Poteet Council hears about new animal facility for county

Poteet Mayor Richard Tuttle introduced the city’s new attorney, Bobby Maldonado and his firm at the regular April meeting. Maldonado, in turn, introduced two of the young attorneys, T. J. May and Denise Martinez that work with him and assured the council that someone would be at every meeting. Tuttle said that the transition from one law firm to the next went well.

The minutes of the March 1 regular meeting and the special meeting of March 30 were approved, with corrections. Denise Sanchez made the motion to accept; Rosa De La Fuente seconded. Also voting for the motion were Estella Rocha and Nicholas Sanchez. Sonny Estrada was not present.

Atascosa County Appraisal District representative Sal Almanza addressed the council to let them know that the District had received a clean annual audit. There are some unspent funds from the taxing authorities, which may be returned at a later date. He handed out a paper that listed all the problems and issues with the current building that houses ACAD. It is over 40 years old, has cast iron pipes that are corroding and some asbestos contamination. These issues will have to be addressed soon.

John Ulbricht, the new CEO of the South Texas Regional Medical Center, introduced himself to the council. His main goal is to take care of “our patients, our doctors, our hospitals and our community.” He announced that the local clinic should reopen within 30-60 days. He wants to hear the comments, good and bad. Ninety percent of the cases should be treatable locally, he continued.

County Judge Bob Hurley gave a short presentation on the Atascosa County Animal Facility that is going to be built at Hwy. 173 and Hwy. 16 on five acres. This department will be under the Sheriff’s Department under the supervision of Henry Dominguez and will have two Animal Control Officers, who will also be deputized so that they can issue tickets and enforce the ordinances, an animal tech and an office clerk. All cleaning of the facility will be done by prisoners. Hurley said that he has been looking at how other counties handle their facilities and has gotten many good ideas. The schematics RFP (requests for proposals) should go out within 30 days. He is very excited about this new program and has gotten only positive comments from the citizens about it. The building will be 6,000 square feet and have 50 two-sided kennels and the remaining 3,000 square feet will be offices and adoption area. He plans on instituting once a week adoption day, with two SNAP clinics and two rabies clinics already planned. The facility is scheduled to open in September or October.

Anthony Garza just recently received his LRCA (Local Rabies Control Authority) licensing and the council voted to hire him as Poteet’s Animal Control Officer.

Council also approved unanimously to amend the “Pursuit Policy” and allow police pursuits only to the city limits, unless the person is suspected of murder or an aggravated offense. Otherwise, they will have to get approval from the Chief or the Lieutenant. This was changed due to public safety concerns.

The city has 38 acres at the sewer plant and intends to put an impound yard there. Council agreed for the Mayor to get quotes on signage, base material and the spreading and packing of those materials and fencing to complete the project. Currently, there are four vehicles being stored elsewhere for a year because they were involved in drug related crimes.

Irwin Jalloway represented Camino Real Community Services work center in asking the council to abandon the alley located off Avenue H behind their building and a portion of the alley on lot

14 and west of lots 7, 8, 9,

10, 11 and 12 in the north half of block 57. This area is currently used for employee parking and most did not realize that was an alleyway.

The company intends to rebuild a 10,000 square foot building in their current location, but this would encroach on the alley. This is a preliminary step to beginning this project. They have been assured that there are no underground utilities there. Council voted unanimously to direct the attorney to draft an ordinance to abandon the property.

The final piece of business was for the council to approve the 2016 Center Point Energy Annual GRIP adjustment. This is just a formality, because Center Point will go up on the rates regardless how the council votes. They voted unanimously for the motion.

A special meeting was called to discuss the library and building considerations for Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m.

The Police Department reported the success of the banner project, where citizens purchased Strawberry Festival banners to be put on utility poles. Chief Bruce Hickman thanked everyone that participated. The department had 30 arrests for the month of March, 10 of those were for possession of controlled substance. They had one report of shots fired and were able to arrest the man. They also answered three alarms at the school. The school is going to hire their own department beginning in June. Finally, Hickman reported 195 calls for service.

Gloria Solis reported that she had completed the required annual report to be sent to the Texas State Library. This year, they were short on maintenance of effort, which means that the city did not put in as much money into the department as the state thinks it should. Failure to meet this will result in losing accreditation, which in turn means losing the ability to apply for grants and receiving services and any monies from the state. She was finally able to exceed the amount required by a few dollars by putting a value to the yard maintenance and other in-kind services. For the month of March, the patron count was 716, Internet usage was 234 with 21 guest users and 670 checkouts.

Rosie Anderson gave the report for the Volunteer Fire Department. They answered 22 calls during the month, eight of which were inside the city limits. Nine were county calls and five were mutual aid. They also assisted Public Works with lift assists.

Meeting adjourned at 8:01 p.m.

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