuts.....come one HOWE!!
  • by someone who knows Location: u.s.a on May 23, 2012 at 07:33 PM
    Let me see if I understand you the dummies, the city is in financial crisis and you want to PAY someone to come in and tell them how to cut costs???? The problems that the city faces at this time stems from the water line from lake Lavon. The housing market crashing and Mike Jones being an a** to developers is what has caused this. All I can say is good luck.
  • by Tom Location: Howe on May 23, 2012 at 04:58 PM
    You know I just love to read stuff on here you people type but none of you will post your name are you ashamed or you afraid of what other people will think if they see your name on here! No the cops don't do anything in Howe you can go down main street in the school zone and you know what no cop is watching how fast people are driving and they are sure not driving 20 mph, even on hwy 5 by the High School they drive 55 there when the lights are flashing 35, I guess we could get the State Troopers out there to help us, he travels that road more than the Howe Cops do
    • reply
      by Howe Resident on Jun 6, 2012 at 08:24 PM in reply to Tom
      I agree Tom, Van Alstyne Police work the highways and in town. The Police Department in Van Alstyne generates revenue. If the Police Department can't start writing some tickets on HWY 75 or in the school zone I think we need to get rid of all of them and let the Sheriff's Office patrol and respond to calls in the city. Also why do we have more Police cars than we have Officers?
      • reply
        by to howe resident on Jun 7, 2012 at 08:32 PM in reply to Howe Resident
        You would probably be the first one to complain about getting a ticket. Van Alstyne doesn't "generate the revenue" they used to by writing tickets. In Texas, only 30% of the citation goes to the city and the rest goes to the state. If you are so impressed with Van Alstyne Police, I would strongly suggest you move there. There are a couple of officers that should do more than what they do, but there are two officers that do work for Howe and deserve respect for the job they do. I don't think all of the people calling for there to be no police force understand what it would be like. The county has over 900 square miles to cover. There will be times they don't have a deputy available to answer calls in Howe. Van alstyne has their own problems to deal with and usually only has one officer on duty. So keep saying "get rid of those Howe cops!" Those complaining will be the first to gripe when they need help and it doesn't come, or doesn't get there in time.
        • reply
          by Howe resident on Jun 8, 2012 at 11:17 AM in reply to to howe resident
          30% is still 30%
  • by TM Location: Howe on May 23, 2012 at 04:05 PM
    The water rates are absurd as it is whenever you compare rates to surrounding areas... Over 200 bucks a month last summer just to keep the yard this side of dead (small yard)... 100 bucks a month thru the winter for 2 adults and high efficiency appliances!!!! First and foremost is why in gods name do we have a city manager?!?!? I've been asking that since I moved here 4 years ago... That's a part time job at best!!!! High paying position that's completely unwarranted... I'd love a third party to come in and investigate the real issue here!!!!
    • reply
      by John Q on May 23, 2012 at 05:22 PM in reply to TM
      Your water rates are high because the City of Howe buys it's water from the City of Sherman. And since Howe does not have a waste water treatment plant (that I know of) they also have to pay for Sherman's sewer plant to treat your sewer waste. ($$$$)
  • by Anonymous Location: Howe on May 23, 2012 at 02:24 PM
    Maybe they should have not spend all that money on 2 new police tahoes that could have saved a great deal of money. The howe cops don't do much they sit at the quick check quite often but I hardly ever see them paroling the streets we have had issues and car break in the cops say we will do more patrol on your street uhh yea nope see them once a week if even that I don't think we need a city manager at all or the 2 new tahoes raising water for the people who live here isn't fair we manage our money we shouldn't be punished because the city can't do the same!
    • reply
      by John Q on May 23, 2012 at 05:27 PM in reply to Anonymous
      The police package Tahoe cost about the same price as the Crown Vic Police Interceptor package did. And since Ford no longer makes a Crown Victoria, Police Departments are having to use different vehicles for their officers. And if you notice since Howe cut their Police force down to four officers I'm not sure they have an officer on duty 24/7. And if they cut down to two officers you will only have officers on duty at odd times. You can be sure the City will refuse to pay over time so after 40 hours you will be on your own.
      • reply
        by To: John Q on Jun 7, 2012 at 07:16 AM in reply to John Q
        Why did the city have to have take home cars for all officers? Some live as far as 25 miles one way. We could have kept it the way it was and we wouldn't have a car lot of cars on the property, why not sell them before they rot? If they cut positions, they need to start at the top, the Chief and Sgt. need to go first. We had some of these same problems years ago and the Police Chief was let go and the worst mistake the council has made in years is to put John Cherry in the Chiefs spot, it's gond downhill since then. God Bless them, I hope everyone complains because it's falling apart and they aren't smart enough to know what to do.
    • reply
      by Slim Shady on May 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM in reply to Anonymous
      To Anonymous...If someone were kicking in the front door of your house, or were beating the tar out of you, I'm sure you wouldn't be the least bit concerned about what type of vehicle the Officers arrived in. You would be grateful that someone else would risk their life to come save you. If you start at the Red River and travel South on US 75 to Dallas, you pass through several cities. Of those, and this is public record, Howe Officers get paid many THOUSANDS of dollars per year less than ALL of those other agencies, but deal with the same type of danger and drama that Sherman, McKinney, Dallas, etc... do. The Officers in Howe all know that when they leave their homes and families each day, they may never make it home. This is a choice they make WILLINGLY and for a paycheck that is a basically a joke. They do this for you. As far as patrol and vehicle break ins, Howe only has one Officer on duty at any given time, if that. It is pyhysically impossible for one Officer to patrol every street in town at exactly the same time. I'm not sure about the use of the term "break in" when all a criminal has to do is open the unlocked door of a vehicle that people refuse to lock because they live in a small town and think that nothing bad could ever happen here. It is easy to trash talk and bash others. Before you do, ask yourself if you would willingly lay down your life to protect a complete stranger.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on May 29, 2012 at 01:53 PM in reply to Slim Shady
        This all started years ago before they cut the officers down and yea we had to call the police and tell me why Van Alstyne got here before the Howe cops did when I live literally 2miles from the police station. The Howe cops do not do anything whether there is 4 or 2 of them they do nothing.. If you want to find a Howe cop drive to Quick Check they will be sitting up there for hours talking when they could be patroling, or travel up to Wyomings they sit up there with the VaPd all the time.. and lets see no the car was completely locked not unlocked we lock all vehicles at this house always have they busted a window out to get into the car.. They work in howe they arent laying down their lives for anything maybe if they lived in a more active town but get real they sit at quick check and other places they arent doing much else trust. The people on our block have been keeping count how often we see the police car come to our area and in the past month they have driven around the block once and past the street 1 time. if they have time to sit at quick check they have time to patrol streets use that time to do their job instead of sit up there. Im sure your are married to one of the cops or a cop yourself but get real you can't defend that when you yourself if your live in howe know they sit at quick check a lot. Quick Check was even broken into a while back yet being as close as it is to the station they had no idea I mean really come on now. Im not saying they are horrible I'm just saying they could greatly improve on things get people that will patrol not just sit and visit.
        • reply
          by Mike on May 29, 2012 at 09:29 PM in reply to Anonymous
          Anonymous you seem to know alot about the cops and how they work why do you become one! When something does happen to your house or your family you go right ahead and take it into your own hands and do what needs to be done. Sure is kinda of funny to that you don't post your name on here are you ashamed of who might see it? Stop whinning about stuff and you better be thankful we have police officers watching Howe, I guess your neighbors or whoever counts them going by stays up all hours of the night too!
        • reply
          by The Score on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:25 AM in reply to Anonymous
          Anonymous when you say they work in Howe, so they are safe? Here are Grayson County Cities and the officers killed. Bells-1, Collinsville-1, Denison-4, Grayson Co. SO and Const.-9, HOWE-1, Sherman 2, Van Alstyne-1, Whitesboro-3, Whitewright-1. If I left any city out please post that info. There is no "safe" city when you work as a Peace Officer.
        • reply
          by Anonymous. you are clueless on Jun 1, 2012 at 11:37 PM in reply to Anonymous
          So if the Howe cops are at Quick Check all of the time, how would they not know it was broken into? That was sarcasm, in case you want explain to all of us what sarcasm is since you seem to know it all!
        • reply
          by John Q on Jun 3, 2012 at 02:51 PM in reply to Anonymous
          If you live two miles from the police station you live in the county, not the City. Just be grateful Van Alstyne and Howe bother to show up and help you at all. Otherwise go complain to Sheriff Gary.
      • reply
        by To: Slim Shady on Jun 7, 2012 at 07:19 AM in reply to Slim Shady
        If you add in the take home car they actually get paid comparable prices. If you listen to the PD they are getting underpaid. But with any job you go into it knowing what you will be paid and you either accept it or you go somewhere else. The old saying "You get what you pay for" is in effect here, we are getting what we pay for, actually we get less than what we pay for.
  • by I Have An Idea on May 23, 2012 at 10:15 AM
    No one wants to make cuts to the police force? The same police force with 2 specific officers that, instead of patrolling the area or arriving quickly to a scene to which they were called, waste gas and other resources driving around town visiting with their friends in their homes. Even taking trips to dorchester to spend some time relaxing with old buddies. How about those two officers are cut, and the remaining two be left to actually do their jobs? Everyone knows who the two are that are dead weight and waste resources and time. Not to mention how they themselves have a flagrant disregard for proper procedures and protocol related to any sort of crime. They flat out don't want to work and essentially DON'T work. Then, once that's done, it would benefit them to bring in a consultant that could go over all the expenses and develop a plan that wouldn't cost the residents more money. Let's see if that idea is ever brought up. I'm sure it won't be because if an intelligent, logical person starts looking at ways to cut costs, they would start at the top and work their way down finding money spent frivolously and irresponsibly. Those things should be brought up at the next town meeting regarding the budget, possible cuts, and an unbiased third party looking it all over and suggesting the best way to handle all of this.
    • reply
      by John Q on May 23, 2012 at 05:28 PM in reply to I Have An Idea
      Do us a favor an name some names.
  • by Oh My on May 23, 2012 at 09:23 AM
    Here we sat again talking about cutting our Police Department and that should be the last thing that we talk about. We have City employees that drive City vehicles all over town on the weekends and then spend day after day at the quick check in shorts and houseshoes and then don't even get me start on the City secretary she is always so pleasent to talk to. Come on open your eyes we have to many city employees that do nothing. Get rid of them before you get rid of the people that protect you.
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