The Sulphur Springs city council discussed a no-parking zone and the city attorney position, among other items of business at the regular Nov. 2 council session. After an invocation by council member Freddie Taylor, the meeting was opened at 7:03 p.m.
Mayor John Sellers shared during presentations, proclamations and announcements that he had been a member of the crowd that gathered to welcome The Wall That Heals to Sulphur Springs, and urged citizens to visit the historical installation to pay respects to the fallen soldiers of the Vietnam War.
“It’s very exciting because we’re one of the few places in the United States that has the opportunity to have that wall,” Sellers said.
Sellers also welcomed the Adult Leadership Class to the gallery for the city learning experience.
City manager Marc Maxwell gave the manager’s report. He reported that:
- COVID-19 cases for the city have declined by half since October, but Maxwell said he believes declines are now seeing a plateau.
- No liability claims were filed.
- Two workers compensation claims were filed, both by police officers. One was struck by an emergency vehicle and one was pricked by a needle while searching through his bag, Maxwell said.
- The Senior citizen’s center will apply for grants to improve and expand through the Texas Community Resiliency Program. The city will put out for bids for grant-writing soon.
- The Saputo sewer lines are almost complete, perhaps to be finished the week of November 3.
- College Street renovations may take up to two years to be completed.
- The renovations on Lee Street should be done by Thanksgiving.
- Renovations on League Street should be done by the end of December. Concrete bids are predicted to arrive for the council in winter.
- The airport concrete paving project is approximately 90% complete, Maxwell said.
No action was taken on the manager’s report, as none is required.
The following 380 agreements were approved unanimously:
- 109 Jefferson Street
- 111 W. Ross Street
- 210 Calvert Street
- 813 Jefferson Street
- 817 Jefferson Street
- JB Weld
The council unanimously passed the refunding bond 2021 initiative. City financial advisor Andrew Freeman advised the council the bond refunding opportunity was “beneficial.” The council received three bids, and accepted bond purchasing rate from firm Robert W. Behr at 1.739%. Freeman estimated it would save the city approximately $228,000.
The council unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance which provides for the rewriting of city ordinances.
The measure will update current ordinances to correct existing editorial or grammatical errors therein. For example, agency and commission names have been updated, and terms that exist in 2021 did not previously exist when laws were first created in the 1950s. This project has been in the works for ten years, according to city attorney Jim McLeroy.
“We want to publish our code and be proud of it,” McLeroy said. Council member Jay Julian asked if the changes were “non-substantial” and McLeroy said Julian was correct.
The council will revisit the issue in December.
The council unanimously passed an ordinance to create a no parking zone between East Shannon to Mockingbird Lane, provided it is approved by TxDOT.
“We have an issue with vehicles parking… from Chili’s down to McDonalds,” SSPD chief Jason Ricketson presented. “When you try to leave to get out, it’s nearly impossible to see,”
South Broadway is technically a state highway, Ricketson noted, but the city will pay for the no parking signs.
“If anyone sees something like this, it takes someone saying something,” council member Doug Moore emphasized.
The council unanimously approved Maxwell to contact Garver Engineering in regards to improvements at the water treatment plant. Improvements will be paid for by the American Rescue Plan Act. Garver is the same firm that designed the wastewater treatment plan, Maxwell noted.
The city received $4.22 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, according to finance director Lesa Smith. Approximately half of the funds have already been deployed, according to Smith.
Following the 6 p.m. executive session regarding personnel matters, the council unanimously affirmed that Nate Smith will take over as the city attorney as of December 8, 2021. Current city attorney Jim McLeroy will continue as an assistant until December 31, at which point he will retire.
Jeannie Perkins appeared to thank the council for their generous donation to Main Street Theater for its repair. She spoke regarding their future meetings and board elections as well as the Community Chronicles that will be released on November 15.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:44 p.m.
Abbi Beggs and Logan Vaughan contributed to this report.