By Teresa Barbian
The Anson City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, January 23, 2014 at the Anson City Library. Mayor Sara Alfaro called the meeting to order and Councilwoman Jeannie Free led with an opening prayer. The council approved the minutes from the January 9th public hearing and council meeting and then approved the minutes from the January 17th budget workshop meeting. There were no citizen presentations.
Next, the court approved the sale of the following trust properties; R21444 in the amount of $5500, R26962 in the amount of $600, and R13931 in the amount of $150. The council rejected the sale of trust property R28668 in the amount of $101. The council made a motion to table the sale of trust property R19565 in the amount of $904 until further investigation into whether the waterway that is located near the property is included. The City does not want to sell the waterway.
The next item on the agenda was to discuss and take action on passing a resolution that creates a policy for issuing technological equipment to employees, council persons, and the mayor, and a form to sign when such equipment is issued. City Attorney Chad Cowan presented a contract for the council to use, but after much discussion, many changes were made to this contract and the contract would only be for council members because there is already a policy in the employee handbook for city employees. Anyone interested in viewing this policy can contact City Hall.
Next on the agenda was a discussion of terms of contract with the Anson Golf Course Association and rules of use of the park. The council decided to approve the addition of requiring the golf course to post signs in the clubhouse stating ‘No Underage Drinking Allowed.’ The golf course association will have to decide if they want to add this rule to their lease (which has expired). Next, discuss and take action on Resolution 012317. This resolution is regarding a Texas Capital Fund Grant. This is the beginning phase of a obtaining a business grant of around $700,000 for the Star Dodge Dealership that is moving to Anson. Grantworks will administer the grant and Jacob and Martin will be the engineers for the grant. The council approved this resolution.
The next agenda item was to discuss the City of Anson’s Street Maintenance Fund Tax. Councilwoman Linda Powell wanted to know what the plan was for this tax since the taxpayers voted to change the allocation of the amount deposited into the fund. City Manager Sonny Campbell explained, that no plan has been voted on by the council yet and that this fund had to accumulate before a plan is submitted to the council for approval. Since the voters decided to change the allocated amount from the sales tax for this fund during the November election, the projected total amount for 2017 is around $100,000. Before the election, only about $38,000 annually went into this fund. This fund can only be used for street maintenance and nothing else. He also indicated that the plan is to possibly get a TAN Loan once the fund has accumulated in order to address road issues such as drainage and water lines in the middle of the streets. Once these issues are addressed, the City can concentrate on repairing the streets. But all this is speculation for now since the funds have not accumulated yet. No action was taken. Next on the agenda was to discuss and take action on the Racial Profiling report from the police department. This is a report that the council has to approve before it can be submitted to the State. There was a total of 1545 motor vehicle stops for 2016. The breakdown of ethnicity was as follows; 88 African American, 9 Asian, 1064 Caucasian, 378 Hispanic, 3 Middle Eastern, and 3 Native American. Out of the 1545 stops, the race/ethnicity of 23 stops was known prior to the stop. This report was approved by the council.
The next agenda item was the City Manager Report. The City has decided to outsource their EMS to Stamford EMS. This does not mean that there will be no ambulance service in Anson, it means that Stamford EMS will use the facility and ambulances belonging to the city to provide service for Anson. This deal is still in the early stages, but the City Manager stated that the City will pay Stamford EMS $3000 per month to provide EMS services for Anson. No formal action by the Stamford EMS Board has been taken yet. Stamford EMS will have to present the contract to the City Council for approval. The City will save approximately $164,000 per year to keep the ambulance service in Anson. No action was taken.
Next the City Manager discussed adding a clean-clause to trust property tax deeds. The clause would indicate that once the trust properties are sold, the new property owners have six months to clean the property per code enforcement rules or the property will revert back to the City. This item was approved.
The City Manager then discussed setting a date for the next Budget Workshop meeting. The Council decided to schedule this meeting for Monday, January 30, 2017 at 6 PM. They did not indicate the location, so if you would like to attend, please call City Hall @ 325-823-2411.
The next agenda item was to discuss and take action on a complaint letter submitted to the City Manager and the Mayor. This letter was a complaint against the noise level of gallery members during council meetings. Quoting from the letter, “I am not signing this letter as I fear retribution by gallery members and council members”. Councilwoman Linda Powell did not want the letter read during the meeting because it was not signed, but Councilwoman Evelyn Edwards wanted it read because of the ‘overall’ message of the letter. The letter was not read.
Since the letter was made public during the meeting, the American was able to obtain a copy of this letter. The letter talks about side conversations and comments that are happening during the meetings and the unprofessionalism of the council to allow it to go on. The letter described the meetings as a “circus” and that people are turned off to these meetings because of it. The letter also has an accusatory tone of council members making decisions for the entire community based on the opinions of a “few city employees”. Mayor Sara Alfaro told the council and the gallery that she would be enacting a “Call to Order” if noise levels happen during future meetings and if the noise level continues that members of the gallery would be asked to leave.
No further action was taken. The council approved to pay the bills and the meeting was adjourned.