Mayor Steve Riley told the public at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting the jarring railroad track crossing over FM 121 (East Jefferson Street) is soon to be repaired, and Texas Department of Transportation warning signs on both sides will remain in place until it is.


Near the end of the meeting, Riley asked the public to go online and take a survey that could help with funding on future projects.


“This area is still in the running for some TxDOT funds,” Riley said and noted the website for the survey is www.sdmpo.org.


The Council also approved, unanimously, a revision to the city’s permit fees ordinance.


Susan LaFollett of the contracted firm of LaFollett & Co, PLLC, reported on the firm’s audit findings of the 2018 fiscal year. Her report pointed out several suggestions in the city’s financial system that could make it more transparent and less susceptible to fraud. Her report also pointed out that city management has already implemented these recommended changes. The bottom line showed that the city, at the end of 2018, had a $1.3 million net position over the 2017 year-end numbers.


Bob Johnson, of the city-contacted engineering firm McManus & Johnson, explained the system of reporting drinking water findings to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and reporting the city’s water is clear of any lead and copper violations.


Items approved unanimously as part of the consent agenda were for of a plat for 38.414 acres on the south side of the city; a plat for 14.293 acres on the east side of town; the revised Van Alstyne Public Library Board by-laws; emergency management and services fees; and fire mitigation billing agreement with Fire Recovery USA.


Council member Ryan Neal asked that an item be removed from the regular agenda. His reasoning, he explained, was because the item, regarding seats on the city’s Planning & Zoning Board, was not presented in compliance with the new procedure the council set in place last year. No action was taken on that at the meeting.


The meeting opened with council serving as the Zoning Board of Adjustments to conduct and vote on one public hearing. The owner of a property which is occupied by two separate houses asked for a variance to the number of feet required by law that would allow both homes to have smaller yards. A spokeswoman told the ZBA the homes have two separate addresses (681 Nash Avenue and 558 Arizona Street), with separate utility hook-ups. The residents of one home are prepared to purchase that home. The variance would allow for a replat of the property. The vote was unanimous in favor of the request and the ZBA meeting closed and the regular council meeting opened.


At the beginning of the meeting, the council went into executive session. Riley read from the agenda that the session would be to talk with the city’s attorney regarding CCN service areas, any item listed on the open session agenda, and for Economic Development Corporation negotiations on several lots in the industrial park and two projects, only identified as Project Minnesota and Project Glass. They remained in closed session for more than an hour, and upon returning to open meeting, Riley stated there would be no action taken on any of those items.