The Van Alstyne City Council heard a presentation by First Southwest Company regarding the possibility of the city’s moving forward with funding, land acquisition and construction of a city complex facility at its meeting on May 9. The presenter, James Sabonis, said he has been working with City Manager Frank Baker and the goal set is to purchase land but not raise property taxes.
Sabonis pointed out several ways to move forward with this, and one of those included a bond proposition in the November elections. The scenarios also provided an estimated cost of $2,975,000 for funding land acquisition and first phase development, Sabonis said.
Teddie Ann Salmon, who was elected to the Council on Place 2 but has yet to be canvassed, spoke to this and asked the Council to be cautious in its considerations. She mentioned several pieces of land available near downtown that could keep the city offices in the downtown area, if these were utilized. Salmon said, as she held up a map, that she has seen a map of the municipal lane between Kelly Lane and Dallas, which, she said, currently belongs to a local church and purchasing this could be considered a conflict of interests. She pleaded for the Council not to move the city offices out of the downtown area.
There was no motion on this agenda item, which also appeared, in part, during on the executive session’s agenda.
Before this item, the Council met first at the Zoning Board of Adjustments, to consider and hear comments on a rezoning request regarding property on the south side of East Jefferson Street, also known as FM 121, near the Wilson McKinney Park. The property owner, Scott Moody, told the Council that he had made the request for a front yard setback variance and reduction of minimum building size because there were some “valuable trees on the back of the property that” he didn’t want to have to cut down.
No one spoke to the rezoning, and the basic request was to create two lots where there are currently three lots. Later, in the regular meeting, the Council approved this rezoning request.
During the Citizens Communication portion of the meeting, Economic Development Corporation’s Jodi Carr invited the Council to attend the welcome reception for La Core Enterprises, being held at 10 a.m. May 24 at its new home, 1801 S. Industrial Park. Carr said after the meeting that the company will be manufacturing nutraceuticals, and when they reach their full manufacturing volume will be a large employer.
Salmon also addressed the Council regarding procedural requirements of addressing the Council. She said she would like to speak on Item 5 of the consent agenda regarding the city’s participation in funding and support of the Van Alstyne Bike and Pedestrian Trail Phase II. Councilman Robert Jaska then removed the item from the single-vote procedure.
The two remaining consent agenda items were approved unanimously, which were the minutes from the April 11 and April 25 meetings, and to advertise for bids for the Dallas Street water and sewer line project from Houston to Shreveport streets.
Later, under separate vote, a majority approved the bike trail funding, with Jaska casting a “no” vote on that issue.
The Council also:
• Approved the 2015-16 fiscal year audit presented by LaFollett & Abbott, PLLC, which showed, among other things, a net increase for the year of $1,207.934 (16 percent);
• No action was taken, either, on the next agenda item regarding involvement with EDC directors, which also was listed as part of the executive session items being discussed with the city’s attorney.
Baker reported, during his city manager’s report, that the city has received 11 permits to build homes in the new Stone Hollow addition, and mentioned the date that incoming Councilwoman Suzon Crowell will be sworn in.
Mayor Larry Cooper, who arrived during this last portion of the meeting, thanked everyone who “gave their careful consideration when voting. It’s been a pleasure working with Russell Moore and Billy Plake.”
Councilman Brad Clough gave his thanks to outgoing Councilmen Moore and Plake, and said he’s looking forward to working with incoming Councilwomen Crowell and Salmon.
Jaska reminded those in attendance about Music in the Park beginning on May 23, with Tony Ramey providing the music from the gazebo in the downtown park.
The Council adjourned into executive session, with the two aforementioned items on their agenda, plus a discussion about dilapidated structures. After the lengthy session and their return to open meeting, the Council took no action on any of the items.
The Council meets in regular session at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. It’s agenda and notice of special called meetings are posted under the sub-menu title “Government” on the city’s Website, https://cityofvanalstyne.us.