The Van Alstyne City Council met in regular session Tuesday night, to an agenda filled with possible improvements and changes to the city structure.
The two items listed first as public hearings and then as action items on the agenda came up first. These regarded the proposed fiscal year 2018-19 city operating budget and the proposed tax rate of $0.595932 peer $100 property evaluation. No one spoke up during the public hearings and the Council voted to postpone casting their final votes until the last of the required public hearings, which will be in late November.
It was a unanimously approved vote on five consent agenda items, which included:
• Ordinance 2-183 amendment regarding utility rates and charges;
• Allowing City Manager Lane Jones to sign an agreement with Texoma Council of Governments for database maintenance and mapping;
• Allowing Jones to sign interlocal agreements with Grayson County for Emergency Medical Services and fire Fire Protection Services for this upcoming fiscal year;
• Minutes of the August 21 work session Zoning Board of Adjustments, and special called Council meeting.
Van Alstyne Community Development Corporation Executive Director Rodney Williams brought the Council to the speed on the progress EDC is making to the city’s parks and through the use of its façade program. To date, he told the Council, they have spent more than $245,000 on park improvements and more to improve the outside appearance and functional use of many businesses. CDC Board Chairman Chris Dorak asked for and received, a $30,000 budget amendment. These are adjustments in line items, he explained, and some of which was made necessary because of recent public information requests made, which necessitated added legal expenses. This was approved with a 4-1 vote, with Council Members Lee Thomas, Ryan Neal, Marla Butler, and Robert Jaska for, and Suzon Crowell against.
The Council voted unanimously to authorize Jones to sign a Fixed Price Funding Agreement with Texas Department of Public Transportation for the city’s part in expanding State Highway 5 (Waco Street) from County Road 1106 to County Road 375. City Engineer Len McManus said that TxDOT is widening SH 5 to Melissa with an undivided concrete roadway. The city is paying for $10,000 of this.
When it came time for an agenda item to allow for advertisement of bids for the Shared Use Path from Van Alstyne High School to North Park, former Council Member Teddie Ann Salmon spoke up before motions were made, saying she believes it would be better to wait until the housing development construction in that area is complete, that it could save the city money in the long run. McManus said that TxDOT, which will be paying for the bulk of the costs, has approved the bid proposal as sit reads now. The vote was unanimous to go ahead and advertise.
Mayor Steve Riley asked a group of scouts to talk with them about the reason the scouts were there. The young men explained that they were working on a particular badge that required them to identify a problem and find a solution to that problem.
During the Citizens Comments portion of the agenda, three people signed up to address the Council on items not on the agenda.
Jim Atchison, spoke about negative comments made at the August meeting.
Darren Clum, an EDC board member, provided the Council with what he said was proof that the Economic Development Corporation board vacancy postings were made public for 30 days.
Trent Voight commended Council Member Suzon Crowell’s long-ago statement about the importance of training staff for customer service, then about negative experiences he said he had with some of those associated with EDC. He concluded by saying he would be sending each of the Council members a letter describing the interactions in more detail.
After departmental reports and Council closing comments, the Council went into Executive Session regarding (1) EDC negotiations regarding the Mantua Development and financing districts/tools and procedures for conducting City meetings. Upon returning to open meeting, the Council took no action on either item.