I read that the City Council justifies the $ 10,000,000 debt they incurred for the citizens of Farmers Branch by (quote from the Web Site):

“… the Farmer’s Branch City Council voted unanimously to issue $10 million in short term certificates of obligation for the purpose of buying and eliminating dangerous buildings in the City.”

As a veteran of The City in the Park’s favorite game: Code Enforcement, I wonder how come the owners of these dangerous buildings are never invited to play. If they have Rats, Rodents and Other Vermin, leaky roofs, trash, grassy cracks, non-permitted storage, high grass and weeds, and/or inoperable vehicles why don’t they get citations like the rest of us? That would be so easy to do – the Code Enforcement folks wouldn’t even have to hide behind bushes in order to spy on these properties. They wouldn’t have to get out of their trucks and slosh through muddy easements in order to take pictures of your lone 9″ piece of grass next to your back fence.

Now, since the City is spending so much money on pretty signs, special pocket parks, roses, a new logo, and other very important projects to protect our Health, Safety, and Welfare, they claim they have to get the money to purchase these dangerous buildings from you and me – in the form of higher property taxes. I wonder if the City is aware that the Ordinances they so painstakingly created apply to commercial as well as residential properties. So far it seems that the residents are the majority of ones being cited for violations, and many of those violations are for things that by no stretch of the imagination could harm anyone’s health, safety, or welfare.

As I pride myself on my Innovative, Proactive citizenship, I would like to point out the following section of the City Ordinance that our Council members wrote, but must have forgotten. I guess they are too busy with important matters like buying nice signs and stuff:

Sec. 22-606.  Abatement; recovery of costs; lien.

All costs for the taking down and removal and/or restoring of such dangerous building or structures, including costs for mailing of a notice and/or publication, filing of a statement with the county clerk, bid procedures costs and/or interest shall be levied, assessed and collected against such property upon which such building or structure is located. If there are any obstructions or other difficulties encountered in the taking down and removal and/or restoring, if required by this article, of such building or structure, such additional costs shall be levied, assessed and collected against such property and/or shall also become a personal obligation to the owner of such property upon which such building or structure is located. The costs provided in this section shall be levied, assessed and collected by the city. If any owner of such property shall fail to pay the costs so assessed within 30 days after being notified of such costs, the city shall file, with the county clerk, a statement signed by the mayor of such costs. The city shall have a privileged lien on the premises and/or the personal obligation of the owner of such property, second only to tax liens and liens for street improvements to receive the costs so made and ten percent interest on the amount from the date the payment is due. For any such costs and interest, suit may be instituted and foreclosure had in the name of the city. The statement so made by the mayor, or a certified copy of the statement, shall be prima facie proof of the costs expended in such work or improvements.

 

I’ve read the interviews in which various City Council members claim that it would just be too hard (I can hear the whiny voices now), and too expensive, to track down some 33 individual commercial property owners and hassle them. Huh? That is an insult to our fine Community Surveillance team, who has demonstrated superhuman efforts in writing violation notices by the hundreds per week. As I’ve stated before: these guys (and gal) are dedicated professionals – let them at the violators. They will do whatever it takes to find every blade of tall grass, every empty pot, every missing fence picket, and they will even count decorative items for you. Hey – I just had two of them stand in the mud behind my house so they could inventory my “outside storage” items. They spent nearly an hour performing that personalized service just for me, so surely they can spend a few minutes checking out the commercial buildings. I feel so selfish taking up all of their time. If for some reason they can’t do it, I will – especially for 10 million dollars. That pay is almost as good as the PT Park Assistant job that I missed out on earlier. (See my 02 September post “Farmer’s Branch Jobs”).

I’m thinking that the Rats, Rodents and Other Vermin that the City is most afraid of are also known by another name: Corporate Attorneys. And Lord knows the City doesn’t need any more lawsuits.

But Hey – Good news: I just got a picture of the new Farmer’s Branch Fire Station. Someone forwarded it to me, and I haven’t had time to verify that it is the final plan or even that it is the plan. Won’t that new logo look great here. And I hope they have budgeted for street signs to point to the building.

Thanks, Farmers Branch Tax Payers!

 

New Farmers Branch Fire Station

Proposed New Farmers Branch Fire Station

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