Weatherford Democrat

May 6, 2013

Town Of Annetta candidate Q & A


Weatherford Democrat

ANNETTA — Here is a look at the candidates seeking Place 3 or Place 5 on the Annetta Town Council. In Place 3 incumbent Chuck Sheridan faces challenger Joann Jessup. Mike Brasovan and Kent Stasey are running for Place 5, currently held by Farrar Patterson, who did not refile.



Position: Annetta Town Council, Place 3

Name: Chuck Sheridan

Age: 66

Occupation: senior vice president, mortgage lending, Omni American Bank

Family: wife Laurie, 24 years; two sons (Dayton and Brendan) both graduates of Aledo ISD and both currently enrolled in college

How long resided in city: 24 years in the same home, which was annexed into Annetta city limits two years ago

Community involvement: member of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church; Board of Realtors; Mortgage Bankers Association



What are the three most important issues the city is facing? How do you plan to address those?

First, the water system is a critical issue to the citizens of Annetta and the customers of our

water system, many of whom do not currently reside inside the city limits of Annetta. The

engineers hired by the city told us that we needed three wells in order to bring the water

system into maximum efficiency. One well has been drilled and is now operational. We need to work with all concerned to find suitable site locations for the remaining two wells and complete that process. We also need to work together to develop a plan to insure that maintenance and repairs on the system are up to date.I believe that the appointment of the Water Advisory Committee was one of the best things the Annetta City Council has ever done. The members of the advisory committee studied the issues facing the city and provided sound advice that has helped the mayor and council move forward. At this time, I do not think the city is ready to take over the day-to-day operation of the water system from Hudson Oaks. As noted in the Water Advisory Committee’s report, and backed up with financial data they provided, Annetta simply cannot operate the system as well or as cost efficiently at the present time as Hudson Oaks is doing. We are still in the learning phase. While we someday hope to take over the operation of our water system, now is not the time. Second, the proposed annexation of approximately 450 homes into the town of Annetta is an issue that must be appropriately dealt with by the council. I am in favor of the annexation of area residents serviced by the city’s water system. When new residents are brought into the city, the city will be able to collect franchise fees paid by the utility companies those families use.I have estimated that this will increase the revenue earned for the Town of Annetta by approximately 100 percent over what is currently being paid to our town by utility companies. This additional revenue will enable Annetta to pay for much needed road repair and establish an annual road maintenance plan. In addition to increased revenue, this will enable more citizens to have input into city government and an opportunity to serve our community. This would hopefully result in better representation of the entire community.

Road repair and maintenance is also an issue that is extremely important to our entire community. When our roads are in disrepair, as they are now, accidents are more likely and our vehicles are subject to costly damage. This is not good for anyone. The Town of Annetta has very limited funds to repair roads. In fact, it was only two years ago that the council established a form process to budget for road repairs. One benefit of the annexation of additional homes on the water system would be increased revenue from franchise fees, some of which could be designated for road repairs. We must fix the roads that are currently in need of repair and develop an annual road maintenance plan so that work is done before the roads get in such bad shape. Like most things in life, maintaining a road is much more cost effective than repairing it after problems develop.



Are you for or against the annexation of area residents served by the city’s water system? Why?

At the December 20th council meeting, I made a motion to accept the annexation petition and start the process for two public hearings. This would have allowed the entire community to have questions answered and concerns addressed. The purpose of the public hearings, according to state law, is to allow a time period during which the “pros and cons” of the issue can be discussed by all involved. Unfortunately, my motion died for lack of a second. Every member except Farrar Patterson was present. Mayor Pinckard called a special meeting on January 3, 2013, to discuss annexation again. Again, I made a motion to begin the process of public hearings. My motion again died for lack of a second.

In March the council held a workshop on annexation. Community members (Annetta residents and water customers) attended. Questions were asked and concerns raised. Two primary issues came out. First, what costs would be incurred by the city if the homes were annexed into the city - primarily costs of maintaining the roads where these homes exist. Second, how much income might be derived from these households if they are added to the city’s rolls to help offset those costs.

Within a few days after that workshop, we had the answers. Commissioner Renfro gave his assurance that prior to any annexatian, the county would bring all county roads to be annexed up to county standards. Furthermore, we were able to determine the approximate costs associated with road maintenance. We contacted utility companies to determine possible income from franchise fees. Each time a customer pays a bill to a utility company, that company pays a franchise fee to the city. For those who live outside of Annetta, that income is “left on the table.” So, even though those families use Annetta-owned water and drive across Annetta-maintained streets, Annetta doesn’t collect the franchise fees from their utility companies. We determined that the increased franchise fee income from the annexation should increase income to Annetta by approximately 50 percent over the amount now collected annually. This would cover any increase in road repair expenses.

These questions, raised at the workshop, are exactly the kind of benefit that comes from the public hearing process. I support the annexation of these families. They are our water customers and our neighbors. They contribute to our schools and our community. Clearly, they will bring many added benefits to Annetta.



Why do you believe you are the best candidate for the position? What separates you from your opponent?

I have lived in the same home here for 24 years. I raised both my sons here in the Aledo school district, and my wife and I have been active in the community. I decided to run for the city council two years ago because I wanted to represent my friends and neighbors, and to help make the best decisions possible for the entire community. I am not a politician. I’m a husband, a father and a businessman. I care about my community, and it has been a privilege to serve. Having served for the past two years on the city council, I believe I have invaluable experience regarding the internal operations of the City of Annetta. I have proven myself to be a voice of the people; I have presented myself with professionalism and shown fiscal responsibility with the city’s assets. I have helped provide integrated solutions to solve the problems of the city and earned the mutual respect of not only fellow council members, but also the citizens of the community. I have never started anything in my life that I haven’t finished. I decided to run for re-election because I believe that we still have some work to do. I am grateful for the support I’ve received and I respectfully ask the people of Annetta to vote for me again, so that we can continue the work we’ve started and finish the projects on the table. I promise I’ll do my best to serve with integrity and honesty as I have done the past two years.



Position: Annetta Town Council, Place 3

Name: Joann Jessup

Age: 41

Occupation: sales / certified public accountant

Family: husband, 13 years; two boys (ages 5 and 7). Both attend Aledo schools; two dogs, Hank and Bogie

How long in Annetta: 5 years

Community involvement: Aledo youth soccer coach for 4 years, Aledo youth baseball coach for 4 years

 

What are the three most important issues the city is facing? How do you plan to address those?

High water rates: As a Deer Creek water customer myself, I too am frustrated by the high water rates. Just the water for inside my house in the winter runs over $100. I would like to see lower water rates and plan to use my skills as a CPA to investigate the finances of the water system to determine if we can make changes that allow for lower water rates.

Lack of water supply: Not being able to water at all in the summer is very frustrating for all of us water customers. I would like to see more water wells and tanks constructed in areas that do not lower or depreciate home values. I will push for more resources toward constructing these wells and tanks and getting them operational in a timely manner.

Road Conditions: Our current road conditions are not optimal. The council was able to budget $15,000 for roads and will use that money to repair only a small section of roads in our town. I would like to see more money budgeted for roads if possible, especially if the annexation of more residents occurs.

 

Are you for or against the annexation of area residents served by the city’s water system? Why?

There are some great reasons to annex the area residents that are serviced by the water system. By annexing these people in, they will have a vote in the city elections and can elect individuals that share their ideals and concerns on the water system. This will also give these neighbors a feeling of community instead of feeling like outsiders. Annetta will also have more oversight on zoning of these areas and can assist in keeping the “small town” feel that most people desire. However, as a CPA, my concern is the finances. There needs to be an independent analysis done to look at the increase of revenues compared to the increase in expenditures this will create. The annexation would possibly double the town’s population, and the increase in revenues may or may not be able to cover the increase in expenditures brought on by this. Just an example, is our roads. The town was able to budget $15,000 for roads in 2012. That will only cover a small portion of roads. The annexation will increase the number of roads in our town. I do not want to annex these folks in and then not be able to provide them with the necessary road repairs they deserve.



Why do you believe you are the best candidate for the position? What separates you from your opponent?

I believe my 20 years in business and sales as well as the fact that I am a CPA qualifies me for this position. I am independent and am not running in any group; therefore, you can be assured that I will not align myself with any one councilman or mayor on an issue based on who I ran the race with. I will look at all the issues independently, collect the facts, report the truth, and vote based on what is best for the people of Annetta and not my own personal gain. I have a strong voice and am not afraid to state my opinion. I will admit when I am wrong. I have a strong track record of negotiations and conflict management. I promise to work professionally with other members of the council and not hold disagreements personally.



Position: Annetta Town Council, Place 5

Name: Mike Brasovan

Age: 43

Occupation: energy/utility consultant

Family: wife Karen, 19 years; two kids, ages 16 and 17.

How long resided in city: 1.5 years in Annetta, 8 years in Annetta North

Community involvement:

Chairman Elect for the Parker County Center of Hope Board of Directors

Member of the East Parker County Chamber of Commerce (EPCC)

EPCC Business Development Committee member (which interacts with local governments in Aledo, Willow Park and Hudson Oaks)

EPCC Legislative Affairs Committee member

Men’s Bible study leader at Trinity Bible Church

Former Sunday school teacher at Christ Chapel Bible Church

Delegate to the Texas Republican Convention – 2008, ‘10, ‘12

Delegate to the Republican National Convention - 2008



What are the three most important issues the city is facing? How do you plan to address those?

Annexation Request: Bringing ~590 houses into the city would roughly double Annetta’s population. I was one of the few citizens that spoke during the December meeting about this, and was generally supportive of the request. However, I also encouraged the council to take its time to make sure it was done right and would be a good thing for the city. The city, as of late March, still didn’t have the data necessary to determine if the annexation would be good or bad financially for Annetta. We need that information before a decision can be made.

Water System Improvements:  Upgrades need to be made to the system and the city has borrowed the money to accomplish this, but well sites haven’t been identified for both ends of the system and tank locations are needed on the north end. I recently located an old contract between the water system and Split Rail developers that should have put the north side improvements in place at no cost to the water system. This same agreement gives free water to the golf course. It is my hope that an amicable solution can be put in place between the contract’s parties, saving the water system at least some of the $200,000 to $300,000 needed for north side improvements and hopefully move the projects forward quickly.

Unifying Annetta: We need someone able to work with the council, even members they disagree with, to make sensible, timely decisions. I have a demonstrated track record of doing that and doing it well. I am not aligned with any candidate or council member, and am not beholden to any group with an agenda. I am independent, able to listen to both sides, and will vote based on what’s best for the city as a whole.



Are you for or against annexation of area residents served by the city’s water system? Why?  

I am for whatever is best for the City of Annetta. As I stated earlier, we don’t have all the facts to determine the costs and benefits of the annexation. I believe it’s irresponsible to blindly support an annexation that could create unsustainable expenses for the city.  

Once the facts are gathered, and if the facts indicate that the annexation would be a probable monetary benefit to the city, then the petitioners should request annexation again. Under those circumstances I think the petition should be discussed and the citizens of Annetta would have an opportunity for public comment. I would make my decision regarding whether to vote for the annexation based on the feedback of the citizens and a thoughtful analysis of the costs and benefits to the city.



Why do you believe you are the best candidate for the position? What separates you from your opponent?

I have a wide range of experience that will help me serve Annetta and sets me apart from my opponent. For 20 years I’ve been in the business of working with various utility customers across the nation – negotiating contracts and helping them lower their rates and receive better service from utility companies. Through this I have also worked with regulatory agencies, written rules and regulations and proposed legislation. This has given me experience and relationships that could help me better serve our city.

This customer focus should address any unfounded concerns that, because I’m not on the water system, I wouldn’t support the system’s customers.

My independence in this race also differentiates me. Unlike my opponent, I’m not running as part of a slate of candidates. I have no agenda other than serving the citizens to the best of my ability. This frees me to listen to all sides of issues, build consensus on the council and concentrate on making the best decisions for Annetta. In short, I believe I will be better positioned to help bring unity to the council.

Finally, my opponent and I have a different approach toward the Deer Creek annexation request. My opponent’s website states that he supports the annexation as “the right thing to do.”  I strongly believe the decision to annex more than 500 homes cannot be made without having solid data, as well as giving Annetta’s residents an opportunity to be heard. It may end up being the right thing, but we don’t know that yet.  

If you want to know more about me, please visit www.MikeBrasovan.com for a link to my Facebook page.  Look at up to three years of posts. It’s a great way to get to know me. Or email MikeB@MikeBrasovan.com.



Position: Annetta Town Council, Place 5

Name: Kent Stasey

Age: 51

Occupation: senior pricing analyst of natural gas commodity for industrial retail customers

Family: wife Mary Beth; son, Tanner, a graduate of Aledo High School, currently a junior at UTA; and daughter, Samantha, who is in the fourth grade at Stuard Elementary School

How long resided in city:  My family and I have lived in our home here for the past 11 years

Community involvement: I have served in various athletic coaching activities with my children, most recently with my daughter’s Aledo Lions youth basketball team. I recently completed a three-year term as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at our church, Aledo United Methodist Church. My wife and I both participate in leadership projects with our church and help our daughter with her community activities, including a project we recently helped with to raise money to support the Pythian Home, which she initiated with her Sunday School class after her classmates at Stuard Elementary School “adopted” a young girl residing at the Pythian Home for Christmas. Our next family project is to support the “Give One Day” project in East Parker County.  



What are the three most important issues the city is facing? How do you plan to address those?

Our citizens and customers want and need safe, well maintained roads. We don’t have that now. We can work together to address the roads in a reasonable, cost effective way. As I’ve spoken with our residents, road conditions are often mentioned. We may not have a lot to spend on repairs, but we must spend our money wisely and meet the community’s needs. We need to budget for road repairs and maintenance and monitor the budget to maximize our resources. We need to work with the county to be sure we are using those resources wisely as well.  

Our water system is our greatest asset, and it must be improved and maintained to protect this asset for our citizens and water customers. It must be operated in a financially sound way so that maximum income from the system is available to pay existing debt and provide income for repairs and maintenance in the future and ultimately lower rates. Hudson Oaks is managing the system well for us and we need to take full advantage of their expertise until we have the infrastructure and historical advantage to operate the system ourselves in a financially sound way.

Our citizens want representation on the Council that respects city ordinances, works cooperatively with the Mayor, has the experience necessary to tackle the tough issues, and listens to ALL of those who are served by the city - current residents and water customers. Council members must consider the impact their decisions have on the entire community. I’ve spoken to the residents of Annetta and heard from many others who want to be in Annetta. They aren’t happy with the attitude at council meetings in the past year. I’ll be sure that residents and customers will feel welcome at meetings and have a place they can get their questions answered and their needs met.  



Are you for or against annexation of area residents served by the city’s water system? Why?

I am in favor of the annexation. I believe that our neighbors who have asked to be annexed into the Town of Annetta should be welcomed into our city and that the addition of these homes will generate much needed revenue from utility franchise fees (collected through regulated rates of utility companies) for our roads and other city needs. My family and I have been a customer of the water system for 11 years.  It has had three owners during that time. Approximately 75 percent of homes on the system are outside the Annetta city limits. Those families will be responsible for repayment of the debt associated with the purchase, repairs and maintenance of the system. A legally drafted petition was presented to the current council members but the motion to proceed died for lack of a second.  

These families have no vote in any matter before the council, including matters that specifically impact their water, which impacts the value of their homes. Several years ago, we fought for the purchase of the system from Willow Park because we had NO vote and NO representation in Willow Park. Current councilmen Machak, Wood, Patterson and Moore (whose homes are not on the water system) apparently believe restricted representation should continue and vote that way as a group. This behavior leaves the majority of the Annetta water system customers without any voice in preserving their property values, yet again, but still paying the majority of the debt. Not only is that not fair, it is not good business.  We have an opportunity to bring these homes into the City of Annetta, collect the fees available from utility companies, increase city revenue and bring our neighborhoods back together while building goodwill and community, which has been severely damaged in recent months.

    

Why do you believe you are the best candidate for the position? What separates you from your opponent?

My family is dependent on the water system owned by Annetta, and I am directly impacted by the decisions made by the Annetta City Council. I’m neither a developer nor an investor, nor do I have any plans to be one. I simply want to do the right thing for my family and the families who live in my community. I have not run for other political offices and I do not have plans to run for other positions. I am focused on Annetta! I support the annexation of other families who want to have some say in how decisions are made that impact their life and their property.

I have lived here for 11 years, and I’ve shown that I believe in this community and I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and get involved. I know that my business experience will serve the community well when faced with important decisions that impact the lives of our citizens. I have a degree in business, utility business experience, I understand finances and I know what it takes to get a job done.  

Most of all, I was raised in a family where I learned that integrity was the most important value a person can bring to the table, and I work hard to prove myself trustworthy and ethical in my personal and professional dealings with people.  I believe that we should respect city employees, residents and customers, and build an atmosphere of goodwill and the willingness to DO THE RIGHT THING.

I have spent extensive time educating myself regarding the annexation issue and would NOT recommend annexation unless I felt it was financially in the best interest of Annetta citizens today and for the future.  My opponents “wait” behavior simply aligns with the council members that refuse to second the motion by Councilman Sheridan to have formal hearings and initiate analysis and public input through the process allowed by state law. The motion died for lack of a second, twice. The mayor initially called a special meeting in January 2013 because the data indicated a positive effect for the town.

I am not a politician and I am willing to take a stand on an issue that is critically important to current and potential citizens of our town. My stance is based on sound data that is already available to the mayor and the town or anyone willing to put in the work, it’s the Right Thing to Do.