Poteet Council meets May 2

The regular monthly meeting of the Poteet City Council was held on Tuesday, May 2. Many items were discussed along with city council member Denise Sanchez putting another item on the agenda regarding the job performance of Poteet Police Department Chief Bruce Hickman. Approximately 10 of his employees attended the meeting and many spoke in favor of the chief.
William Permenter, a seven-year police veteran, said that when he came to the department, there was no police policy and no field training offered by the department. His second day on the job, he was given the keys to a car and patrolled the city of Poteet on his own. Since Hickman has been leading the department, he has instituted the FTO (Field Training Officers) program, where new officers go through three different training sessions and learn policy. Currently, there are several FTO instructors in-house. Permenter stated that he loves where he works and who he works for, he also questioned at what point these accusations made by Sanchez cease.
When Officer Devon Wilborn spoke to the council, he noted this is the second attack on Hickman in two months, and believes it is clearly a personal attack on the Chief. The unprofessionalism of the council woman was noted. With the daily battles the department has, they should not have to fight the council as well. Wilborn listed a few of the things the Chief has implemented since his arrival: impound lot; body cameras; animal control and code compliance officer.
Officer Robert Tarin stated that he has been embarrassed for the city by the displays of a certain council person and questioned why her actions were tolerated. Tarin said he has worked under three police chiefs and Hickman has done more than any: he’s honest, has great integrity and a good work ethic.
Former Poteet City Secretary LaRae Culpepper, stated that this council person picks one employee to harass and that she, herself, had experienced it. She said the council should be working for the benefit of the city and the citizens and removing the Chief would be of no benefit. He has brought many programs for the officers and his evaluations have been at the highest levels. Many absences were because he was attending training, as instructed by the Council.
Later in the meeting, when the Council was supposed to go into executive session to discuss the “suspension of the Chief of Police for lack of work,” Hickman stated that he wanted the discussion to be held in open meeting. Sanchez, who put the item on the agenda, said she wanted to table it because she was still waiting for some paperwork. Council member Nicholas Sanchez said he and many others were tired of this being brought up every month. Council member Albert Treviño also shared his comments saying he felt that it was very unfair to Hickman to have him wonder if he was going to have a job from month to month. The item was tabled and will be discussed again in next month’s city council meeting.
Continuing with city business, Rich Frommeyer, from American Legal Publishing, addressed the council regarding the codification of the city ordinances. The legal publishing company will do the legal research and report any inconsistencies or state law changes that effect the laws and provide the city with a detailed report. If there are inconsistencies, the publishing company will make corrections. After nine months, they will have the ordinances in an organized notebook form and they will be available for viewing online. The base cost will be $6K, which can be paid over a two year span will include 10 copies of the book. Once the amount owed is paid off, the company will add any new ordinances to keep everything updated. Frommeyer mentioned the City of Pleasanton was also in the process of having this done. Council member Rosalinda De La Fuente asked Mayor Richard Tuttle if they had ever received a quote on this from the city attorney. Tuttle said they had received one, but the quote was considerably higher. De La Fuente requested that they table the item until the city attorney had the chance to present his offer.
Sal Almanza, Poteet’s representative on the ACAD (Atascosa County Appraisal District) board, announced to the council that they had been offered a portion of the Pleasanton Elementary School for their offices. Almanza introduced Chief Appraiser Michelle Cardenas who provided the details of the offer. The appraisal district would only have to pay the closing costs for the library portion, but if they should ever vacate the property, it would revert back to Pleasanton ISD.
If the appraisal district stayed in their current building, it would cost at least $94K to renovate and update the building. The building is currently 3,400 square feet, while an assessment shows that they need from 8K to 10K square feet. The proposed building is 8,900 square feet, so the appraisal district will have room to grow. There are some changes that will need to be done, such as remodeling the bathrooms for adults, adding a break room and a private, executive meeting room. ACAD needs three-quarters of the taxing entities to approve the move by resolution. Cardenas added that Poteet’s share of the purchase, which was in the current budget was $1,469.51. D. Sanchez moved to approve the resolution, with Treviño seconding the motion. De La Fuente, N. Sanchez and Estella Rocha also voted for the resolution which passed unanimously.
Next up was the discussion of a resolution approving the Distribution Cost Recovery Factor for AEP Texas, Inc. This is an annual thing, but N. Sanchez noted that another attorney had advised this not be approved. The item was tabled so that the city attorney could review the resolution.
Along those same lines, the annual Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program for Center Point was up for approval. A representative said that they had spent 30 million dollars last year improving 67 incorporated cities and outlying areas. Poteet did not directly benefit from this, but Hondo has had almost all their old lines replaced. The increase in residential cost is $2.04 and $4.13 for small commercial per month. If not approved by them, there will be a 45-day delay and then it will go into effect anway. D. Sanchez moved to approve, with Treviño seconding. The motion was passed unanimously.
The Baptist Health Foundation was formed to assist non-profit agencies with grants in the health related area, from prevention to direct treatment. President Cody Knowlton advised that there were funds for San Antonio and eight counties. He wanted the Council to be aware of what they could provide. The dental clinic in Pleasanton was built and outfitted through a grant from them. Applications are done online and he added that they do this “in the Lord’s name.”
Moving along, Code Enforcement Officer Christina Flores asked the Council to table the item she had requested, regarding requiring grease traps, until her department can form a committee to look over several ordinances that need to be updated. Secondly, she requested the installation of another stop sign on 2nd Street and Amphion Alley to slow down the traffic in the area. Council approved the item unanimously.
The Mayor addressed the council and members of the audience about the library construction. He had an opportunity to purchase a metal building, 50 feet by 100 feet, as they wanted, for $38K, with free shipping. He approved the purchase himself, since it was time sensitive. The building and finishing will have to go out for bids.
In other business, the Council approved allowing a 1997 mobile home to be moved from451 N. 2nd Street to Boyd Street and School Drive, as long as the owner followed all the necessary requirements by the city.
A discussioin regarding the hiring a part time or full time city administrator also took place. D. Sanchez and De La Fuente said the city had employed a a part-time administrator in the past and they felt that’s all they needed for now. N. Sanchez said that he needed help from the administrator to get the bill payment online and the website up and running, but he could never get with Richard Middleton the city’s Fianance Director because he was not working at a time convenient for him. Regardless, the motion was made and approved to go out for a qualified administrator to work part-time only.
Finally, there was a citizen’s complaint about Nicholas Sanchez, lodged by Susana Perez, regarding a statement he made about another council member. He maintained that he was sharing an opinion about how council members should act. Perez said she did not appreciate the statement he made and that the council members should work together. Sanchez said another council person was right there and heard what he said and said something herself, but she did not complain about her. He stated he found the complaint a little biased. Video footage of that discussion is available on the Pleasanton Express’ video library.
The Poteet Police Department had 24 arrests and 69 new case numbers issued. They answered three alarms at the school, had one report of shots fired and had 206 calls for service. Treviño had requested a report on the impound lot last month and Hickman complied. There were 16 vehicles impounded and 16 were released. Fees collected were $4,718.50. Six abandoned cars were taken to auction along with four old city cars. Treviño asked if officers were allowed to drive cars to the impound because he had heard complaints from citizens. Hickman said the law allowed them to do that, but they had taken care of the complaints.
A report from Public Works Director Bobby Briseño shows that well #9 is running, but they are waiting for samples to come back from #10. Kelly Street construction is complete and they will begin patching the street. Crews will be spending the next one and a half months working on School Drive. It was announced that Ruben Quintana, a city employee, received his Class C water certification. Some of the brush was missed during the regular brush pick-up. Citizens are advised to call the Poteet City Hall to let them know, because the trucks are coming back through the city.
Gloria Solis, Poteet’s Librarian, reported that she attended the Texas Library Convention and received all her required continuing education there. The library is still hosting the Spice of the Month Club and will be holding their next meeting on Thursday, May 18. Also the study group is still meeting there and she plans to run the Internet into the back meeting room so the students don’t have to go back and forth to the front of the building to do research. The Sisters of Charity come to the library every Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help enroll folks in the ACA, Affordable Care Act Insurance. The library had a total of 937 visitors, with 797 checkouts and 261 using the Internet. Fines collected for the month were $370.15.
Before the meeting was adjourned, everyone was reminded that there is a special called meeting for Thursday, May 11 at 6 p.m. to canvas the votes. We encourage citizens in their communities to attend local meetings to stay current with all their local happenings. Videos segments of the meeting are available on our website at www.pleasantonexpress.com