By Callie Metler-Smith
The Anson City Council met in their regular meeting on Monday, August 24th at the Anson Public Library. After the approval of the minutes, Mayor Mike Herndon skipped around on the agenda with Police Chief David Moore first presenting his police report to the council.
The council next approved a Resolution to provide insurance on real property at 1201 Avenue J, Anson, TX owned by the IDC of Anson, Inc. that was formerly known as the Home Health Building. Premiums to be paid by IDC. This will allow the building to exist on the City of Anson’s Texas Municipal League (TML) insurance which will cost $139 a year.
The council then entered into a lengthy executive session to discuss and take action on the contract for the operation of the City Swimming Pool and issues involving the break-in at the City Swimming Pool. The council took no action when they came out of executive session.
The council then opened up the floor for public comment since there were many citizens present. Reverend Deckard said he had a few items he wanted to have addressed. He said they were a trailer that was parked illegally in town that he would like to be moved, and he would like to see the clean up around Ave C, D, and E finished if at all possible.
He also pointed out that the former black school which is located on Ave D is very important to the community, and it was the first black school in Jones County. He would like to get it recognized as a historical place and help preserve it since the property is currently for sale. City Manager Sonny Campbell said he would meet with Deckard the next day at 1:00 to look at the area.
Dee Shellman also addressed the council saying she commended Pastor Deckard on the matters he addressed, she wanted to deal with the issue of the units down in the flats, doesn’t know why the housing authority that regulates the units doesn’t do a better job. There are more people there than should be there. She said she has addressed the issue with the housing authority and they haven’t responded to her complaints.
Another citizen came forward to say that there has been a problem with the city leaving holes open for two or three weeks after they dig. Sonny Campbell said he doesn’t know why the holes are being left open so long, but that the city was trying to address it.
Another citizen complained about the installation of the water meters, saying there were issues when they installed the meters that were not addressed. The city said they were going to look into it.
Under discussion on amending the Zoning Ordinance to regulate the sale of alcohol and signage within the City and regulation of RVs in the City, City Attorney Chad Cowan said that this ordinance regulates the sale of offsite consumption of Beer and Wine, similar to what the City of Stamford has in place. Cowan answered the question that if the council did nothing would the state law apply and he said it would not. Cowan also clarified that the measurement of distance goes from the front door down the street to the next door. Schools are measured different because that distance is measured lot line to lot line. If there is no distance passed in the ordinance then the place of business can be anywhere even it if borders a church or school. Councilwoman Evelyn Edwards said that they had discussed not having any restrictions of distance from a church or public school.
Councilman Pete Klein said he was worried about what the restrictions would do to Allsup's and if it had the potential to close it leaving another empty corner at the junction of Hwy 180 and Hwy 277. Councilmen Keith Gilbert and Larry White said they were both in favor of putting at least some of a restriction in the ordinance.
In regards to the RV they talked about changing the time limit to 72 hours. Larry White said he feels like there needs to be a permit so it can be regulated.
Mayor Mike Herndon moved that they vote on the ordinance, taking out the RV issue because it needs to be a separate ordinance, and he also moved to strike the 300 feet distance. He explained that this would still leave verbage about that there could be no temporary signs placed promoting alcohol, and the alcohol could not be sold in residential areas. It also placed a $60 charge to permit the sale of alcohol. In a roll call vote Councilman Gilbert and Larry White voted no. Councilmembers Klein, Angela Ramirez, Edwards, and Mayor Herndon voted in favor. The motion passed.
A representative from the TDHCA HOME Contract addressed the council. This is the same type of program they have been doing, but TDHCa stopped putting money in the fund. Now the applications will be in October for up to four homes and it will be competitive, but she thinks that Anson has a good chance of getting into the program. She said the most important thing is that they already have 4 people from the last time that already qualify. The people will not have to reapply, they will just be transferred into the new funding program. This is still at no cost to the city. Edwards made the motion to approve the resolution to approve the TDHCA Home contract.
The council next reviewed the TEXAS TAX ANTICIPATION NOTE (TAN) that was reviewed at the previous meeting. Campbell said that the hospital has basically said that they want them to do this. Councilman Gilbert said it was just an insurance policy for the hospital that will help the city in taking out loans to help the hospital.
Campbell also said that the hospital had asked them to set a town hall meeting, but they had been unable to set a date for that meeting, but they were looking at holding it at the school’s auditorium.
The council next reviewed and voted to set the 2015 Property Tax Rate for the City of Anson at $1.16 per $100 of appraised value which will be a slight increase creating around $30,000 in extra revenue for the city. Campbell recommended this increase in lieu of raising the water and sewer rates. The council then set the two hearing dates for the tax increase at the next two council meetings which will be held on September 14th and September 28th.
The council next appointed Jan Cromeens to the Anson Educational Facilities Corporation.
Under the agenda item on procedures pertaining to Code Enforcement, Campbell said they have had several complaints and he said they have been looking at other options than the current situation. He said that the police department can issue tickets, so they are going to start doing that. Sonny said what he wants is for more citizens to turn in complaints because that helps to give teeth to the things they do..
TCEQ has fined the city of Anson $750 for violations for several quarters of Trielmethane.
Campbell said they may have to make a change in treatment.