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City council accomplishes 26 agenda items

by Logan Vaughan

Mayor John Sellers (left) and city manager Marc Maxwell (right) consider updated service credits

The Sulphur Springs city council approved a long list of items at their regular September 7 meeting, to include the following: 

REGULAR BUSINESS

  • Consent agenda- 6-1 with Jay Julian voting against
    • Julian stated the meeting minutes of last month’s council meeting should reflect that he recused himself for an agenda item regarding a property at Woodside Lane, whereas the meeting minutes stated he abstained from the vote. Julian stated he had prepared an affidavit to that effect, if needed. City secretary Gale Roberts noted the meeting minutes would be amended to reflect that Julian recused himself. 

TAX RATES

  • City of Sulphur Springs tax rate of $0.42692/$100- Unanimous
    • No citizens presented themselves for public comment during the public hearing for the tax rate. 
    • “They like to crow in Austin about being champions of lower taxes. This is not a tax increase, this is a tax decrease,” city manager Marc Maxwell noted.
  • Water rate- Unanimous
    • The water rate was raised by 2% 
  • Sewer rate-Unanimous
    • The sewer rate was raised by 2%
    • “With the increase we’ve had in chemicals and PVC for pipe, an increase of 2% is not very much,” council member Gary Spraggins said.
  • Sanitation rate- Unanimous
    • The sanitation rate was raised by 5% 
    • However, sanitation (trash service) contractors with whom the city does business have raised their prices by 6%, according to city finance director Lesa Smith 

OTHER FINANCIALS

  • Updated service credits- Unanimous
    • Continuance of updated service credits means the city pays $329,400.07 towards city employee retirement at a rate of 7.84%, according to HR department head Gordon Frazier 
  • Police asset forfeiture budget- Unanimous
    • In 2021-2022, police will spend $20,000 to buy duty belts, body cameras, according to police Chief Jason Ricketson. SSPD already has $284,000 in a forfeiture savings account at the ready, Ricketson told the council.
    • “We got behind on purchases due to Covid,” Ricketson noted. “I’ve got to start getting this equipment.”
  • Economic Development Corporation (EDC) budget- Unanimous
    • The budget for 2021-2022 for the EDC will be $2.2 million, according to EDC executive director Roger Feagley. 
    • The budget remains largely unchanged from the previous year, including the $200,000 annual contribution to Pacific Park and the Senior Activity Center 
  • Annual investment policy- Unanimous
    • Yearly re-adoption of the city’s investment policy is required by the council. There have been no changes to the policy since 2019. 
  • Contract for water materials for the College Street project- Unanimous
    • The city elected to go with a bid for Coburn Supply for $82,852. They also received a bid for $95,000. 
    • “They were competitive, but we’re lucky we got bids at all due to the shortage of supplies,” Smith said. 
  • Playground equipment for Pacific Park- Unanimous
    • “The city took a lot of flack, but there has been a change in the minds of the community, and it has really something to do with Pacific Park. I’m thanking Marc [Maxwell],” council member Harold Nash said. “The whole community and the whole city is using the Grays Building. It’s an inspiration.” 
  • Appropriations ordinance- Unanimous

REAL ESTATE/ CITY PLANNING

  • 380 Agreement for property located at 410 Houston Street, Lot 1R- Unanimous
    • The owner of a vacant lot requested reimbursement for permit fees.
  • 380 Agreement for property located at 410 Houston, Lot 3R- Unanimous
    • The owner of a vacant lot requested reimbursement for permit fees
  • 380 Agreement for property located at 447 Houston Street- Unanimous
    • The owner of a vacant lot requested reimbursement for permit fees.
  • 380 Agreement for property located at 219 Craig Street- Unanimous
    • While this agreement would normally not come before the council, a city department head wished to build a home on the lot and therefore required council approval. 
  • Easement with ONCOR Electric Delivery LLC at Coleman Park Water Tower site- Unanimous
    • “Like at the other side of Coleman Park, we have a statement where we have to maintain and upgrade utilities as-needed,” community development director Tory Niewiadomski noted.
  • Rezone property located at 618 Oak Avenue, identified as Lot 10 A, Block 40 2- Unanimous
    • Located next to Tire Town and Long’s Law Office, the council found that the site was already in a commercial area, which is what the property owners were asking for in the rezone. The council will not ask property owners to put up a dividing wall, as they asked Tire Town to several years ago. 
  • Rezone property located 125 Weaver Drive- Unanimous

The meeting lasted from 7 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. 

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