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Concerned Citizen Responds

Letter to the Editor - July 8, 2020

I write this letter to all the citizens of Marlin in response to Honorable Mayor Cedric Davis Sr. City Manager’s Letter written June 17, 2020. 

I will agree with you when you say it is not normal for former admins to get involved in current administrations. I stayed away and didn’t even attend a city council meeting for six months. Now with that being said, unlike you as a prior mayor when I see an administration violating citizen’s rights and out right breaking local and state laws and abusing employees, I don’t care what is politically correct. I was raised that what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. I will not sit back and allow this administration to continue to violate citizens and employees. So, what you call abnormal America, I call a great America.

I find it remarkably interesting the topics you choose to respond to. Let it be known you choose none of the legal allegations to speak about. You basically choose one or two out of like 15 to write about and those all you did was speak on subjects that you are not well-versed in. Sadly, you spoke about the past and not the future. Sorry sir but my term is in the past and no intelligent person really cares what past mayors did. We only care about the current and the future. I believe if you hold the current accountable then you don’t have to worry about the past nor the future. I am pleased with my accomplishments as it gave you $10 million to improve this city if you don’t screw it up.

Your comment concerning citizens griping and complaining on social media and then do nothing - you bring up all the things the citizens have done. Well sir, Marlinites have always been a strong community and helped each other. We are a strong Christian-based community and will always come together to tutor or children as they are our life string and the future of our community. Now to compare these items to what I was stating is like comparing apples and rocks. What I was referring to is holding our elected official accountable for their actions. Standing up when they are doing wrong and are putting our city in harm’s way. Citizens have concerns and want change but unfortunately are flat out afraid of retaliation and harm to their businesses and possibly being bullied by the same bullies they call out. The whole city can see the improper misuse of powers towards current employees and citizens and are scared to stand up and confront their accusers.

Your comment that I am harboring ill feelings because I lost to an intelligent, highly-educated African-American woman. First off, I find this a very offensive racial comment. I lost the election to a highly-educated woman. Unlike you sir I do not see or distinguish who you are because of your skin color. I love all people. I hire and work with all people. We are all human and God’s children. Now with that being said did our mayor make historical history, yes she did and I am proud that she accomplished that for herself. That is why at her swearing in and when I stepped down the first thing I did was to shake her hand and congratulate her on her endeavors. Individuals like you sir, are why we are having so much problems in this country. Keep your “color” comments to yourself, we are all human and God’s children.

Now let’s get into your comments about transparency. We had an issue in this city, where hundreds of properties belonged to the entities and where just sitting there doing nothing - overgrown, houses falling apart and not producing taxes. So yes, we created the urban development plan for two purposes. To require properties to be cleaned up and or build a home. We did not care what the property sold for and we sold a lot of properties for $50-100 each. So, how does that marginalize the poor, sir? We created the plan so if someone bought property, they were required by “contract in their deed” to clean the property or we could take it back. So again, the city sold the property cheap but had a contract to hold the purchaser accountable with recourse. We gave priority to anyone who wanted to buy a piece of property, and agreed to build a home on it. Hereby to redevelop areas of Marlin that have no homes. 

This sir, is called economic development which generates revenue for the city. Eventually creating more water taps and sewer taps to help lower our citizens water base rates as we would have more meters to divide it by and tax revenues to pay for roads. Again, if they did not build the home then we had a legal contract to hold them accountable and foreclose on the property, if they did not comply. So, you and the mayor advised and recommended, to the council, to cancel the plan and give control back to the county. Let's look at your plan. Your plan was to just put them back on the steps to sell to the highest bidder, with no requirements or contracts to hold the purchaser accountable, with no means to create revenue for the future. The buyer doesn’t have to do anything to the property if they don’t want to. The county did a sale with the minimum bid at 10 percent of the value yet you and the mayors demanded that it be sold with a minimum bid of 25 percent of the value. My average bids were under $200, whereas your minimum bids averaged $750-800. Once again you are incorrect, the city manager approved all applications prior to me signing deeds, not the city secretary. The program had a score card which was filled out by the city secretary and approved by the city manager. Please get your facts straight before you try to mislead the community.

You state that I have amassed much in Marlin. First off, I did not buy one single tax property while I was in office. None of my family members have purchased any either. I even went as far as offering if anyone could find one single tax property that I bought as mayor, I would immediately resign as mayor. 

Well sir, I finished my term. I only have one entity that owns properties so when you lie about me having multiple entities please get your facts straight before you speak about a citizen. I will not apologize to you sir, I have been successful with investing my money in Marlin, and have bought several properties. What I don’t understand, why you, the city manager, would not want a successful businessman to come to this city and invest in our community. Which creates revenue for the city. The program was created for economic development. Your recommendation to the council was to give $150,000 of the city's money and give a five-year tax break to a local hotel owner that already had five years tax abatement when he built the hotel and has only paid taxes for the last few years. You informed the council that the hotel would close if they didn’t receive more financial assistance. Well I guess you are easily fooled. If you had done your research, you would see that the owner owes a lot of money on that hotel and it would not be in his best interest to close it. 

Yes, they could file Bankruptcy, but the courts would require it to stay open to pay its creditors back. I am not easily fooled, as you. He has tried to sell it but it is way overpriced and has had it on the market for over a year. Your next recommendation was to hire a firm called treat. Well sir, you can’t see when you are being fooled. We had already informed this group that we would not give them $20,000, as we did our research and knew they could not fulfill what they had promised and no longer had the influential contacts that they might have had years ago.

Lastly let’s speak about your comments about water increases. First off, when I took office, and dug into the finances, it did not take a genius to figure out that the water department and general fund was losing money. TCEQ paid for a study and it was presented to council Aug. 4, 2016, in which they told the council that the water rates were too low and needed to be raised by 30 percent. 

The council chose not to take the advice and raised it a much smaller percentage. So yes sir, when I watched the presentation, read the report, and saw the financials, I could see that we needed to raise the rates to balance the budget. I presented to the council a five year plan to balance the budget, so it wouldn’t be as much of a hardship to the citizens. 

In order to balance a budget, it meant that the council would have to make a hard decision for the betterment of the whole city, and not just a small group. 

Then in 2017, we decided to take advantage of the largest forgiveness loan in our history, a 70 percent forgiveness loan. But we had to take an increase to pay for the loan. If you go back and listen to the recording you would hear, I asked the city manager and explained to the council that we were taking a rate increase that balanced the budget. We would no longer need to increase, per the old ordinance that was put in place. 

The City Manager was responsible to put the item back on the agenda to cancel increases. Unfortunately, he overlooked it and the increases did not get canceled. You and I had a conversation (around July 2019) concerning this matter. You were informed that the increases could be canceled if the current administration chose to. But the current admin chose to allow the increases. It's apparent that you have no clue how to read financials and/or balance a budget. You didn’t even create this year's budget. You had the finance director do it.

Citizens of Marlin I encourage you to reach out to our local DA’s office, Attorney General's office and our State Representatives office and file a complaint about this administration’s activities. There is a long list of them in my letter to the editor. Should you need a list, please PM me and I will provide it. 

The list that I wrote to the editor was not even complete, but the article was long enough. I will not stop until these criminal activities by our administration, primarily our Honorable Mayor Cedric Davis Sr. - City Manager is removed from his position as he is not qualified to run this or any city. My next response will be to the auditor.

Concerned Citizen,

John Keefer

The Marlin Democrat

251 Live Oak St
Marlin, TX 76661
Phone: (254) 883-2554
Fax:(254) 883-6553