Hallelujah. After months of fighting, debate and stubbornness beyond the point of all reason and studied deliberation, the decision over whether Bellmead homes and businesses should be protected from fire is now inscribed in all but stone. Two new fire trucks are on the way. Trib staff writer Cassie L. Smith reports that the first is due within the next few months.
Also worthy of some hallelujahing: a new Bellmead City Council member who might help invigorate discussions with an eye toward smart decision-making and consensus-building. (Any takers?) We were astonished at the amount of time lost over something so fundamental as ensuring the Bellmead Fire Department could adequately protect property that, whatever else, generates tax revenue for the city to operate. And, oh, protecting people’s livelihoods and homes should’ve weighed more than it did during council discussions.
Considering that a Bellmead councilman irked by an Aug. 3 Trib editorial on the matter challenged a visiting editorial board member one evening for his latest thoughts, we now happily oblige — and, as noted when pressed that evening, we do so not in a council chamber but in the pages of the Tribune-Herald.
First, debate over city finances and the need for fire trucks went beyond what was necessary to render an informed decision. The two council members resisting the idea of added expense for fire trucks were given time aplenty to articulate their concerns. The public just as resolutely made clear it disagreed and wanted the new fire trucks — even if this meant paying more in property taxes.
Under the circumstances, the mayor should have taken charge and invited a motion one way or the other after everyone was heard and all information considered. Instead, deliberations dragged on, including Doss Youngblood’s treatise on how vehicle maintenance records were better kept during World War II. Whoever is mayor must take charge when it’s painfully obvious deliberations have spilled over into silliness and irrelevance.
Second, whoever the council taps to fill a Precinct 3 council vacancy — applications will be taken till Oct. 26, interviews will be conducted Nov. 13 — should demonstrate, first and foremost, an ability to step up and make informed decisions. The only significant resolve we saw the evening we attended was in Councilman Travis Gibson. And he was far more patient than he should have been.
Finally, the Bellmead City Council should show far better judgment in whom it presses to lead in public prayer at the start of meetings. The woman who has frequently assumed that role has not only been investigated by the Texas Rangers and arrested for laying hands on another member of the visiting public in hostility — misdemeanor assault — but also shown little respect for council rules on how long members of the public can speak before the council this week. This woman accuses local law enforcement of lawlessness. Till her allegations — and allegations against her — are resolved, it’s best the council dispense with such prayerful people. Maybe the council can get its secular business addressed sooner so everyone can get home and re-read their Bibles.