Mayor's Update #8: Blanco Mayor Responds to Rumors
By Mayor Bruce Peele
November 30, 2015
One of the joys of living in a small town is getting to know and work with a lot of different people. As Mayor of Blanco, I truly enjoy working with the wonderfully eclectic group of folks who have chosen to live here. The flip side is that some of those same people will pass on a rumor like it is gospel truth. What I have learned since becoming Mayor is to take anything you hear with a grain of salt and a little laugh and to check with the people who might actually know the truth.
When I was running for Mayor, a lady told me that I needed to learn to ignore rumors. When I asked what she meant, she told me the following: "A friend once said, ‘Let's start a rumor that you are selling your business. How do we do that? Well, let's go out to the corners of the property and paint orange Xs on the ground.’ So we did that and within a few days a visitor came into the store and told me that she had heard that my business had been sold. When I told the visitor that the business had not been sold, the visitor told me (the owner) that surely I was wrong for she had heard the "truth" from so-and-so."
In this week’s Mayor’s Update I want to try to set some rumors straight so you don’t have to rely on “so-and-so.”
RUMOR. “The City Water Plant no longer works and we have to get all our water from Canyon Lake.”
FACT. Partially true. The water plant was damaged in the Memorial Day flood. A few weeks ago my daughter and I put on our scuba gear and dove underwater to inspect it. We found the intake pipe is buried under seven feet of sediment. The City is working with FEMA to try to get funds to dredge the City’s three dams. We are also looking at purchasing a portable dredge to use for routine maintenance and to clean the waste water plant. For a while, the City thought there might be a problem with the possible presence of an endangered, stripped mussel in the river that might prevent dredging. Fortunately, the mussel problem has been resolved.
RUMOR. “The City wants to sell the Byars Building.”
FACT. True. The Byars Building, on the Town Square, two doors removed from City Hall, is inadequate to meet our City’s needs. The City believes the Byars building can be better used for commercial retail purposes. The City can then use the sale’s proceeds to acquire a better structure and also receive tax revenues from the new owner of the Byars Building. Sale of the Byars Building will not cause it to lose its historic status.
RUMOR. “The Mayor paved the street in front of his house with City funds.”
FACT. Not true. I live on a County Road and paving it is Blanco County’s responsibility. Since I have lived there, the road has not been paved. The City did pave Fulcher St from St Ferdinand’s Catholic Church up to and just beyond the City water plant. It is a heavily traveled street and it needed paving. We also paved part of Blanco Avenue on the east side of Loop 163. It was basically a dirt road and residents had asked for years that it be paved. The volume of traffic didn’t justify a full asphalt job so we chip coated it, which at least got the residents out of the mud. We recently paved Phelps Ave on the west side of town as that road was very deteriorated. We intend to continue paving selected streets in the City and repairing them with this year’s budget. Incidentally, we recently purchased a pothole patching machine that will soon be put into service. Any citizen knowing of a particularly bad pothole or the edge of a City street that is deteriorating badly, should let City Hall know so we can add that to the priority list.
RUMOR. “The Mayor used City funds to buy that shiny new Cadillac parked in front of City Hall.”
FACT. Not true. That admittedly fine vehicle belongs to one of our City employees. If the City Council would give me a raise, I might be able to afford one of those.
Finally, I know I don’t hear every rumor that is out there. But I take seriously those I do hear. I believe in open government and in fully explaining the people’s business to the people. That’s why I try to answer rumors from time to time in these Mayor’s Updates. If you hear a rumor or if you just want to know something about Blanco City government, please send me an email. Just go to the Blanco City website, www.cityofblanco.com; click on “Contact” and then “Email the City.” I’ll address your concerns.