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2012-05-30 / News

Poteet council discusses water system and possibility of decreasing reserve police officers

DIANA GUTHRIE
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

On May 7, the Poteet City Council held a public hearing regarding a day care facility opening at 703 Seventh Street. Councilman Gerard Herrera voiced concerns about the Life Safety Code that was adopted by council a few years ago, which outlined the strict guidelines that needed to be met for such a facility. There was also some concern about the additional traffic congestion in that area. The council voted to table the item.

Walt Rakowitz addressed the council on the immediacy of the repairs on the water system. Although a generator is included in the USDA grant, there are other items that need to be corrected. For instance, sand is pumped into the system, boost pumps need to be replaced as backups and the chlorination system needs an upgrade. He recommends the immediate upgrade of two boosters and two motors. Council voted to get numbers on the repairs.

Councilman Larry Cantu moved to amend the ordinance to increase the permits on gaming machines to $2,000 per machine. City Attorney Frank Garza said that he knew the distance between game rooms could be increased to 500 feet, but thought there was a limit on permit fees. He will do the research on it. Cantu amended his motion to add the distance limit; Herrera seconded. Denise Sanchez, Jesse Sisnero, Raymond Leal and Mayor Roy Ybarra all voted to approve the motion.



Because of the rapid growth of the city, Herrera moved that they consider hiring a part-time City Plan Examiner. That employee could look at all the building and businesses coming into town and make sure everything was up to code. Motion passed to go out for bids.

Sanchez asked why the November water sample was not turned in to the state. Public Works Director Robert Buentello said that it was turned in, but an additional sample was requested. There was some mix-up with the paperwork, but the city was not fined for any violation.

There are only the City Administrator and the City Secretary on the Library’s Mueller’s account. It was decided to also add Herrera as a signatory on the account.

Council also decided to move the citizen’s comments to the beginning of the meeting so there could be comments on upcoming agenda items.

There was a discussion regarding the “leave (annual/ sick leave) transfers between employees.” This is not allowed currently and they would need to change the personnel rules to change that. Municipal Judge Rosalinda de la Fuente alleged that she wanted to give some of her hours to the Police Department secretary, but LaNell Matthews, City Administrator, contacted Garza and was told that it was not allowed. However, when Matthews became ill, herself, many hours were transferred to her. Council decided to adopt some criteria as to what to deny or accept, with the donating employee maintaining at least 40 hours for themselves.

Because the City Administrator was out so much, Sanchez was concerned about the Police Department and to whom they should report. Garza pointed out that if there was a law enforcement issue that was for the chief only. If it were a budget or administrative concern, then it would go to the City Administrator.

There was some discussion about decreasing the number of reserve police officers. Ybarra wants to keep the regular officers working on weekends. The chief wants to increase the number from 12 to 24 total with paid and reserve officers. Garza suggested that there be a SOP (standard operating procedures) for the reservists. No action was taken.

The budget calendar was approved as presented.

A resolution was passed to purchase the Springbrook software and hardware for accounting and billing for city hall. The software that Herrera found was essentially online banking and this suite gives many more advantages, but it is also over $100,000. Herrera said that he felt this was too much for the city at this time, since there were so many other things that needed to be worked on, such as the wells, the library and the new city hall. Herrera and Sisnero voted against; motion passed.

The council meeting adjourned at 7:10 into executive sessions. Upon returning at 7:54, no action was taken regarding the purchase of property for the library use or the EEOC claim by the City Administrator, LaNell Matthews.

During citizen’s comments, Mary Beth Topp asked about the budget for the Police Department. There was $513,000 budgeted for 2012, but they can’t even afford to buy supplies. What happened to the money? They need radios, desks and so much more. “They are working so hard to take care of us and we don’t take care of them.”

She also brought up the $23,000 grant, a portion of which was to go to the library for replacement of windows. Instead, it is being used on the new city hall and that is misappropriation of funds, she charged. The taxpayers need to be updated with what is going on with the money.

Richard Franklin thanked them for taking care to add an additional signer on the Mueller account.

Gary Moore related a tale of an incident that occurred with the police department back in 2010. He plans to file a suit of false arrest and failure to receive of due process.

Meeting adjourned at 8:07 p.m.

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