Continued Financial Mismanagement, Even with Tax Increases, Leaves the City Short of Cash
KENNEDALE, TX, March 07, 2020 /Neptune100/ — Kennedale’s mayor recently reported that it appeared that the city would not be able to take advantage of a federal grant of over $800,000, because the city did not have the required funds of about $250,000. “Cities are like businesses and should always have operating capital. It’s a difficult and constant balancing act, but Kennedale’s city manager and mayor have proven that they can’t deliver sound financial controls,” said Joe Palmer, Executive Director of Kennedale Alliance of Business Owners.
Some of the errors that have gotten the City of Kennedale in trouble with Standard & Poor’s bond rating agency include:
• The city’s auditors have criticized the accounting controls and the comingling of moneys between the general fund and the Economic Development Corp, yet no actions have been taken to correct the situation.
• Prior activists and council members who questioned financial controls and transparency were unable to get such concerns added to meeting agendas because the city manager blocked them.
• Continued subsidies for the Kennedale Town Center are costing the citizens hundreds of thousands of dollars.
• Accounting mistakes, like the $800,000 error in water department capitalization vs. expensing, have resulted in large water rate increases in Kennedale.
• Closing businesses, the city recently closed Kennedale’s only Fortune 500 company. Closing businesses decreases revenues to the city and erodes the worker base in the city.
• Lawsuits and other legal expenses related to trying to close businesses like the race tracks.
• At a recent Kennedale City Council meeting, the city manager proposed a $2 million bond, without any plans for how the money would be used.
• City Council members Chris Pugh and Linda Rhodes, who are both up for reelection, continue to line up and vote behind Mayor Brian Johnson (who is also up for reelection) and the city manager on cases that raise fees and taxes and increase expenses
• The City’s refinancing of EDC bonds so that it can hold properties even longer, rather than just selling the unneeded properties and paying down debt and saving interest.
According to a tax watchdog website for Tarrant County, https://taxonline.tarrantcounty.com/TaxWeb/ratesExemptions.asp, Kennedale has the 8th highest tax rate in Tarrant County out of the county’s 41 entities. The city has plenty of undeveloped land along its corridor, yet it has been vacant for decades and the city has done nothing to attract development, other than buying and holding land through its Economic Development Corp and trying to force change through misguided zoning efforts that ignore the realities of Kennedale and the economics of development.
Joe Palmer, Kennedale Alliance of Business Owners‘ Executive Director, states “Kennedale is ready to stop the infighting. Businesses and development are suffering under the current regime; it’s time for some new leadership with fresh ideas that aren’t continually combative. The May election offers an opportunity to turn over a new page and make big changes at city hall, on the Kennedale City Council and in upper management.”
Palmer says that the members of KABO want residents to consider closely the actions of councilmembers, as both Mayor Brian Johnson and Councilman Chris Pugh have drawn challenges for the May 2020 election from Realtor Jerrick Drayden and business owner Gary Mitchell, respectively.
About Kennedale Alliance of Business Owners
KABO’s mission is to give members of Kennedale’s business community and people who live and work in Kennedale an advocate in dealing with the city and to keep businesses informed about issues that affect them. Anyone who owns or works for a business in Kennedale is eligible to join. Dues are $20 annually and membership is confidential. The group will hold its first meeting in the coming weeks. To inquire about membership or KABO’s mission, contact Executive Director Joe Palmer at (682) 774-5167 or by email at [email protected]. Visit the group’s Facebook at Kennedale Alliance of Business Owners at https://www.facebook.com/Kennedale-Alliance-of-Business-Owners-110704046932655/.