Dennis Paul Fehler
2023 Candidate for “At Large” Council Member
City of McGregor, Texas
To: The Taxpayers and Residents of McGregor, Texas 76657
Why Support Me for “At Large” City Council?
McGregor has always been my hometown and I care about our Community and how the current City Management is functioning.
I was born in McGregor, 4th generation. I’m an “Ag kid,” raised on the farm. I graduated MHS in 1966. I lived and worked here until I joined the US Army in 1968. I am an educator, I earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from LSU, and a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University. I have lived on both coasts of the USA, traveled around the world, done business internationally, and worked for and with Local, County, State, Federal, and Foreign governments.
For over 5 years I have studied how the City of McGregor collects and spends taxpayer money. As a member of McGregor Water, Street, and Taxes [MWSaT] we have tried to join forces with the City by asking questions, providing council input, and offering to serve on City boards and commissions. Our individual and group efforts have had limited success. We have now concluded, the best way to work with the City is to be “part” of the City Government. Our McGregor Water Streets and Taxes group feels that I am now the best candidate to challenge the incumbent At Large Council Member and potentially influence the other 5 Council Members.
My primary interests are City management, City spending, and the City debt. I want to know more about where the money comes from and how is it spent. The issue in McGregor is tax money is difficult to track. There are no employee timesheets, the City does not use Project Numbers [to track all spending], and the City Manager has the power to move money from one fund to another fund with little or no supervision. These money issues need to be addressed by an experienced reviewer and corrected as soon as possible.
Many feel I have the education, experience, and wisdom to contribute to the important work of the City and the City Council. If I’m elected I will always do my best to listen carefully, control spending, and report the City Council work and agenda(s) so we can all discuss the benefits and liabilities of City business and vote accordingly.
I would appreciate your consideration and your vote in the May 2023 City Election.
My complete online resume — dennisfehler.com/resume
Dennis Paul Fehler
118-B South Main Street
McGregor, Texas 76657
Letter to the Editor – McGregor Mirror
To disagree with someone’s position does not mean you have a negative attitude. But this is the way some members of the Council and their friends have chosen to label Dennis Fehler. “He has a negative attitude!” “He is bombastic!” “He hates McGregor!” I disagree with these assessments. I believe Dennis, born and raised here, loves McGregor. He demonstrates his love of this City in his tireless efforts to bring transparency to city government. Dennis fights for the common man, the blue-collar worker, and the retiree. Dennis fights for more affordable water bills, better streets, and efficiencies in city government. Dennis fights for oversight into the ever-growing mountain of debt the City of McGregor keeps taking on. Dennis fights for accountability from the Economic Development Commission. Dennis fights for affordable housing and reasonable development. I have long viewed Dennis Fehler as serving in the unpaid and underappreciated role of McGregor’s conscience. What is done behind closed doors in our city’s government Dennis tries to shine a light upon, and to explain complex issues in layman’s terms. To disagree with someone’s position simply means that you have a different perspective to offer, and it is up to each of us to weigh the merits of all positions. I believe that Dennis Fehler would bring balance to the City Council of McGregor!
What Are My Primary Concerns and Issues in Seeking the “At Large – McGregor City Council” Position?
Currently, McGregor’s leadership “tells the story that best suits their agenda and narrative.” Taxpayers should have the opportunity to read and understand community decisions [before they are finally decided] and not just “trust in City leadership” to say what is so.
Things We Should Change Given The Opportunity:
1) City Management – The management style we are enjoying now involves a great deal of City Debt and extravagant spending. The City Manager has created many new FUNDS that hold money for specific purposes. He is always “finding funding” [for this or that] – by withdrawing money from one City FUND and transferring it to another. The City Budget is very difficult to follow as you read – “Transfer IN and Transfer OUT.” These management practices need to stop.
2) City Spending – Every bureaucrat learns in Spending 101 class you always need more funding in next year’s budget because if you don’t need more, you will get less. Every City Manager’s “promotion and tenure” should be based on the money they saved not the money spent. The City’s spending has exceeded their available funding so City Management borrows more and more money using Certificates of Obligation [COs] – [Without Voter Approval]. These spending practices need to stop.
3) City Debt – The City of McGregor does not accurately account for the “actual City Debt in the City Budget.” The Texas Bond Review Board publishes the actual City Debt with data the City of McGregor provides to them. According to the BRB Local Government Debt Database – [as of FY 2022] the recorded City Debt is $40,596,852.00. In 2023, at a recent City Council meeting, the City borrowed $10 Million Dollars. In total that is $50.6 Million Dollars in current Debt and the City Council has authorized spending millions more. It is currently unclear which of the Certificate of Obligation loans are “variable interest rates.” http://www.brb.texas.gov/local_debt_search.aspx — These debt practices need to stop.
4) Accountability – The City should use “Project Numbers” for any City Contracts, City Fund Transfers, City Spending, [more]. So both taxpayers and City managers are able to track actual cost [by project and fund] more accurately. All City Employees should keep daily/weekly/monthly “time sheets.” So both Voters and Managers know the actual work being accomplished and that work cost taxpayers. **NOTE – I have never had a job where I was not required to account for every minute of my time.
5) Affordability – The Council should consider building more affordable housing in McGregor. The council should help current residents that are systematically being Taxed out of their homes. The Council should consider lowering our Property Taxes and increasing property value by improving the condition of our Streets. The Council should take action to decrease the cost of living in McGregor
6) Transparency – The City Council Agendas should be posted on the Monday before the next Council meeting. The City Council Minutes should be posted with the Council Agendas. All City contracts should be posted online – [proposed, pending, in committee discussion, and approved by Council].
7) Responsibility – As taxpayers, we should investigate carefully the management, borrowing, and spending practices of the McGregor City Government. The answer is the City Council. We need new leadership and better fiscal responsibility for taxpayers.
More detailed information —
McGregor Water, Streets, and Taxes – Facebook Group
Dennis Paul Fehler
118 B South Main Street
McGregor, Texas 76657