Plans for Sports Complex presented, construction begins in November

The Jourdanton City Council met with a public hearing on the proposed adoption of the budget and tax rate for the upcoming year, before their regular meeting. Following that, the Jourdanton Board of Adjustments discussed allowing variances on lot size, lot width, street frontage and front setback for property owned by Aline Binkley at 915 Maple Street. Mrs. Binkley is replacing the existing mobile home with one that is two feet shorter, but two feet wider. It will be in the exact same place as the old one. The Planning and Zoning Commission had approved it unanimously. Going over each variance separately, the council voted to approve each one. The board of adjustment’s hearing was closed at 6:12 p.m. A Public Hearing was opened immediately, to receive any comments from the audience about the variances to be issued. There were none, so the hearing was closed and the regular meeting was called to order at 6:14 p.m.

Minutes from the previous meetings were not available and there were questions about the bills, so the Consent Agenda was tabled. Patricia J. Elizabeth Tymrak- Daughtrey had several questions on the bills, including who authorized the expenditure of $71,000 for equipment. City Manager Dan Nick said that this was approved in the general budget and was discussed at the last meeting. City Attorney Habib Erkhan advised that since the purchase was done through the Buy Board, it satisfies the requirement for going out for bids. There was a little more discussion before Robert “Doc” Williams moved to accept the bills and Donnie Blue seconded. Motion passed with Raul Morales and Chester Gonzales also voting affirmative. Tymrak voted negative. Erkhan told Tymrak that if she wanted to discuss any of the reports, that needed to be posted on the agenda, in fairness to all who might wish to know about them.

Mayor Susan Netardus called Brandi Jupe up for Citizen’s Comments. She stated that an email was sent out by Council Member Tymrak last month after she stood up for Police Chief Eric Kaiser and the Mayor. She said that she has strong beliefs on who she supports and others will not come to the meetings in fear of some sort of retaliation by certain council members. The email questioned her inheritance, which she felt crossed the line, because that was no one’s business but her own. While she stated that she had nothing against any of the members and that some good, valid points were brought up, although they were handled wrong, she did not deserve to be talked about.

Irene Ruiz Hernandez spoke next about an issue she brought up last month. The city does not allow signs within the right of way and there were many temporary signs up around town. She admitted that they were taken down, along with those she had up, but the others were back up in a few days, at private property, such as McBee’s. She wanted to know why some were getting preferential treatment.

The agenda item approving the variances for 915 Maple was up, but Erkhan pointed out the street address was incorrect. The legal address was correct, but it could be challenged down the road. If they approved it tonight, he suggested that they amend the required ordinance next month. Tymrak moved to table the issue, but due to lack of second, the motion failed. They voted to approve the ordinance, with Tymrak the only negative vote.

The council then adopted the ordinance to approve the budget for the upcoming year. Nick said that there was no change in the budget from what was discussed previously and it was pretty straight forward. Gonzales asked about the expenditures in capital improvement, which was the purchase of a blade and steel wheel attachment for a piece of equipment. Tymrak said that she was shocked by the budget for the Public Safety Department at almost $800,000. She wanted to know also if any of the police cars were utilized for personal use. Kaiser said that they have seven vehicles; three for administrators and four patrol cars. The school officer and the K9 officer had specific vehicles assigned to them, but they were not used personally by the officers. Body cameras were also in the budget under equipment. Tymrak was the only vote against the adoption of the budget.

The next item was the adoption of the tax rate of .04722 percent. Nick pointed out that the effective rate had not changed in four years. Gonzales said he knew it would take more money to fix the streets as a part of the city’s growing pains. Motion passed with three voting for, Gonzales abstaining and Tymrak voting against. As a matter of legality, the council then had to adopt an ordinance ratifying the votes to adopt the budget and tax rate. Motion passed with Gonzales and Tymrak voting against it. Tymrak claimed that she could not come up with the same figures they presented.

An architect presented the plans for the sports complex, explaining the materials to be used and the colors suggested. Construction is slated to start in November. The complex drawings were approved by the committee earlier in September. There will be two softball fields, two little league fields and one senior field. Bleachers will be covered and everything will be up to city, state and federal code. There will be concession stands at the pool and the fields, as well. The pool will be the standard lap length, with areas for small children to use that are less than three feet deep. There will be two portable life guard stations. The fields will each have their own dugouts and shade structures. There will be a field house, storage area, board room along with the concession stand. Available parking will be 260 spots for the fields and 60 for the pool area. Tymrak asked about the drainage and they assured her that they had taken that into consideration and were redirecting the water with intercept channels and diverting it into the creek.

There was an error on the description of an agenda item regarding selling property at the Lovelace Subdivision, so that was tabled until next month.

Tymrak moved to prohibit the carrying of guns in city meetings. She thought it was mandated by the state legislature, but the attorney assured her that it was not. Motion died for lack of second.

Tymrak then moved to have the DA Texas Comptroller Local Government Management Assessment team come to the city and examine them in eight different areas. This is available to all taxing entities and is a free service. She added that she thinks the city fails in these areas. Gonzales wanted to know how long this would take, but she could not answer that. He asked Nick if he had any reservations about it, but he did not. This will do what they are already doing. USDA approves all the bids and they have received nothing but positive audits in the past many years. Blue said he felt they were already in compliance and this was just a fishing expedition. Tymrak voted for the motion, everyone else voted against, so the motion failed.

Finally, she moved to join into an agreement with the county tax collector so that they could collect the property taxes for them. This motion died without a second.

Gonzales discussed the meeting that the committee on the street recommendations held. They had outlined some that needed the repair the most and the City Engineer was to get cost estimates. They had discussed seal coat and hot mix and Gonzales said he knew the hot mix was more expensive, but it also lasted longer. He asked about the money left over in the current budget for street repair and would it be lost if not used before the next year’s budget. Erkhan said that it would carry over in the surplus, but they could have the money allocated for that use in the next meeting.

Gonzales suggested that the city’s personnel manual have a sexual harassment clause added to it. Kaiser said that there is one, from many years ago, that is an addition to the manual and is included in every one given to new hires. It was decided after every member gets a copy of the hiring packet they would discuss it further next month. He also wanted to see about adding a clause on how to handle complaints about the city manager. He was quick to add that there was nothing about Nick, it was just something missing from the manual.

Corrections had to be made on the ordinance approved last month on the general election. The dates and times for early voting are October 20 and October 27 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. After talking to the election administrator, the city secretary caught the mistake. Motion to adopt the amendment was passed with Tymrak voting against.

A resolution to approve the list of election clerks and judges as suggested by Janice Ruple, Election Administrator, were approved unanimously.

Discussion on amending the ordinance for procedures for reimbursement of the council members for out of town expenses was initiated by Netardus. The per diem would be $37.50 for the first day of travel and the last. The days in between would be at $50. Anything above that the members would have to pay themselves, unless the majority of the council votes to pay for it. There would be no need for presenting receipts anymore. Tymrak argued that it was directed at her and brought up the point that she had extra expenses one time because she had to be wheeled around the airport and paid a gratuity to the assistant. Netardus said that this was to help her, because she didn’t want to turn in any receipts. Motion passed with Tymrak voting against.

There are some outdated city records in the old city hall and Nick hired someone to go through them to see what could be destroyed on a records management program. Gonzales stated that he had some reserves about doing this without actually looking at the documents. Tymrak asked for an extension, because she wanted to do an open records act request. Nick said that the list of records that could be destroyed had been done in March of 2014. Erkhan told Tymrak that she was given a cost estimate of the copies that she requested and she had never responded. “You don’t have one pending,” he added. She sent another one when the destruction discussion came up again as a “delay tactic.” Motion passed to begin the destruction, with Gonzales and Tymrak voting against.

On the social calendar, the audience was reminded that St. Matthews annual picnic was this weekend. Also, on October 10, the Boots Campaign would be held in Pleasanton. On October 3 and 4, the Atascosa Conty Fair would be going on in Poteet.

Meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m.

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