Candidates need to get the facts right

Opposing Candidate Statement:  In 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010….”money was not set aside like it should have been, instead it was spent with nothing to show and no significant reserve to boot….”     (Written by a VERY  UNINFORMED Council Candidate)


A year ago Standard & Poors gave Copper Canyon an outstanding AA- bond rating. S&P stated that the Town’s “financial position has improved significantly during the past five fiscal years from general fund reserves at 36% (of expenditures) in fiscal 2005 to 67% in fiscal 2010.  The Town ended fiscal 2008 with a $131,000 surplus that increased the unreserved general fund balance to $340,000 or 49% of expenditures, which we consider very strong.”  Standard & Poors continued “years of prior conservative financial management has resulted in the Town’s extremely low bond interest rate of 3.847906.”


(NOTE:  We need candidates who take the time to get the facts right –  and can understand, appreciate, and acknowledge the sound financial management the current and recent Councils have provided Copper Canyon for six challenging years.  We ALREADY HAVE small government, fiscally responsible finances, and elected officials that listen and respond to their neighbors.  “Simple”, it isn’t.)


Statement:  “Mayor Sue and Jeff Mangum put the Town in a $2,000,000 deficit.”


This is apparently a reference to the Town-wide road bond election last May, which was endorsed by 37 of the 39 member Long Range Planning Task Force.  With an excellent voter turnout, the bond passed by a sound margin.  My sincere thanks to our Town taxpayers who did not duck a tough decision.  Half of our interior residential roads have already been rebuilt or repaved since then.  A total of 90% of the residential roads will be rebuilt by December of this year. The economy of scale from bundling our roads into significant projects now, while construction costs are at record lows, has resulted in an estimated 30% plus savings of tax payer dollars. Due to the outstandingly low bids, over $300,000 of bond funds will still remain for additional road rebuilding as needed  The current annual interest cost of the road bond is negligible compared to the tremendous value we gained by rebuilding NOW!


Statement:  “The roads should have been rebuilt by pay-as-you-go.”


The Council and Task Force considered this, but it was not feasible.  The pace of rebuilding was far too slow and our 25 to 35 year old roads were deteriorating too fast.  Money spent on annual maintenance was only a short-term band-aid, but did not solve the major problem of our rapidly aging infrastructure. 


Statement:  Only $5,757 spent on Roads from the 2009-2010 General Fund.


Actually, another $22,190 was spent to replace undersized drainage culverts on Pilot Lane, where a Resident’s home had almost flooded.  This was also the fiscal year the Council and Task Force met to devise a Master Plan for rebuilding our roads and a means for funding their long overdue construction.  Regular road maintenance was held to a minimum that year – and the two prior years – to accumulate funds. The Budget surplus of  $131,000 in 2007-2008, $159,456 in 2008-2009 and $109,941 in 2009-2010 totaled $401,000, which was moved into the road fund in anticipation of the proposed Master Plan.


In 2008 Copper Canyon successfully competed and negotiated for $11.9 million dollars of scarce County road funds to rebuild Orchid Hill Lane and Chinn Chapel Road in concrete. Halff Associates, our Town Engineers, were critical to the award.  In 2009 the Town received a million dollars of County funds to initiate these two significant perimeter road projects.  Realistically, we could never have funded either of these critical road projects with Town property taxes less than $350,000 annually.


Statement:  “Did you know?  Mayor Tejml confronted the Sheriff’s Dept. about Issuing Too Many Warnings & Not Enough Tickets.”


If you substitute the word “asked” for “confronted”, this is an accurate statement.  Warning tickets were twice the number of citations.  Usually two citations per one warning ticket is the more common ratio.  A reverse ratio usually indicates a changed set of circumstances.  And this was the case.  The Deputy explained that the officers were giving motorists more leeway, until they became accustomed to the newly closed and one way roads on Chinn Chapel and Orchid Hill.  This was a perfectly logical answer.


(Actually, Council Member Mark Schmidt wanted to claim credit for this question to our Deputy, as Mark had observed so many speeders on Chinn Chapel Road in front of his home.)


Statement:  “Wait Until She Enforces the Neighborhood Pride Code.”


Actually, there is no “Neighborhood Pride Code.”  (It’s hard to enforce a non-existent Code.)  The Town Clean Up Day last October, chaired by Marshall Warren, had been very well received.  So, I asked Town residents to make suggestions for a possible Neighborhood Pride project.  Perhaps a Yard of the Month award or something similar.  However, the consensus was that a “Neighborhood Pride” was too much like a Homeowner’s Association.  So the concept was dropped.


(NOTE:  Ordinances still remain from long before I became Mayor that refer to safety, health, and fire hazards such as non-operable vehicles (i.e. junk cars and trucks), dilapidated vacant houses or sheds, unmaintained swimming pools, old tires, leaning fences, blocked drainage ditches, high grass or weeds.


Statement:  “Mayor Sue spent $9,750 of tax payer dollars on a Cookbook.”


This is a blatant misstatement.


The Copper Canyon Cookbook has been a totally self-sustaining volunteer project from the beginning.  It is totally funded by donations and advertisements, which have already been received.  No taxpayer dollars or Town funds have been used or advanced – nor any Town employee’s time or Town office equipment or supplies used.  The Cookbook has been a fun and rewarding project for the ten dedicated Town volunteers who have worked so enthusiastically on it for two years.


  College Scholarships for the Town’s Graduating Seniors.  The Copper Canyon Cookbook is a limited edition
of 250 loose leaf binders.  Proceeds from the sale of the cookbook will fund college scholarships for some of our graduating seniors. The Cookbook Committee anticipates that the Cookbook will be so well received that other Town residents will want to submit their own personal recipes for the annual Christmas “Supplement”.


 If the annual supplements sell for $5 each, there should be an additional $1,000 for annual scholarships for 3 to 5 more years.  The Cookbook is in its final proofing now for recipes, though we still would like a few more color photographs of Town people and their kids and grandkids cooking.    (This project was pre-cleared with our Town Attorney and there are no legal issues.)


Cookbook Chairman Pris Johnson and I personally explained all the above to Council candidates Mike Brasberger and Mike Sommers at the April 11th Council Meeting.  Many Town residents around us listened to the conversation and appeared to easily comprehend the basic accounting principle of Income offsetting Expense.  Therefore, any continued statement that tax payer dollars are being spent on the Cookbook is a knowing and willful mis-statement of the truth.


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