|Pastor Brad Burke|
Preacher Burke, the only one who spoke out during Tuesday's Public Hearing on raising the tax rate on Brownsville homeowners, addressed the commission:
"I'm opposed to the tax rate increase, knowing several homeowners already facing the loss of their homes. But, also, in view of the events of recent days, I suggest the commission table some project that doesn't have to be done this year and do something about the city's drainage problem."
Commissioner Rick Longoria interrupted Burke:
"Every time we have this discussion, people say; 'Don't raise taxes.' We've already cut the salary in city departments by 5%. I could buy ten acres for a retention pond near Boca Chica and McDavid, but where does that money come from?"
|Commissioner Jessica Tetreau|
"We could do some of these things if we weren't wasting money on microchips and empty buildings."
Mayor Martinez, with an obvious grimace at Tetreau's remarks, closed the Public Hearing.
The mayor and the commissioners who voted with him to purchase a dozen downtown properties for $3,500,000 taxpayer monies, have NEVER explained the purchases to their constituents. All but one of those buildings, still sit idle, off the tax rolls, deteriorating daily. One small building, the red brick structure at 7th and Ringgold was called into service as a secondary tourist office, but gets no tourist traffic. How would tourists even find it as no signage exists along the interstate announcing its existence?
The flagship for this Tony Martinez boondoggle is La Casa del Nylon at 1304 E. Adams Street, purchased for $2,300,000, triple its appraised value, from Martinez crony Abraham Galonsky. Martinez law partner, Horacio Barrera, unethically "negotiated" the crummy deal. Commissioner Longoria publicly described the purchase as "a great deal."
There is also the matter of the downtown mayor's office that Tony Martinez just had to have at 1101 A E. Washington Street. The city leased the building for a year, used city crews to remodel it, but the mayor NEVER used it.
Pastor Brad and Tetreau are both correct. The city has the money to address drainage if its elected leaders had their heads on straight.