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James Benham - Councilman / Tax Lord / Architect

duffelpud
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Quote:

"Councilman James Benham expressed frustration that the council was not allotted time during previous meetings to give feedback on the exterior design of the $28 million {police} building."
Article give a rare insight into the 'thinking' of the council. It never ceases to amaze me how when someone gets elected to public office they suddenly become a subject-matter-expert on everything and anything, especially while spending other people's money.


Mayor Moonbeam double's down...
Quote:

"The last thing I want to hear is our police department is being compromised by delays," Mooney said. "And as we move forward, if we don't get this done, what's gonna be next? We shrink the size of the evidence room? Or something ends up having to give because of the budget."
Mayor, there's a simple solution to that - it's the same one you just exercised: raise the property tax rate again. After all, your rate won't go up.
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rcannaday
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don't worry per Benham after they pay for the building they will lower your taxes ..
Builder93
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As long as it's beige. God forbid College Station used one of the other eleventy-billion colors available.
Oogway
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I don't mind beige if it keeps the cost down...
Really, it isn't so bad if it provides some cohesiveness among city buildings. A plain building with a plain color that has trees to provide shade and greenery to rest the eyes on hot days can be just fine.
Fonzie Scheme
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Meanwhile, Gander and Old Academy sit vacant. PD and city hall, right in front of you. Hell, the old Gander might have good evidence space since they housed all those overpriced firearms no thinking person ever bought.
cslifer
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I am guessing you haven't ever seen the gun storage in that building or an actual evidence room. They really just had an oversized gun safe. An evidence room has to be quite large due to the fact that a lot of evidence doesn't fit in a neat bag like TV, and it gets kept a looooong time.
Oogway
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I really dislike taking those sites off the tax rolls though. If the City already has land over on Krenek Tap they can use, it is an area that is less likely to be developed into a high valuation property anyway due to visibility. The highway frontage locations are vacant, but they haven't been vacant for all that long.
Fonzie Scheme
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I do know. Sarcasm.
Fonzie Scheme
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Ok
91_Aggie
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I heard a clip on WTAW yesterday afternoon while driving home from work from Blanch Brick wanting to change the architecture of the new College STation library design... she said something like:

"Can we change it so it does't like there is a huge parachute on top?"

The response from the experts was "Well, that's the 'spine' of the building that is supporting everything".

So, we have at least two expert architects on the city council.

duffelpud
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I heard Benham this morning say he wants the council's "fingerprint, thumbprint" to be on the new police station so that future structures can be built in the same style.

Interesting choice of metaphors considering the taxpayer theft that just occurred.
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nought
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91_Aggie said:

I heard a clip on WTAW yesterday afternoon while driving home from work from Blanch Brick wanting to change the architecture of the new College STation library design... she said something like:

"Can we change it so it does't like there is a huge parachute on top?"

The response from the experts was "Well, that's the 'spine' of the building that is supporting everything".

So, we have at least two expert architects on the city council.


New library? Is there a huge problem with the current library? And, if Blanche Brick is suggesting they not spend money on some crazy architectural "feature" to make the library "monumental" or something like that, I'm right there with her. Things like that typically cost a lot more than a nice rectangular building.

Somehow Texas A&M gets by with a rectangular building for a library without a central spine/parachute thing holding it all together.
duffelpud
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I love Benham's slideshow on "bad" vs "good" architecture.



I'm guessing "good" architecture runs better than double what "bad" architecture runs. That's an expensive fingerprint / thumbprint added to the two million dollars already spent on the "bad" design.
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Oogway
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Perhaps the council could have read this type of information prior to meeting:
https://www.wbdg.org/design-objectives/cost-effective

Is this the first time they are looking at the plans?

Personally, while I get that it can be difficult to please everyone when it comes to aesthetics, I am a big believer in form following function. If the police feel they can do what they need to do for the next thirty plus years in a building that is box-shaped but has the space and services they need and a functioning utility and HVAC service, then build that and (as I stated previously) plant a lot of trees. Trees have maintenance requirements, but they can be replaced without too much fuss if you plan ahead. It seems to have worked for the elementary schools like Rock Prairie and Pebble Creek--they are essentially boxes with some windows and a covered walkway. But lots and lots of trees.
91_Aggie
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nought said:

91_Aggie said:

I heard a clip on WTAW yesterday afternoon while driving home from work from Blanch Brick wanting to change the architecture of the new College STation library design... she said something like:

"Can we change it so it does't like there is a huge parachute on top?"

The response from the experts was "Well, that's the 'spine' of the building that is supporting everything".

So, we have at least two expert architects on the city council.


New library? Is there a huge problem with the current library? And, if Blanche Brick is suggesting they not spend money on some crazy architectural "feature" to make the library "monumental" or something like that, I'm right there with her. Things like that typically cost a lot more than a nice rectangular building.

Somehow Texas A&M gets by with a rectangular building for a library without a central spine/parachute thing holding it all together.
I think they are doing some remodeling on a bond the voters approved a long time ago.

And her comment was not about saving money because it was a crazy design... it was more of a "I just don't like how this looks, can we do away with that part" comment.

threecatcorner
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91_Aggie said:

nought said:

91_Aggie said:

I heard a clip on WTAW yesterday afternoon while driving home from work from Blanch Brick wanting to change the architecture of the new College STation library design... she said something like:

"Can we change it so it does't like there is a huge parachute on top?"

The response from the experts was "Well, that's the 'spine' of the building that is supporting everything".

So, we have at least two expert architects on the city council.


New library? Is there a huge problem with the current library? And, if Blanche Brick is suggesting they not spend money on some crazy architectural "feature" to make the library "monumental" or something like that, I'm right there with her. Things like that typically cost a lot more than a nice rectangular building.

Somehow Texas A&M gets by with a rectangular building for a library without a central spine/parachute thing holding it all together.
I think they are doing some remodeling on a bond the voters approved a long time ago.

And her comment was not about saving money because it was a crazy design... it was more of a "I just don't like how this looks, can we do away with that part" comment.




The bond for expanding the library was approved by voters in 2008. At a previous council meeting, one of the city councilmen (one of the guys, not Blanche Brick) asked for some redesign on the outside to match the "welcome to College Station" sign on Highway 6 and the new police station.
nought
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It would be nice to pass something locally which mandated that bonds on the ballot be listed as "loans that will probably increase your taxes down the road" so that the masses would understand what they really are.
duffelpud
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And now this from today's Buzzard:

Quote:

Exterior changes to the building are now being pursued after members of the council -- led by Councilman James Benham -- indicated they'd prefer a more traditional design.

About $300,000 already has been spent on the building's design, and changing the exterior elements to incorporate more traditional architectural touches such as columns and a pitched roof are expected to add to the cost and timeline.

They are like an out of control teen - one who takes money from their parents' bank account to purchase a new smart -phone and then deciding that they want the newest, more expensive model.

Instead of making it more expensive they should be working out how to make it LESS EXPENSIVE.

You know the political persuasion of this bunch by the ease at which they spend other people's money.
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Stucco
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Why not start an initiative to force a vote on all tax/fee increases? Piggy-backing on the next normal election of course.
taxpreparer
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My wife and I are in the beginning stages of designing and building a house. Unfortunately, I am having trouble finding people I can tax to get enough money for all the things we want. I wish I could pull the shenanigans the city can to take more money. First they get a raise when the tax appraiser raises all the property values, then they get another one by assessing extra fees on city services, then they get a third one by raising tax rates. If I tried to do that with my customers, I would be out of business. Of course, it is a lot easier to change what taxpreparer you use, or bank to do business with, than it is to move out of the city, and still be able to get to work; especially since the city keeps grabbing (oops! I mean annexing) more of the surrounding area.

Cities, school districts, and counties all treat their citizens as an inexhaustible supply of tax revenue. And every time they raise the tax rate, the smile and say, Hey, I am a citizen also and it affects me too." Bryan ISD is having a bond election; what's the over/under that anyone gets to publicly lay out a case against it? Sure, you can write to the Eagle, but EVERYTHING the ISD puts out will be why this is necessary and how teh students will all suffer if every single item is not funded.

I know James Benham and think he is a pretty smart guy. The same thing goes for Blanche Brick. There is something about being in a position of power that seems to make people think they have to leave a legacy; just once, I wish that legacy was "I reduce the burden of government on the citizens and let them keep more of their hard earned money to use the way they want."
***It's your money, not theIRS! (At least for a little while longer.)
oklaunion
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Recently, I think that guy was Jess Fields.
pepe the dog
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Someone mention herding cats?
duffelpud
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Quote:

just once, I wish that legacy was "I reduce the burden of government on the citizens and let them keep more of their hard earned money to use the way they want."

It's hard to put your name on that.







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