The city council recall was initiated by citizens of Cortez because we want accountable, honest, and diligent persons making decisions on how our tax dollars are spent and the ultimate future of our city. The final approval for development of the Flaugh-Clark Subdivision at taxpayers expense was the spark that ignited the recall. Refusal to accept responsibility for the development of the Flaugh-Clark Subdivision testifies to the lack of accountability of the five council members up for recall. Council has argued that this project was started by a previous council and they were obligated to continue the process. However, all five of these persons were on council when the contract was signed in 2008 and there was no obligation until the contract was signed. Talking about something for two years does not present an obligation.
By not investigating and knowing all the facts and costs prior to approving the ordinances necessary for this project to be put into play, they proved the lack of due diligence. At the May 27, 2008, council meeting, the city manager stated is it worth $250,000, no way; is it good public policy, no way. If there were detailed plans showing a cost of $250,000, why has the current cost of the unfinished project already exceeded $325,000? This is what happens when you rubber-stamp proposals from city officials instead of having all the facts and figures.
By allowing the project to be posted on the council agenda just as any other subdivision and thus not alerting the citizens that it would be our tax dollars paying for this project, they showed the lack of honesty in our city government. If the project had been presented as an expense of our tax dollars, more citizens may have been at the August 24 council meeting to protest the final approval. City officials have stated that the development of the subdivision was posted as all other subdivision projects. This is true and therein lays the dishonesty, as subdivisions are usually paid for by the developer and not with city tax dollars.
Even though the majority of the citizens at the meeting stood up and voiced their disapproval of the project, the council passed the resolution. City officials claim that the Tucker Lane extension is a vital thoroughfare for Cortez, however, it will be years before the road is completed and hinges on development in Brandons Gate. Why are they spending upwards of $325,000 in this current economic downturn for a road to nowhere? This money could have been better spent to pave existing school bus routes or to fund the building of the Bridge shelter.
When the city manager was asked why our tax dollars were used to pay an artist to create a poster for this years birding event instead of involving our extremely talented school children in a contest with first prize being the subject of the poster, his response was, You will have to ask the director of special events. Isnt it the city managers job to make sure that our tax dollars are spent wisely? And isnt it the councils job to make sure that the manager is doing his job?
We assert that the city council members up for recall blatantly overlook the concerns of citizens and have acted in a manner inconsistent with the values of the citizens of Cortez. For instance, they allowed the city manager to utilize an emergency ordinance to construct the hydroelectric plant. This took away our right to vote on the expenditure of $2 million of our tax dollars.
And the fact that these council members obtained the signed recall petitions and contacted, and harassed, some of the signers is most definitely unethical. These council members do not even respect an individuals right to express their opinion. Some of the people who picked up packets to run for council were also contacted, and discouraged from running, by council members and city officials.
We feel that the current city council is not doing the job that the taxpaying citizens of this city elected them to do. When elected to an office, we believe that you are there to serve the people and watch out for their best interests. The people we are seeking to recall have failed in that job. If you would like a say in the future of Cortez and how our tax dollars are spent, vote yes on May 3.
Jodie Henley is one of the proponents of the city council recall currently before the voters.