Feb 2, 2011, Mendelsohn Keeping Information From the Community
Creating an Esd
This is from the Texas Department of Rural Affairs. The following steps are needed to create an ESD.
- 100 Qualified, registered voters to sign a petition
- Present the petition to a judge
- The judge files the petition with the County Clerk
- The County Commissioners hold a hearing, should be posted by Sheriff at County Court house 20 days prior to the hearing and placed in the newspaper as well (1 day each week for 2 weeks)
- County Commissioners- grant or deny the petition
- Goes to Election
- IMPOSE TAX
- County Court appoints board.
The community has been down this route before. If it is left up to an election, the possibility right now is that it would not pass. The last thing people want to hear right now, is "More Taxes". However, since Ms. Mendelsohn and the Commissioners have continued to show that they don't care what the tax payers want, they will continue down the path of their agenda.
However, they can get around this, by creating a new entity, which is just a fire station like the other three VFD's, but since she controls the purse strings, the community can count on the fact that it will have the funding it needs. Tax dollars will not be enough to sustain a fourth department, so it is just a matter of time when Ms. Mendelsohn will be looking to close the volunteers down completely and "acquire" their equipment.
Why Create an Esd#6 Fire and Rescue Within an Esd#6
I have been asked why Ms. Mendelsohn is creating another "ESD" and the answer is not that simple. She is not creating another "ESD" per say, to the best of my knowledge, she is creating another fire department which would be a 501 (c)3, non-profit and she would then be allowed to incur as much debt as she or should I say, the taxpayer can afford to pay. An Emergency Service District cannot incur more than $20,000 in debt, currently putting her in violation of Chapter 775, the laws that govern the ESD's, but a fire department can. As Mr. Gil Perez, of SAFE D pointed out at the last meeting held by the ESD, he and others in leading roles and with political backing have come to the conclusion that they could get around that policy in order to "acquire" equipment, vehicles, etc. that is paid with ESD (taxpayer) funds.
Somehow this seems rather underhanded:
- If the ESD newly created fire department, is a fire department, then how could they transfer the debt from the ESD to a fire department, when the debt is tied to another fire department and the ESD?
- It would seem that the loans and debt incurred by the ESD would have to stay within the ESD itself, unless all departments were dissolved and the newly created fire department were the only one in existence.
I have come to the conclusion, that much of what is being done with this Emergency Service District seems more than just unethical, it is morally wrong by all standards and makes it very easy to understand the fears of the community members of the South Bexar County community.
I was fortunate to have someone get me a copy of an agenda that was posted for the next meeting of the ESD6. Their meeting was held on Feb 2, 2011 at 7pm. at the Southside ISD Administration Office on 1460 Martinez-Losoya Rd.
I received the information for the meeting and will post the information accordingly.
If the ESD6 ever finished the website they paid for in 2010, it would be much easier for the community to get their information.
One thing I did notice, if the board was re-appointed, as a new board, they should have had a vote for positions. However, after attending one of their meetings a while back, Ms. Vargas couldn't run a meeting unless it was written down word for word for her and the only thing I ever heard Mr. Wood say was, I'll second it. And it has been my understanding that Mr. Chavez has not been present at a board meeting since this all began.
A community member brought up the issue of electing officers and taking the oath of office, to no response from the board (Which is within their right even though it actually appears to be rude.)
Another item showed how quickly they were moving on yet another project to spend money they don't have.
The treasurer did not give an actual amount of funds available to the ESD6, but she mentioned that according to their budget, they are already $100,000 OVER BUDGET.
Mentioned was that they would be establishing a monthly budget item for South Bexar Fire and Rescue for $8,000, for use for daytime employees. Sadly they didn't have enough funding before the house fire a couple of days prior to the meeting; that took the life of a member of the South Bexar County community. Making this the first real tragedy, since Ms. Mendelsohn began her personal attack on the South Bexar County Communities safety. The board made a motion to continue to pay $8,000 a month to South Bexar Fire & Rescue and to make sure that they complied with"their" paperwork because they were not in compliance and their audit had to be dropped. So they have to use the Quicken program to keep track of their funds, having spent the payroll tax money and had to be bailed out by the ESD for a total of $9,000.
They made a motion as well to look into to getting a contract for the Computer Guy- the one that was suppose to build their website for about $671.00, got paid and they still don't have a website, guy. Since he has had an association with Ms. Mendelsohn and her late husband for years, creating their websites for numerous ventures, could be a reason he was given the job without following the proper bidding procedure and why Ms. Mendelsohn felt, he didn't need a contract. The board then voted not to renew the contract for the computer guy. Smart move, but over $3,000 misspent dollars are already gone.
- Banking- they voted to remove $100,000 they had as collateral on an account.
- Budget- they refused to show the budget numbers they were talking about to the community members present, after a long drawn out discussion they tabled the item. Open records request was met with legal filings from the ESD6, Louis T. Rosenberg to suppress the information.
BILLS, to include $25 filing fee for Certificate of Formation of Emergency Services District #6 Fire and Rescue. They approved $42,971.07 in payments for the month of February.The one item that was missing from this agenda as well as the last, is the $55,000 they owe to the architect. The last mention was in the December agenda, when they were suppose to make arrangements for payment and it has never been brought up again.
The last items lead to some questions that remain unanswered.
The formation of the fire station, hypothetically, although they didn't ask for funding for it; was part of the evacuation center. According to Chico Rodriguez's speech at the Public Meeting held at Southside ISD on January 8, 2011. He said that the USDA/RD grant had been denied and that the CDBG grant for the land was on hold. How is this fire station to be built without funding?
So, where is this new Fire Station going?
- How much is this going to cost the taxpayers? More money than already had misspent.
Who's going to run it?
How is this going to affect the existing fire departments and funding that they already aren't getting enough of? Ms. Mendelsohn was overheard telling another board member at the meeting that the ESD didn't have enough money to fund three fire departments.
Did they submit a new grant application without a public hearing?
© 2011 Lady Liberty