The Van Alstyne City Council will have to go back to the drawing board regarding a location for new municipal facilities, after a vote on the purchase of property failed at the council meeting on June 13.
During several previous council meetings there has been discussion about the city purchasing land on Kelly Lane, now owned by the First Baptist Church, as a probable location for a future municipal complex, which would have moved not only City Hall, but also the police station, public works and other departmental offices away from downtown.
It was defeated by a 3-2 vote, with council members Clough and Thomas voting to purchase the land and with Jaska, Crowell, and Salmon casting the “nay” votes.
This meeting, which lasted more than four hours from the start of the Zoning Board of Adjustments to the vote taken after executive session, turned out to be as much a workshop as a regular council meeting.
Crowell had 19 items added to the agenda. Some of them went to a vote, some were postponed and some are to be added to future council workshops.
One that went to a vote was that the decorum sheets be removed from the front door where it is placed at every council meeting. The decorum sheets detail the list of rules and regulations for public conduct while in the meeting, and it is also printed and handed out with the meeting agendas. The vote was that the city staff revise the resolution in place that requires this placement. Thomas added that no matter if the wording was there or not, the rules of decorum need to stand. Baker asked for specific input regarding this.
The council also voted, 3-2, with Thomas and Clough voting against the motion, to have the city manager seated with the other department heads at a separate table, rather than at the council table. Cooper, who only votes in case of ties, said he was not for this, that he liked having Baker there at his side.
The council approved Crowell’s item to have the city attorney provide an itemized list of amounts she bills the city monthly. Also, they approved the item that will require a city map available at all meetings with designations as to where the properties being discussed are located. Salmon suggested that could be accomplished by using a projector and the screen already available inside the Community Center.
The council agreed that they do need microphones at the council table. This was provided to previous councils, but the old microphones no longer work.
There was a collective groan from the audience when the council received an update on the proposed bike path to be placed along Waco Street and to split off onto Dallas Street, when the city engineer explained that, once the path was in place, it would be the property owner’s responsibility to maintain it, just as they now are responsible to maintain the sidewalks in front of their homes.
Several people signed up to speak and ask questions during the citizens communications portion of the meeting.
The first was property owner Clint Murphy, who handed each councilor a packet of information, which he also provided to media, and which were “Formal complaints against the City of Van Alstyne employees,” specifying both “handling of a certificate of occupancy process” and a zoning change. He did acknowledge in one of those complaints that a C.O. had been approved for one of the three businesses, but it took almost four months to accomplish that. Murphy made no comments after presenting the papers to city officials.
Tiffany Clum asked about the status of a complaint she had previously filed.
“What measures and activity was taken, if any, and if not, why?” Clum asked.
There was considerable conversation, mostly about what procedures are in place for notifying people who make complaints, with council being restricted by open meeting law from providing much information. It was concluded by officials assuring Clum the city would follow up and that this would be a future agenda item.
Joe Young gave the council information and problems he gleaned regarding the city’s EMS billing process, saying his problem had been resolved, but he wanted the city to know because, “There may be more (people and problems) out there.”
There were two others, who spoke about the need to eliminate and take care in providing respect between the public, the committees and the public servants.
At one council member’s request an item regarding the requested annexation of 16.27 acres north of the city, around Spence Road, Sanford Circle, and Greywood Drive, be set aside for a separate vote. The council set a public hearing for 6:30 p.m., June 17, on this item. Then another for July 18, for this purpose. At the July meeting there will first be a Planning & Zoning public hearing at 6 p.m. and then one at 6:30 p.m. for the council’s public hearing. The council can also take a vote on the request to annex the property that night.
The remaining consent agenda items were approved unanimously, with one vote. Those included the sale of a property at 601 Martin Duke Road to LNMN Holdings, LLC, which has been leasing the land for some time; and the awarding of a contract for the Dallas Street Water and Sewer Line Replacement for $263,272.60 to Dickerson Construction Co. That vote came after Jaska asked for confirmation with City Manager Frank Baker that the money was in this year’s budget. Baker confirmed that $200,000 of it was and the remainder would come from impact fees.
Salmon was selected as Mayor Pro Tem, a vote she abstained from. She has been both on the city council and has served as mayor in the past.
Unanimous was the vote establishing the sales tax structure as it relates to streets. This provides for a specific percentage of sales tax income to be designated for streets.
The council also designated the Van Alstyne Sports Authority as a preferred league for youth sports. At Crowell’s request, Cooper explained that this meant that it would be VASA who scheduled teams for the various ball fields and that they have been helping keep up with maintenance.
Later, during discussion and updates on another item, the Public Works director said that the city has worked with VASA for five years and there is an agreement that VASA furnish the light bulbs for the fields.
“We work with a small budget and they have a small one, too,” Cooper said. “We help as we can.”
Cooper added that, initially, the field light bulbs alone at one field cost more than $3,000 to install. Officials also said there is considerable vandalism at all the city parks, and that adds to the expenses as well.
The council will have a special work session on July 10 and Salmon asked that it be made available to the public as well. Clough asked about and received information on adding deadlines for adding items to that workshop agenda. That workshop will be at 6 p.m. at the Community Center.