Tag Archives: City of Fate

Former Fate City secretary convicted of theft

Add another Rockwall County public servant to the list of those convicted of theft of public property.

Sandra Lobban, who retired in June, 2008, from her job after many years as the secretary and sole bookkeeper for Fate, was sentenced last month by Rockwall District Court Judge Brett Hall to five years probation and ordered to pay the City back for $7,586.29.

She had made the purchases at Walmart using a credit card for such items as food, cigarettes, toys, drink mixes and more.

Be watching for the whole story soon at TheRockwallNews.com.

The above sum is just the amount that they could tabulate. New Fate City Manager Vicki Mikel said the records in some cases were such a mess that they couldn’t make sense of it and had to finally settle on a number so they could move on.

She said Fate records weren’t computerized until about 2005, so all the financial records before that were compiled with pencil and paper.

Have to wonder how much more Lobban stole which couldn’t be uncovered? Rumors from several Fate residents say even more money is missing.

We’re trying to find out more about this story!

City of Fate experiencing serious growing pains

The City of Fate’s population has grown so quickly since 2000 – from 463 residents to 5,139 – that it now faces a serious problem. Fate just doesn’t have enough revenue to do what it needs to do to keep up with homeowner growth.

According to yesterday’s Dallas Morning News article by reporter Jay Parsons, the capital projects which need to be completed cost eight times the town’s operating budget, so it’s going to require some very creative financing measures by the City’s new mayor, city council and city manager to fund the projects.

Most cities depend heavily on commercial property tax and sales tax, because housing subdivisions don’t generate enough tax revenue to pay for the services they require. But Fate is not attracting new business because business owners would rather open in nearby Rockwall, and because of the slowdown in the economy.

Some of the problems listed:

A less than 3-year-old sewage treatment plant shared with Royse City is running close to capacity and will soon need a multimillion-dollar expansion.

Many older roads built to handle farm traffic are now torn up and too narrow. Deteriorating streets border well-manicured new subdivisions, creating sharp contrasts.

And City Hall – a narrow downtown storefront – is so small the City Council leases a Masonic Lodge with poor acoustics for meetings.

Interim City Manager Trent Petty pretty well summarized the problem:

“We don’t have the revenue to do what we need to do. Even at double the tax rate [now 21.44 cents per $100 of property value], it’d be difficult for the city to meet service needs just for residential growth.”

Quoting Parsons:

“Without more commercial tax dollars, Fate will be hard-pressed to fund capital projects.”

“Fate officials have taken numerous steps to attract businesses but have little to show for it. Mr. Petty said he expects only one new business to open in the next year.”

Newly-elected Mayor Bill Broderick is quoted as saying he’s optimistic and confident that the City will accomplish whatever it needs to, but it will take time to attract businesses.

Quoting Parsons:

Mr. Broderick said the council just wants to get Fate to plan ahead and professionalize operations. Mr. Petty said he’s preparing the town’s first five-year plan, which includes basic infrastructure (roads, drainage and sewer) and facilities (City Hall and fire station).

“It’s a whole lot of catch-up from stuff that’s been allowed to slide,” Mr. Broderick said. “That’s why when I took over and sat down with [Mr. Petty], I just told him, ‘I want the emphasis placed on our city government structure and infrastructure.’ Get back to basics.”

Fate leaders said the town would find ways to fund the projects, perhaps by building small and looking to add on later, though that could cost more in the long term. Mr. Broderick said the council is also considering a 2009 bond election and may tap some reserves.

Maybe former Mayor David Hill just got out while the getting’s good!

Fate voters to decide on seven charter proposals this November

Voters in the City of Fate will be asked to decide on seven proposals to the City charter this November.

The proposals would:

1. Let City Council members and the mayor serve as many as three consecutive three-year terms, up from two terms now. A person could serve up to 18 consecutive years – nine as a council member and nine more as mayor – but no more than nine in either role.

2. Require the city to hold any runoff 20 days after canvassing election votes. The change from the current 30 days would bring Rowlett into compliance with state law.

3. Remove the monthly pay caps of $100 for council members and $150 for the mayor, beginning June 2011. Council members would continue to receive $50 and the mayor $75 per official council meeting attended, but removing the caps could double their pay some months.

4. Require the city to broadcast council meetings unedited.

5. Tighten conflict-of-interest rules, particularly to prohibit council members or the mayor from receiving outside financial benefits from their official roles.

6. Require a council supermajority – 80 percent of the members present – to issue bonds or other debt instruments. Currently, a simple majority is required.

7. Prohibit residents from petitioning for a referendum to reject council-approved debt issuances.