2011-11-23 / News

Officer Bhirdo’s appeal discussed: no action taken by Poteet council


The Poteet council members closeted themselves with their attorney for over an hour, discussing the termination appeal of Officer Alice Bhirdo. She was there, with her attorney and it appears that an agreement was reached, but there was not action taken when the meeting reconvened. City Attorney Frank Garza said that it would be voted on at the next meeting.

The current business began with the approval of Ordinance No. 401, which amends Ordinance No. 352 that established the city’s council meeting and agenda procedures. Essentially, the changes allowing one person to received additional minutes from others on the list to speak under citizen’s comments. Each person is limited strictly to three minutes. Also, added to the comment section, obviously arising from the earlier meeting when an audience member was taken outside by the police, “Any person who makes personal, impertinent, slanderous remarks or who becomes boisterous while addressing the Council or attending a Council Meeting shall be removed from room if so directed by the Mayor, or Mayor Pro Tem if Mayor is absent or at the request of the majority of the City Council.” Included in this ordinance is the change of the meetings to the first and third Monday of the month and the deadline for requests to put items on the agenda.

Jesse Salinas moved to accept and Gerard Herrera seconded. Larry Cantu, Denise Sanchez, Raymond Leal and Mayor Roy Ybarra voted unanimously to approve.

Walt Rakowitz addressed the council on the professional services agreement that was required by the USDA for the work on the water system improvements. They have a form contract that Garza said he wished that he could reword to better protect the city, but they do not allow any negotiations of terms. If the grant is to be received, the council has to follow their rules completely. The council unanimously approved the contract.

Ordinance No. 403 was introduced which was listed as amending the Poteet Library Ordinance No. 312 regarding City Council oversight. The ordinance says that the librarian will work with the mayor, not the city administrator, in budget matters. Before, it had to go through the city administrator, mayor, then to the city council. The library board now has oversight of the Mueller money and will receive copies of any and all paperwork on it. That money is split with 75% going to a building and 25% going toward maintenance. This way, the board will have more input on how the money should be expended. Ybarra said that now maybe everyone can work together and get the library built. Richard Franklin thanked the council, but added that it would have been nice if the board had more information on this ordinance last week.

Garza said that the city already has zoning maps and any RV parks would be considered commercial. The engineer, Rakowitz, suggested some changes to the current rules since they seem too strict. Changes would make it more appropriate for those who want to put in RV parks. Garza said any changes to the zoning would have to go through procedures, including publishing it in the paper. The ordinance before the council was approved unanimously.

The next item dealt exclusively with the process for zoning changes. Garza said that they were required by the state to send letters to neighbors who lived within 200 feet of the property and it would have to be published in the paper. Both of these have been done. A hearing will be held during the first meeting in December. Currently there is no zoning application fee.

Citizen’s comments followed the closed session. Franklin had a few concerns, including: the fact that the outside lights at the library still have not been fixed; the fact that the windows are boarded up, even though the city received a grant to replace them; getting the mail delivered back to the library so things can be handled in a timely manner and finally, he thanked Cassandra and Gloria for the fine job they do at the library and for the community.

Janet Smith, also on the library board, requested that discussion of the library building be put on the agenda for updates. Ybarra advised her to just ask before the meeting to put it on the agenda.

Beth Topp said that she has requested copies of the August, September and October cell phone bills and has paid $8.61 for it, but has yet to receive it. She was advised they would check into it.

Linda Richey, another member of the library board addressed some things she’s heard from the public. First, that the library does not make money for the city. Libraries never make money for the city; that is the nature of a library. Also, she has heard that nobody ever uses the library. She invited each member of the council to go to the library and see what’s going on. They are busy and without the library, people would have no reason to come to Poteet. Another audience member thanked them for working with the library, because the children really need and depend on it. She suggested that the library be moved to the old EMS building and let the current city hall be remodeled.

Finally, a gentleman said that the city has a bad problem with crack cocaine and it is in the schools. Vehicles are being broken into and there are not enough policemen to take care of everything. He added that the officers need help.

Council members thanked everyone for coming out and wished them a happy Thanksgiving. Sanchez welcomed Sisnero to the council. Meeting adjourned at 7:26 p.m.

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