March 9, 2015 | Texas Side City Council cancelled the May 2015 election through approving the consent agenda because the three incumbents are running unopposed. All current incumbents in the seats of Council Member Ward Two (2), Council Member Ward Three (3) and Council Member Ward Five (5) are unopposed.
The deadline to apply for tax credits to go toward the Hotel Grim restoration are in May 2015, according to City Manager John Whitson. Jim Sari is the developer on the restoration project, and Whitson has had trouble getting necessary financial documents that are necessary for the tax credit application, stated Whitson.
“We are committing city program funds. We are ready to go with our side. We are trying to help but he has not provided us with the documents. He will tell us a good story and then not give us the documents needed. I have asked our staff to scour the countryside for developers who pursue these type of projects. The purse strings between the developer and us are thin. If we can bring in someone else in that is more promising that is better track record with applications, then we should bring them on the block,” stated Whitson.
Ward 3 Member Tina Veal-Gooch requested an update on the old Masonic lodge cleanup. Rod Lagrone’s contractor did not show up about three weeks ago to begin cleanup, stated City Manager John Whitson. “We can give them notice. We could take him and get an order. If he does not comply, thne that gives us the authority to clean it up at the City’s expense. We will get back with him.”
The City Council also accepted a $1,000 donation from John and Julie Ray Harrison family to purchase of body worn audio and video recording devices. “We want to thank them on behalf on the City Council, city staff and police department for their contribution to this worthwhile cause,” stated Mayor Bob Bruggeman. The total donation amount is $21,000 to purchase body cameras. An anonymous donor gave $10,000 and then the Sadowski family gave an additional $10,000.
KTB Awards were given to Carter and Stephanie Floyd and St. James Episcopal Church in the business category.
It was proclaimed that this week is Poison Prevention Week.
City Council accepted the annual Racial Profiling Report, which is required by Texas law to be submitted every year.
“The report was prepared by individuals at University of North Texas. In the report there, when you compare to 2013, we had 5,000 more traffic stops than last year that doubled our custody arrests – 461 in 2013 to 1087 in 2014. It was a based on increased traffic enforcement. We used archival crash data to focus on traffic enforcement in the City. We also had a large increase in copper theft over the year. We directly patrols specifically looking for copper. We also focused on neighbor quality of life issues – such as loud music and speeding in residential areas. That led to the 5,000 more traffic stops. Everything else is essentially the same as 2013,” stated Assistant Chief Charles Kreidler. The City Council accepted and approved the Racial Profiling Report.
City Council held its first briefing to accept a bid and enter into a contract for asbestos abatement for for ten (10) structures on the City Council’s Top Forty (40) Demolition List. The funding for this will be $200,000. The City has a contract with ERI Consulting who will solicit bids and oversee the process.
The City Council was briefed on the need for a new health inspector position was established. In the first year, it will cost $70,400 additionally in the first year and $60,025 reoccurring. There are 363 establishments that have to be inspected twice per year. Each inspection can take hours – even a full day.
The City Council was also briefed for the first time on whether to establish a minimum salary level at $20,000. Currently, 13 members are paid less than $20,000. This will require $21,350 increase in the annual operating budget.