City Attorney Eddy Rogers contacted Blanco County News to give comment on the recent article covering the December 16, 2013 Blanco County Emergency Services District #2 meeting, titled, "Automated External Defibrillators Now Installed at all Five Planned Blanco Locations", published in the December 24, 2013 issue of the Blanco County News.
He expressed concern that quotes published in the article needed response. He began, "Anyone who has attended city council meetings knows that the comment made by Wayne "Dirt" Dworaczyk at the ESD meeting that ‘(Eddy Rogers) runs the city—not the mayor, not the city council’ is a silly comment. Actually, the statement insults our mayor and our hard working, smart city council members. I think Mr. Dworaczyk should apologize to each of them.
Mr. Dworaczyk got on the city council agenda to ask the city to give the ESD a big plot of land the city owns on Blanco Avenue. What Mr. Dworaczyk was objecting to was what I stated at the meeting, namely a legal rule that for a city to donate property, the city council must identify a municipal benefit to the donation, and given that the ESD is obligated to provide emergency services and not the city, I could not think of a perceived benefit from donating to the ESD a piece of land.
The fact that no one from the ESD, the city council, or the audience spoke up regarding the possible benefits to the city indicates, to me, either agreement with my statement or something else: What Dirt called for in his agenda item was a simple donation of this valuable property, with no other information such as: its value, what the ESD exactly planned to do with it, how the ESD would finance a building facility, that would probably cost more than $1 million, what protections the city would have that the property would be used for building an EMS/VFD facility, when the facility would be constructed, what they planned to do with the existing facilities, etc.
I believe lack of discussion at the meeting simply reflected a poorly prepared ESD request with no detail."
He also commented on Mr. Dworaczyk's claim that Mr. Roger's attitude was "that the land is valuable and the ESD should take care of its business with no help from the city.”
Rogers stated "Yes, the land is valuable, probably $100,000 or more, and yes, the ESD should take care of its business. As I mentioned at the meeting, over the past few years the revenues of the ESD have gone from $200,000 to more than $500,000, so the ESD should be able to take care of its business without begging other state entities and private individuals for money and donations….that was my point.
On top of that, the failure of the ESD to acknowledge the help (the city) has always given to emergency services has been a sore point. The city gives the VFD and EMS free water, the city gave the EMS half the money (about $50,000 if I remember correctly) for an ambulance, it rents the BVFD a facility for $1 a year, and it has loaned a $200,000+ fire truck (which the VFD has poorly maintained). The municipal benefit received has been lower insurance rates for its residents, and the city intends to continue those benefits, I would guess. At some point, though, the ESD has to accept primary responsibility for furnishing emergency services, its mandate, and must live within its now-large budget.”
Rogers concluded, "My comments about the land suggested that the ESD should buy the property rather than expect to get it for free so that the city could use the proceeds from such a purchase to pay for a small part of the looming large city expenditures, primarily for a new sewer plant. If the combined facility is a good, affordable financial idea, it should be easily financed."