Congratulations new mayor and city council members on your new elected positions and pro tem.
This is the second attempt to communicate with the council on my request that the trash ordinance be amended to allow citizens to opt out of the trash service the council selected for those who receive no city water and waste water services.
I don’t appreciate my elected council members ignoring any of my concerns especially when the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan claims that the barrier of communication with citizens and their concerns is a high priority. The Strategic Plan also identifies as high priority: to communicate and cooperate in the community’s best interest, practices open government with community involvement, and making government accessible to all citizens. Thus far, in reference to my trash service,
I have received nothing less than a despotic response from the city manager and his subordinates.
I do not understand why the city council members, especially those who were involved in our annexation, fail to respond to my past complaints and request regarding my trash service. Many times I have communicated about the poor service and service I paid for but did not receive. Our bill was neither adjusted, pro-rated or money refunded. I received excuses while I continued being un-serviced! Many times I just overlooked the situation because I was exhausted from work, community and family needs.
I would like to make the following points in light of my original request:
Mayor Covington, in a packed room, a near standing-room-only capacity of over 200 people, was told by citizens that the city’s plan to annex us was only to expand Belton's tax base. Citizens advised the council that all of us did not need the city involved in our lives because we already had trash service, fire protection, law enforcement, sewage needs, animal control - everything we need (TDT 9/26/04 David L. Tijerian)
Covington denied and refuted those facts by claiming ‘the idea that Belton is just trying to annex to expand its property tax base, the idea doesn't hold water and “providing service” to the new areas would outweigh the property tax any areas annexed can bring in.’ What services was Covington referring to? Having the benefit of acquiring a library card? – Absolutely not! During that meeting, what we were told and he was referring to as “providing service” was city water and waste water service. The mail-out that followed also stated the same, none of which we received.
Later, after being annexed, we learned that the promise of water and waste water services was untrue and illegal because Dog Ridge Water Supply Corporation owned the water meters. Surely these facts were known well in advance before the promise was pitched to our area citizens. We also learned that Sam Listi illegally annexed many in our community because we were well beyond the required length of 500 feet from the center of HWY 1670. What we were given in 2004 was false information.
When my wife and I visited Sam Listi at his office to protest being annexed because we were way beyond the 500 feet requirement as he stated in a council meeting and not supposed to be annexed, Sam’s explanation to my wife and I was that he grabbed the entire neighborhood so neighbors wouldn’t laugh at other neighbors, “Ha Ha, you were annexed into city and not us.” I’m sure Sam remembers that statement because he chuckled when telling it though we didn’t see it as a laughing matter.
So today, we not only are being taxed to pay for new city water pipelines, water/sewage infrastructure, as well as maintenance and improvements, none of which our annexed area benefits from, we also have to pay for our own infrastructure, maintenance, new installations and water service to Dog Ridge Water Supply Corporation. What does the City of Belton contribute to our water provider’s improvements, new installations, and maintenance and sewage costs? Absolutely nothing! Not one penny.
Its common sense as to why we must contribute to Dog Ridge Water Supply Corporation, but why are we also forced to fund inner-Belton areas and north Belton developments which we will never directly benefit from in addition to our own fees for water and sewage maintenance that Belton contributes nothing towards? It is more cost on us to provide for city water and sewage improvements, new installations and maintenance as well as our own.
It would be fair and reasonable for us to have some ability to defray costs for that reason and because we do not receive services that were promised prior to annexation. As mentioned before, inner-city citizens, the City of Belton and north Belton contribute not one penny to our area’s water and sewage resource.
So how can our area citizens defray rising costs? The contractor for trash collection that you selected to service our area is a good start. That service charges more than the company I was switching to before the city manager interfered. I am able to receive the same options as well as more at a better level of service at a more reasonable price that benefits my family’s finances annually. The reputable trash service I was switching to has been doing business in Belton long before you chose the higher-priced contractor that took my money. And I believe it was intentional because of the service complaints I submitted.
Sam Listi’s response to me when I advised him I was done with that service was that no matter how I dispose of my trash, even if I refused to use his city contractor, he was going to send me the bill me anyway - force me to pay – and if I refused, he was going to turn me into a collection agency. Does that sound compassionate, fair and reasonable? I have sacrificed and worked hard to earn my perfect credit score. Sam turning me into a collection agency harms my credit and family’s well-being. Is this why I was annexed?
So, it’s really not my family’s well-being that is in Sam Listi’s best interest. It is money that he puts first to build and improve areas well-to-do. The issue is not even about proper trash disposal, health and sanitation. For Listi, It’s all about money - exactly what Covington denied and refuted in the 2004 annex meeting. The ordinance I was given doesn’t state anything about forcing bills for refusing trash service. The ordinance I was sent states:
Sec. 8-3. Failure to pay.
The charges fixed in this chapter for the removal and disposal of residential garbage, brush collection and central trash disposal shall be entered by the director of finance as a charge against each owner, occupant or lessee on the water and wastewater bills of the city. If any person fails or refuses to pay the charges fixed against him and his place of abode or his place of business when due, the city shall be authorized to cut off and disconnect the water and wastewater services to his place of abode or business against which such garbage pickup fees have been fixed and assessed. The city shall be authorized to discontinue garbage collection services until such fees have been paid in full.
I do not receive city water, I do not receive city wastewater service, the city cannot fix any charge against me as a homeowner for water and waste water -the ordinance was not written or fit to be applied to our area. But it does state that the city will discontinue my trash service if I refuse to pay for it. And that is it - all I am requesting in the first place, to allow me to cut costs via alternate trash currently servicing our area neighborhoods and since we contribute towards Belton water and sewage and our own yet receive no contributions from Belton for our water and sewage.
Since Paul Romer called me and threatened to cut my water off which he was ignorant of that the city has no authority to do – Sam can only revert to forcing me by another threat that will ruin my credit, as if being ripped-off multiple times was not enough. His explanation to forcing the bill on me if I refuse to use the city contractor was that it is for “Development.” - Development of what? There has been no development or improvements in our area since we were annexed over a decade ago. What we have seen since 2004 is millions of dollars diverted to north Belton as well as grant money.
There have never been any drainage improvements in our area as well, though we pay drainage fees. Here again, the bulk of those funds collected are being diverted towards north Belton. Even the tax exempt entities receive better service and improvements than us and we pay for that too.
If we were to receive benefit of our fees, it would probably be a curbing made-up of road base and tar like the ones Sam Listi approved for West Avenue J and Avenue F, both of which do not meet Belton’s construction and design codes.
Listi’s reason and statement to force the trash bill on me is exactly what Covington denied in the 2004 annexation meeting about broadening the tax base. Listi even admitted to me that I was being forced the trash bill because it was for “development” though the original 2004 reason pitched to us was to protect our borders from the threat of Salado, Temple and Killeen taking our land.
I have identified multiple times the poor quality service I received on the trash service.
I have identified witnesses observed on multiple occasions the trash truck drive right by my home;
I advised the city I was ripped off many times since annexation which many times I overlooked.
I advised the city many times that I was not happy with the service that I paid for and did not receive.
I advised that this issue is nothing short of Deceptive Trade Practice - promising a service and not providing it.
Certainly in the city council members’ own businesses refund for services not provided or accounts are credited. If any of your employees treated a customer the way I was treated you would’ve terminated them immediately. You wouldn’t tolerate it one minute or make excuses repeatedly. I also believe as Christian people, your conscience would not allow it, yet at my expense, the city council has looked the other way and allowed Sam Listi and Paul Romer explain it away.
So, again, I request serious consideration that the trash ordinance be amended to allow citizens in annexed areas that do not receive city water and waste water services, to be able to choose a reputable contractor that already services Belton, and which helps defray costs to homeowners. Even owners of duplexes get a break on trash service. I ask that it be placed on the agenda as a serious issue and in accordance with your strategic plan priorities to hear my concern.
I do not wish to receive input on this matter from Sam Listi as his interests are not in the best interest of my family. I also believe he is biased towards any request I make as past has proven. His attitude towards the above request will be the same as before when he attempted to weasel-out of mowing the ditches the county was mowing prior to annexation. Thanks to David Leigh getting involved, Listi adhered to what he promised us in writing after annexation.
I also do not wish to communicate with the double-minded Public Information Officer, Paul Romer, which I believe is a paid position that is a total waste of tax-dollars. You are the ones who make decisions and vote on matters that affect hard-working people. You are the ones who make the promises at election. You are the ones who should address citizen’ concerns, not script a hired spokesman to do the talking. It’s absurd. I want to talk to my officials, not a parrot.
Joe Trevino, Jr.,