It was another long night at the Jourdanton City Council on Monday. The consent agenda, which contains the minutes of the previous meetings of November 17 and December 2 and the monthly bills, was approved by Donnie Blue, Robert “Doc” Williams, Raul Morales and Chester Gonzales. Patsy J. Elizabeth Tymrak- Daughtrey voted negative.
Tymrak complained that the department reports did not have the necessary information, such as how many citations were issued by code enforcement, actions of the dog pound and the required information from the Department of State Health Services.
Former Mayor Larry Pryor addressed the council under citizen’s comments. He appealed to Tymrak not to micromanage the code enforcement officer, but go through channels, starting with the City Manager Dan Nick. The officer was not hired by the council and is not directly responsible to them. Steve Estrada, the Code Enforcement Officer told Tymrak that the city issues tags for dogs and no chip is required. He added as an aside that he appreciated those who ran for office that were respectful and responsible enough to remove their campaign signs.
The contract to manage/ administer the 2014 Texas Community Block Grant Program was offered to Margaret Hardin, representing Langford Community Management Services. They have been working with the city since 2012 on the grant to replace the sewer lines. The timeline of the new grant has the beginning of October 15, 2014, which started with the proposals. This is the time to hire the administrator for the grant. Tymrak objected since there was nothing in the packet, no resume on the company, no copy of the contract in the file. She felt totally uninformed because of the lack of documentation. Nick answered that this is the way all of the grants are done. They took over from Karen Kibbe who used to administer the grants. On this particular project, the city only has to pay 15%, or $42,250. All voted for Langford, except Tymrak.
Engineering services were awarded to Garcia and Wright. Tymrak wanted to know why they would award the contract to someone who is two years behind in completion of the current grant and whose services are “ineffective”? Motion passed with Tymrak voting against. Several further items regarding the grant were pulled.
The council considered the bids on the sale of certificates of obligation as presented by Mark McLiney from Southwest Securities, Inc. He had received four bids and recommended Coastal Securities who offered 2.878% interest rate. The company will pay all the costs on the $5 million. Council approved an ordinance that allowed the issuance of bonds to Coastal Securities. They should receive the money on December 23. There is also no penalty for early payoff. Tymrak voted no.
City Attorney Habib Erkhan laid out the steps in the process of hiring a firm to build the new sports complex. First, is to authorize Nick to publish requests for qualifications. Secondly, a committee should be formed to review and make a recommendation to the council and go out for proposals and third, award the contract. He also explained the different types of contractors and said that what they were looking for was the design/build. Tymrak said she felt that took the project out of the council’s hands. When does the council get to be involved in the design? The committee will bring the design to the council at the appropriate time. Motion passed to publish for qualifications. Tymrak voted no.
The selection committee was appointed with the following members: Susan Netardus, mayor; Robert Williams, David Soward; John Elmore; Dorothy Manning; Jack Harrison; Karen Pesek; Mary Lee Scheel and City Engingeer Garcia. Tymrak wanted Scheel and Harrison taken off, they were too old and far away from kids. She suggested Tom Poenisch and Steve Mueller. Her amendment did not pass. The original list of members was approved, with Tymrak voting negative.
Williams suggested that they decide how to refurbish the elevated water tower so that when the funds did arrive, they could start on it immediately. He suggested keeping it the same but adding white lights so that when the school won games, they could be lighted. That way, it keeps the connection with the school. Motion passed unanimously.
Ram II requested an extension of the contract to finish the water system improvements. They should be ready for a punch list by May 1, 2015. The project is 80% complete now. Originally, there was 12 miles of water lines inside the city limits. Another mile was added and they had trouble with maps that were 80 years old. The contractor said that in his 35 years of doing this, this is the hardest he’s ever done. Over 480 services were put in, 70 connections were added and they bored under highway 97. He added that most everything had been asphalted now. Request was passed.
A lengthy discussion was held regarding the drain on city resources caused by Tymrak’s requests for open records and consultations with the city attorney. A motion was made to prevent any council member from contacting the attorney for any reason without permission from the mayor or city manager. Blue said the fees for November 2013 were $6,559.50 and that was just a small part. This has already been discussed and if a member has any questions, they should go to Nick first. Tymrak said that she was striving to conduct business and to deny any elected official to due process and prevent them from doing their job is disenfranchising their voters. She added that she accepts no allegations and this is completely out of order for the governance of the city council. Erkhan said that he has had, on occasion, lengthy discussions with Tymrak, but he did not know that it was unauthorized. Council member assured him that they were not accusing him. Motion passed with Gonzales voting negative and Tymrak voting negative, saying her civil rights were being violated.
Tymrak also incurred a copy fee of $43 when asking for the ballots and information regarding the recount of the election. She claims she was acting as representative of Rudy Segura, the candidate and that he should be billed for the copies as part of the recount costs. Netardus said she specifically asked Segura if he wanted copies and he said no. Erkhan suggested that Segura be billed and if he does not pay, then it can be pursued further. Motion passed unanimously.
Tymrak refuses to turn in her travel receipts for the TML conference. Her claim is that with the per diem, no receipts are required. She was told they were required for the audit. Blue brought up the $125 spent for a workshop that she did not attend. Tymrak said she considered this, too, to be a violation of her civil rights, her privacy and her disability. They were violating the ADA law and First Amendment. “This is stupid,” she added. Netardus told her they were just trying to keep expenses down and no money would have to be returned if it was not all used. Motion to collect receipts in the future passed with three voting for, two voting negative and one abstention.
At the last meeting, Jeannette Harrison accused Tymrak of spending tax payer money unnecessarily to consult with the attorney. Tymrak wanted copies of all the attorney’s invoices. She was upset that she couldn’t rebut these allegations since Harrison was not at the meeting and she did not have those copies. City Secretary Debbie Molina told her the copies were ready and would be $7 for 70 pages.
Estrada answered the question about what tones were given with the sirens. The solid three minute warning was the alert to take cover. Three blasts on, three off signals all clear. A 72 second pulse on and off signals a fire. The city has no access to the sirens, since it is located in the sheriff’s office because of the 24-hour dispatch. Testing was suggested to be done on Sundays, between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Nick said they could alert folks of the tests through the marquee, the newspaper, radio and even put on the utility bills. Motion passed to begin on February 1, 2015, with Blue voting negative.
Gonzales voiced his concern about the unpaved streets in town, especially Waltom, between Willow and Walnut. Nick said that streets are usually opened by developers, but someone opened that one on their own. This street was not accepted by the city for maintenance. This street was obviously developed by those who lived in the area. A motion was made for Ram II to repave streets damaged when putting in the water lines. June 1 was the deadline offered. Motion failed with three against and two for.
Tymrak also made a long motion regarding the condition and safety of fences in residential areas. After some discussion, it was revealed that she was referring specifically to the metal one put up by Mark Medina at 512 Chestnut. Netardus said that this needs to be examined for code compliance. The agenda item did not address a specific area, so no vote was made.
She also wanted to limit the METs (Meteorological Evaluation Towers) within the city limits. Her concern was that they would not be visible by airplanes. When asked why she even brought them up, her reply was that San Antonio is making noise about what’s going on in the Eagle Ford and they want information from these towers. Motion failed three against, two for .
Rhonda Lem’s resignation as the Planning and Zoning Commission Chairperson was approved unanimously.
The council went into closed session at 9:43 p.m. and returned at 10:11. Blue moved to give a two year extension to Nick’s contract and give him a 6% raise. Tymrak opposed because the 6% was too high and giving multi-year contracts tied the hands of future councils. Gonzales agreed that 6% was a substantial amount. Motion passed with those two negatives.
Nominations for appointments on the Planning and Zoning Commission were opened. Lewis Lem was nominated along with Steven Mueller and Doris Park. Lem was voted in to take the place of Benny Cope, whose term was up in June of 2017. Park was voted in and her term will be up June 17, 2016.
The 2015 calendar was approved with Tymrak voting negative because of Columbus Day. That gives the employees 13 holidays. The official newspaper was designated as the Pleasanton Express.
Nick handed out copies of the Pre-Cast Inc. magazine that shows Jourdanton’s new City Hall won the number one position in the U.S. poll.
Blue requested a report from the attorney on the complaint to the Texas Ethics Commission for the next agenda. Tymrak wanted the invoices for all attorney fees. Gonzales requested discussion on the City Park lighting and update on the complaint from Herrera on Nick and Estrada. Netardus requested a report on the fence issue. The next two meetings will be held on Tuesday instead of Monday due to holidays. January 20 and February 17, 2015 will be the dates of the meetings. This meeting adjourned at 10:36 p.m.