Jourdanton police pitches K-9 officer to city council

New City of Jourdanton Mayor, Susan Netardus, receiving the gavel from outgoing mayor, Larry Pryor.

New City of Jourdanton Mayor, Susan Netardus, receiving the gavel from outgoing mayor, Larry Pryor.

Mayor Susan Netardus opened the Public Hearing before the Jourdanton City Council meeting held November 19. The hearing was to consider public comments regarding Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendations granting special use permits for two manufactured homes in a single family area. Patricia J. Elizabeth Tymrak-Daughtry was the only one to speak and she was in favor of moving these into the locations. Hearing adjourned at 6:03 p.m.

The first order of business was to elect a Mayor Pro Tempore. Donnie Blue nominated Randy Shearrer; Robert “Doc” Williams seconded. The motion passed with Raul Morales, Lewis Lem and Randy Shearrer also voting affirmative.

Citizens’ comments on agenda items were next. Former Mayor Larry Pryor advised the council to vote against rescinding a previously approved ordinance that would allow the city to issue certificates of obligation for the building of the new city hall complex. USDA had sent a denial of the loan, but then said they would grant it. However, the city needs a guarantee of the money by December 27 because of another grant. USDA said they could not meet that deadline. Therefore, Pryor recommended they stay with the earlier ordinance so they could go out for private loans.

Tymrak-Daughtry also talked on this issue saying that she was against the new city hall expense and indebtedness that would exist until 2053. She also warned the new mayor of the handling of the police department forfeiture fund and suggested that she, the mayor pro tempore and the city secretary should be signatories on the account, not the chief of police.

The consent agenda including the minutes of previous meetings on October 15 and 29 and the monthly bills passed, with Shearrer abstaining.

The department, city manager’s and mayor’s reports were accepted as presented.

Netardus presented Pryor with a plaque of appreciation for his years of service as council member and mayor for the City of Jourdanton.

Discussion followed regarding the approval of the special use permits for the two manufactured homes of the public hearing. It was discovered that they had no recommendations from the Planning and Zoning Committee because there was not a quorum at their last meeting. Legally, they could not continue with these items. The next meeting of the committee is December 6 at 6:00 p.m. Council agreed to a special called meeting the next day, December 7 at 5:30 p.m. to grant these variances if recommended by the committee.

Karen Rakowitz gave information on the renovation of the Depot, next to the Peach Street water well. She had drawings, but they are in the process of getting professional plans drawn and then they will attempt to raise money for the work. This is the original S.A.U. & G. Railroad depot. In 1941, the city applied for electricity to be installed in the building because it was to be used as the city hall and fire department. They are hoping to be able to use Hotel/Motel tax for this renovation, since this will serve as an information center, museum and small meeting area. Plans are to move it to the lot between CRC and McBee’s. Gary Klumb has volunteered to do the drawings and specs for the building.

Several other items were tabled for various reasons.

The council voted to pass an ordinance that allowed selling property on H Street for $12,000, as appraised by an outside appraiser. This is an unopened street and the person buying the land owns the property on either side of it. After consulting with the city attorney, a motion was made, and passed unanimously, to sell the land with the purchaser paying all the closing costs and the $500 invoice for the survey.

With every election or change in staff, there has to be an updated list of signatories for the Jourdanton State Bank and TexPool accounts. The only change at this time was to appoint Morales as the one council member that can sign. Police Chief Eric Kaiser was approved as the signatory on the Police Seizure and Forfeiture fund only.

The item to rescind the ordinance to reinstate USDA as the loan agent for the city hall failed due to lack of motion.

Kaiser addressed the council with a proposal to bring a K9 officer on board. They currently have a trained and successful K9 handler on staff. With the increase in drug trafficking, he thinks this would be a great asset to the department. Lem said that he would like to see this dog be a drug and patrol officer, which means that he could be used on patrol for protection of the officers. Kaiser said that the seized property funds could be used to purchase the dog and training. The school has already said they will contract with the department instead of the outside contractors. The council was very receptive to the idea.

Tymrak-Daughtry commented about the forfeiture funds and that they have to be budgeted and approved, just like the city’s budget. She also said there was a method to selling dedicated streets. Phillip Capistrani credited Kaiser and his department with the handling of an accident in front of his home. He asked that they monitor the area more and requested the city consider lowering the speed limit for the safety of the public. David Prasifka wanted the council to realize that the fire inspections mentioned earlier are for the safety of the firemen and citizens and will also lower the insurance rates in town. Every business or public building needs to have a fire inspection and it takes a lot of time to do those.

Dorothy Manning reminded everyone that Santa will be at the Community Center on December 3 at 6:00 p.m. There will be pictures taken, music and food available.

Meeting adjourned at 7:31 p.m.

Department reports

Tax collection for the month of October was $296,524.22 or 42.81% of the total taxes.

Police Department: Officers issued 146 citations and 111 written warnings. They answered 139 calls for service and conducted 85 building checks. There were 13 motor vehicle accidents in the city limits. Driver inattention, failure to control speed, failure to yield right of way and driver under the influence was the causative factors. Kaiser met with the Safe Schools/Healthy Students and requested they be able to use $5,000 of their funds to purchase a K9 unit. Joel Chavez joined the PD, and has served as a K9 handler in the past. One vehicle fatality occurred during October, the first in almost 10 years. The PD donated two bicycles for the Fall Festival. There were over 4,000 attendants.

The volunteer fire department donated 23 man-hours during the month. They answered wrecks, brush piles, vehicle fire and structure fire.

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