We recently approved a 5+ million dollar bond package to expand our water system here in Aubrey, which I did not support. During the discussion of this bond package, I suggested that we discuss the possibility of entering into an agreement with Mustang Special Utility District. There were some that used this as a political tool by blowing out of proportion what I was actually trying to accomplish. While selling the system was one of the options on the table, I never really felt an agreement would be reached. However, one argument that kept coming up in this discussion was an analogy regarding “buying the car” versus leasing one.
The “buy the car” argument was used to gain support for the bond package. It was framed as though we should buy the car, and eventually it would be paid off and give us many more enjoyable years of quality service for the minor expenditure. However, if it were leased, we would continue to pay the bill into infinity and never get it paid off, thus never owning it. It was suggested that the water bills would go down once the bond was paid off, which if you believe, I have a historic bridge to sell you here in Denton County. Several people brought up examples of older vehicles that they had paid off, but continued to drive for years. I totally get the idea of getting your money’s worth out of vehicle. I drive a 2007 Ford Focus, with a 120,000 miles on it. However, one thing that must happen if you’re going to get a long life out of a vehicle, you have to maintain it.
During one of these discussions at a public meeting, it was brought up that a long time resident has had problems with Aubrey city sewer backing up on his property for many years. It was also discussed that he has mentioned this to many previous Aubrey officials. However, he had been told time and time and time again that the city couldn’t afford the repairs to the sewer system to fix this problem. He also talked about one of his previous neighbors that was forced to file a lawsuit against the city after sewage backed up into their home. However, even after settling the lawsuit, there was never an investment to repair the dilapidated sewer system. Since this was recently brought to light, there have been some temporary repairs completed to help the situation but nothing permanent has been approved.
My family recently got rid of a Ford Expedition that we had for well over ten years, and almost 250,000 miles, which I felt was quite an accomplishment for a big vehicle like that. However, I also invested in the maintenance of this vehicle, most of which I did myself, but I also took it to the dealer regularly to ensure it was properly maintained. This maintenance cost money, but it also allowed to enjoy the use of this vehicle for a very long time.
So getting back to that “buy the car” analogy, the first requirement of “buying the car” is that you have to maintain the car, or in this case the sewer system, which has apparently not happened thus far. So the sewer system is in dire need of repairs and must have resources invested, but we’ve never repaired some of these major problems. However, in the time that this citizen has been having these issues we’ve had other bonds to help expand the system or “buy the car” you might say. However, we’ve never properly maintained the car we currently have. To put this in a different perspective, we can’t afford to fix the car we’ve got, and it’s sitting in the yard on blocks. However, we went a bought a new car (that we can’t afford) and still can’t afford to fix the old car that’s sitting on blocks. It’s just a matter of time before the old car needs more repairs that we can’t afford. Therefore, future residents will get to use the new car (until it needs repairs), while the current residents get to use the old car that’s sitting on blocks in yard in disrepair.
What is shocking is that my peers on council see no issue with spending 5+ million dollars expanding the system, while the current system is in need of vital repairs. They have no problem buying a Cadillac to attract new residents, while the old residents are left with the car on blocks that doesn’t function properly.