Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Missed Opportunity to Offset Park Costs

At last night’s council meeting my focus was on the golf contract. The council with very little discussion, except for Amir Omar, gave authorization for the city manager to contract with RGI for the next 3-9 years. So for the most part, the city council gave the rubber stamp of approval to go forward.

But, there was another part of the meeting that was even more interesting than the golf course contract. The new park in Richardson Height had the opportunity to offset some of the cost with a donation for naming rights. It seems none of the council had any interest in soliciting donations to offset the expenses, with the exception once again of Amir Omar.

Texas Instrument has been around Richardson for a long time. They do a lot to help the community directly and indirectly. They also have been given a lot in the way of tax abatements and incentives that haven’t always been as good as they could have been for the citizens of Richardson.

I am curious, if anyone on the council thought to approach TI and asked them if they would be willing to donate $100,000 or more to name the park after someone like Jack Kilby who invented the integrated circuit. After watching the meeting, it appears that thought was completely absent from anyone’s mind, with the possible exception of Amir Omar. Even the professional fund-raiser on the council didn’t seem to be interested in doing so.

So it seems that once again, Richardson has missed an opportunity to do a better job for the citizens.

Now, back to the golf contract.

On a brighter note, there were two speakers in the visitors section, Jim Mallett and Rick Shamblan. Jim spoke about how he appreciated the big steps forward with the new contract over the old contract. Rick very impressively spoke about some of the steps that could have made the contract even better.

The part of Rick’s speaking that seemed the most noteworthy was the game city staff seems to be playing with the debt portion of the golf fund. In an attempt to reduce the need for the ongoing transfers from the General Fund to the Golf Fund each year, city staff has decided they need to move the golf debt from the golf fund and place it into the General Fund. Next year, the Golf Fund will pay zero on the Golf debt and in the following years the Golf Fund will pay ½ of the Gold Debt and the General Fund will pay the other half. In theory when the finances are looked at, it will show the Golf Fund making debt payments rather than being bailed out by the General Fund year after year. Since the beginning of 2004 the Golf Fund has lost $2,917,466.

Rick Shamblan seems to be a very bright person who is interested in the right thing being done with the golf course. If he has good sense there then it stands to reason he would probably have good sense elsewhere in Richardson’s financial matters. Perhaps he would be a good choice to replace one of the current council members who seem to be lost when it comes to Richardson’s finances and what might be in the best interest of the city at large and the taxpayers.

Rick Shamblan FOR City Council has a nice ring.


  1. Maybe they didn't want to solicit such moneys because management had already decided to name the park for long term Richardson settlers whose descendants were present in the Work Session.

    Hmnnn--Considering how the City does most things, do you think they hired a consultant to help them make this decision?

  2. Rick Shamblan for MAYOR

  3. Amir Omar was, indeed, the only one REALLY asking questions, but here's the problem: the questions he asks don't seem to be backed by any sincere conviction on his part; he appears to ask a question because he has been fed it by someone, or that the question will score him some political points. Amir's comments are many times seen as political grandstanding by others. It may not matter to some, but this type of behavior sure matters to me.

    Is the new golf course contract perfect, no. Does it still handsomely reward Ronny Glanton, yes. However, is the the new contract much more favorable to the city, absolutely yes - even Jim Mallet, an oustpoken Glanton critic, acknowledges it.

    I suspect that had the needle on the golf course contract moved any further towards the city, Ronny Glanton would have been history, and that would be a huge loss to Sherrill Park. Once Ronny does leave/retire, you WILL finally see a very balanced contract, where the city will be the primary beneficiary (but will also assume most of the "risk"). The golf contract which the council UNANIMOUSLY supported last night was as balanced as it could be today, given the circumstances. Sure, Amir can ask questions, but remember, he DID still vote for it.

  4. Don't you know OMAR is running for Mayor. He is going to ask more questions now than ever before. He will HOG the meeting hoping that citizens will vote for him because he asked a lot of questions. Come on OMAR, the people are smarter than that.

    Oh, by the way...were they going to name the park "The Charles Eisemann Park". If so, get the donation up front.

  5. Anonymous 1:27, I have listened to Jim Mallett speak about the golf course and situation many times. He is consistently critical of the way the city manages the golf contract. But I have never heard him being critical of Ronnie Glanton personally. I think Jim has taken the proper route on his stances with the golf course, the contract and Glanton with his words in leaving out any personal attacks on Glanton.
    This is a minor point, but one I think is worth making. Thanks for your commments and thoughts.

  6. Anonymous at 1:27:

    So you believe those on the Council who sit mutely nodding like bobble heads at every management proposal and rubber-stamping it without comments or questions are serving their constituent's interests?

    For Heaven's sake - the way this is supposed to work is management is told to provide Council at least two ways to solve an issue, and the Council - who oversees the show, TELLS management which one is preferable. Presently and in the past, management has offered only their one preferred means, given the Council little time to examine it , and in effect demands the issue be adopted, which invaribly it is.

    I for one am tired of some Council person's refrains that "well they (management) have been here a long time, are professionals, and should know how to do things the best way." If you really believe you should unquestioningly defer to management's every proposal, there is no need for you to be on the Council. And after listening to Dan Johnson's rebuking diatribe to Council regarding why there shouldn't be any questions on the golf management issue after the "great lengths" management went to solve the issue, they should just vote for it, there is little doubt who actually drives decisions in Richardson. And at some point those actions and that kind of attitude need to be changed.

    Mr. Omar does ask questions - good ones. Listen sometime to the struggles staff has articulating answers to them. It is embarassing to watch his colleagues: Mr. Dunn, whose has an unfortunate problem in verbalizing practically any thought in public; Mr. Hartley, who seldom puts forth a question or an opinion because there might be the chance for disagreement which is to be avoided at all costs; Mr. Mitchell, who speaks often, but always trying mightily to be in favor of both sides of any issue; Mr. Solomon, (who is always prompted by a colleague to turn on his microphone, even if he doesn't need it) who never saw a staff proposal he didn't like and support, (he even asks, it is reported, for staff to draft answers for constituent' questions directed to him); Ms. Mackza, who is becomming much more adept at the "politician's answer" since she announced for Mayor. And Mayor Bob, who has trouble reading the necessary mayoral comments from his IPad. Mr. Sowells should really use 25 point or larger type for him.

    Because this television season has few hits, watching work sessions and Council meetings would be entertaining, except for the fact its how they are using our money to provide the entertainment.

  7. dc-tm, we really need a "like " button on your blog. Anonymous at 9;49 pm. 12 /12/ 12/ is right on target! Two thumbs up!

  8. Anonymous 2:24, checked it out and found how a "Like" button could be added. You wish (this one anyways) is my command. :0)

  9. Glanton ownes Turtle Hill Golf Course in Muenster, Texas, now how can he make that course work on the small revenue it brings in and he loses 3 millon in 8 years with the busiest course in town?

  10. After playing Sherrill Park for 25 years, it has always offended me the city wasted tax dollars over compensating RG. Previous comment stated what a huge loss to lose RG. The grass will still grow and people will still come to Sherrill. Golfers do not play because of the pro. If that was the case, my group would be playing elsewhere.
    Should have let him go. Now he will feel like the city owes him and only bad will come.

  11. I always found it interesting that green fees (100% city revenue) would remain low compaqred to other curses. If players wanted to play extra holes they would not be charged green fees, but they would be charged additional cart fees (100% Ronnie).

    Now after 20 plus years the city ask for 80% of cart revenues. It appears this has been overlooked for far to many years.

    I noticed Ronnie would only speak about his salary (paid to him by his Company), and not the net revenues to his Company. I had read ranged over 1 million. Not bad for a club pro... avg about $140.

    The city has felt the deal has been fair. So who can blame Ronnie certainly not me.