Poteet renews Matthew’s contract

In a vote of four to one, the Poteet City Council renewed City Administrator Lanell Matthew’s contract for another two years. Voting for the renewal were Denise Sanchez, Jesse Sisnero, Gerard Herrera and Raymond Leal. Voting against was Larry Cantu. The annual salary was given as $56,000.

At the December 5 meeting, Mayor Ray Ybarra opened the Public Hearing regarding a zoning change from “multifamily” to “commercial on properties located at 1107 and 1111 S. 11th Street and lots 12-18 block 18. He asked if there was anyone in the audience who disagreed with the change. There were no comments, so he closed the hearing after two minutes. The council then voted to accept the changes to the zoning as presented in the hearing.

Approval of the minutes of the November 7, November 14 and November 21 was tabled since some members of the council had not looked at them.

Poteet ISD Superintendent Henry Castillo addressed the council about changing the election from November 2012 back to May 2012. The school board chose to hold their own elections and hold them in May. They purchased their own equipment, but found out later that they have to hold their elections in conjunction with the county or city. He was asking the council to hold their election on the regular date in May. Part of the reason for this is to keep the early voting in Poteet, rather than in Jourdanton. They based their cost sharing portion for the city on past elections and would charge between $2,500 to $3,000. The city has budgeted $6,000 for the election and last time it cost well over $4,000. Council agreed to go with school and change the election to May. Leal was the opposing vote. City Attorney Frank Garza said that he would have to prepare a resolution to make the changes.

Castillo also asked the council to enter into a local agreement with McCoy Water as emergency backup water for the school. After the troubles in August, the school contacted McCoy Water and their engineers looked at the water lines. They would be able to connect with the school lines and all four campuses would still have water, even if the city wells go down. The school would pay for the entire process; the city would pay nothing. Leal pointed out that the council had made an agreement with Benton City Water earlier in the year, so they needed to be careful about entering into another agreement. It was decided to table this issue until the minutes and agreement could be examined.

Accu-rite was awarded the roofing contract for a 6,000 square foot city building. Which building was to be repaired and the cost of the roof was not given. A resolution was passed to name the individuals who could sign the grant documents.

Council tabled an item to discuss increasing park rental fees.

The financial report that was included in the members’ packets was discussed. These included the figures from October in the general and utility funds. This was presented as a sample of what the council could look forward to each month.

Citizens’ comments are held after all the business. Mary Beth Topp encouraged the council to take away cell phones from employees, have them leave trucks at city hall overnight, pay their own amenities, worker’s comp and for the workshops they attend. She added that the administrator position is a full time one and the person who holds that position should work a full forty-hour week. Top also said that the library had a grant to fix their windows and that needs to be done.

Richard Franklin continued with the theme by pointing out that Poteet is becoming known for their drug problems and that in some neighborhoods, people are afraid to sit on their porches because of all the shooting in the area. While he was glad to see that there would be a financial report every month, he still had questions about the handling of the library’s Mueller fund. With the cold winds coming, the library was very cold, since the windows are broken and have yet to be repaired. He was concerned about the phone bills and the fallacies in some of the open records provided by the city. The Canyon drawing that has been in the city hall for many years is missing: it belongs to Poteet, not an individual and he demanded that it be returned. The Lytle paper quoted the mayor as saying that they were lying in their accusations and he takes exception to that comment. City hall should be known for its integrity and good government, but was falling far behind. He has contacted many groups to let them know what is going on, including Blue Cross, TML, Attorney General, MALDEF and LULAC. He hopes that the council members will put forth a sincere effort for change.

Candy Cantu, wife of councilman Larry Cantu, addressed the council next. She began by saying that she knows each and every council member well and she is ashamed of them all. By putting the citizen’s comments at the end of the meeting, they are not allowing citizens to discuss agenda items until after a decision has been made. “I know you don’t want to hear what some people have to say,” she continued. “I am ashamed of everyone of you.”

Ybarra said that he thinks the council is doing good; they would have to wait and see what happens. Herrera read a letter from Johnny Garcia thanking Matthews and the city crews for their work.

Meeting adjourned at 6:57 p.m.

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