On Monday, Jan. 16, the Jourdanton City Council meeting opened with a Public Hearing on an application for a special use permit for property belonging to Sharon Delgado to allow an accessory building be converted into an addition to the existing house located at 909 Waltom Avenue. One person spoke against this saying that a mobile home will downgrade the property values in the area. Patsy J. Elizabeth Tymrak-Daughtrey asked if this was re-advertised a second time in the paper and that she wanted to be able to address the owner with questions, but she was not there. I am unable to make a definitive statement here due to lack of knowledge, she claimed.
Councilman Jack Harrison said that he had talked to Mr. Delgado and was told they want to move a storage building and add a room onto the existing mobile home.
Mayor Robert Doc Williams adjourned the public meeting at 6:07 p.m. and opened the regular meeting, beginning by calling roll.
The approval of the consent agenda, which includes the minutes from the December 19 and December 28 meetings and the payment of the monthly bills was unanimous, with Harrison, Chester Gonzales, Raul Roy Morales, Karen Pesek and Jonetta Johnnie Goetzel all voting affirmative.
The department reports were in paper form, but Gonzales asked City Manager Kendall Schorsch if citizens have to show proof of residency to use the recycling sight? At this point, they do not, since the sight is only open a few hours on Tuesday and Saturday. However, it may come up at a later date. Schorsch went on to say that the Little League will not be able to use the fields before the Sports Complex is open. The city has accepted ownership of the Complex, so they can begin stocking and working on other things, but there are still some grading issues for ADA compliance, some issues also with the sidewalk, curb and drainage. They are working on the punch list, however, so it shouldnt be too long until everything is completely done.
He also reported that the city engineer is working with Ram II on their contract and trying to come up with what is still owed due to work still not being completed. Until that is settled, they are doing no work at all, although there is a punch list to complete.
In Citizens Comments, the gentleman who spoke against the special use ordinance earlier said that he was told by the lady at City Hall that they were moving a mobile home onto the property. Tymrak-Daughtrey wanted to know whose responsibility it was to accept bids for tax struck-off properties? She encouraged the council to take control of this procedure. Also, she feels the increased building fees are discriminatory and puts burdensome charges on the owners. They are keeping people out of town because of these charges.
Cops for Kids
Police Chief Eric Kaiser presented Officer Michael Gilbert with a commendation for his Cops for Kids project during December. Upon receiving a letter from fellow officer, David Presley, who described the work Gilbert put into the project by getting local businesses to make donations, placing boxes around town for donations, wrapping presents with other officers and having football players and other volunteers working at the Christmas event on December 12 was far above his normal duties. There were about 40 families who received the presents and enjoyed food, face painting and other activities at the event. Excess gifts were donated to Toys for Tots, so nothing was wasted. Kaiser acknowledged Gilberts hard work, passion and dedication to the kids, while maintaining a humble attitude. For all this, he was presented with the Community Service Award, representing the highest police standards, and a commendation bar that he will wear on his uniform.
Since the owner did not attend the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, they tabled the item of the special permit requested by Delgado. Therefore, the council also tabled the item until the next meeting on February 21.
Lee Gordon, tax attorney for the City of Jourdanton, addressed the council regarding the bid he had received on property at 603 Walnut in the amount of $19,000. The total taxes owed on the property are over $50,000 and all taxing entities will have to approve the sell, but acceptance would get the struck-off property back on the tax rolls. The buyer, Michael Schoemer, plans to rehab the property and sell it. Harrison moved to accept the bid, Gonzales seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
Increasing building fees
An item from last month was revisited on this agenda regarding the increasing in building related fees. Schorsch explained that they only charge the permit fees, not inspection fees. The city, in turn, has to pay for the inspections. This money comes out of the General Fund which means essentially that all citizens are paying for others inspections. Greg Hallmark, the South Texas representative from Bureau Veritas explained that they have a contract with the city, but they are not charged anything unless his company actually does the inspections. Residential inspections are a flat fee, based on the value of the property, and there is no additional charge, regardless how many times they may have to come out to inspect. The commercial properties have a plan review fee and the inspection fee, which are separate, but again, are flat fees are based on value. His inspectors are licensed for all categories: building, plumbing, electrical, fire, etc. Oftentimes, they have to meet with the contractors or answer questions and give advice over the phone, but all of this is included in the original price. It depends on the city as to what they inspect, since they do not issue the permits and will not shut down a project unless there is a danger to life. They will do the inspections the next day after they are notified. Hallmark added that the fees are the same statewide. Schorsch further explained that the city could have access to their expertise and inspection functionality for a nominal cost per job, rather than adding people with those certifications to the payroll. After looking at several cities that use BV and how they have their fees figured, he felt that their base fee plus twenty-five percent for their office personnel time spent on the paperwork, was fair. Currently, the builders are only paying the permit fee, not the inspection fees, which are required. The council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance and will have a workshop soon to determine the exact guidelines and those can be brought back for a vote at a later meeting.
The council also voted unanimously to approve the application for the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program, for sewer improvements in the amount of $275,000.
Everyone was reminded about the Stock Show currently going on and encouraged to go out and support the kids. Project Graduation is holding a drawing with prizes such as Spurs tickets, dinner at Bohanans and a stay on the Riverwalk. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased from any senior parent or at Chile Bandera.
Harrison asked why there were no recycling bins. Schorsch said that the cost has gotten so high for and from Waste Management and when they did offer that service, there was only a 15 percent participation rate. They will look into expanding the bulky trash drop off to include that.
Meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.