By Will McClure
The Stamford City Council held its regular meeting last Monday evening, May 21st, to discuss a few upcoming items for the city, but more importantly to officially swear in a new mayor and city council member. Outgoing Mayor Johnny Anders called the meeting to order at 5:15 pm with all members present and a full meeting room, when he would ask Councilmember Jimmy Doan to lead the invocation. After Councilmember Dennis Braden led the room in the Pledge of Allegiance, Anders began the meeting by stating that it had been an honor and a privilege to serve the city of Stamford for the last 20 years, 13 of which as the Mayor.
“I would like to tell this council that I appreciate your support,” Anders said. “The only thing I have is to ask you all to stay with Cedar Ridge, stay with some of the projects we have going; that’s the future of Stamford.” After expressing his gratitude, Anders turned the meeting over to City Secretary Kim Bryant to give the Oath of Office and Statement of Elected Officers to new Mayor James Decker, new Councilmember Paul Wright for Place 5, and returning Councilmember Dennis Braden for Place 4. After giving their oaths and statements, Bryant asked the new Mayor and Councilmembers to take their positions. City Manager Alan Plumlee took a moment to present Anders with a token of appreciation for his service to Stamford for the last 20 years, noting that his term as Mayor lasting from 2005 to 2018 was the longest sitting mayor since the incorporation of Stamford in this time period, with the previous longest being six years. With the presentation, Anders was then given a standing ovation by the citizens in attendance, as well as the members of the city council, as a final “thank you” for his service.
New Mayor James Decker then continued the meeting by opening the floor for citizens’ comments. With there being none, the meeting moved forward with time for Decker to make his first official comments as Mayor of Stamford. Decker began by stating that it was an honor to officially have the role of the 37th Mayor of Stamford and that Stamford was very important to him.
“I chose to start my business here, to come back here, to bring my wife back here, and to raise a family here and I did that for a reason,” Decker said. “It’s because of my love for the community and the people that were in it, and I think back to when my family moved to Stamford in 1986 and my dad had an opportunity to be transferred here and questioned his dad and said whether Stamford was the right place and if it was the move he should make or not. His dad told him 32 years ago that the best thing about Stamford is the people…You’ll move there for the people and you’ll love it because of the people. 32 years later, that’s exactly right.” Decker went on to say that it was important to him to serve his community and also once again thanked Anders for his service and everything that he has done for the community. Decker ended his comments by stating that the best days of Stamford are still to come and that we are all here to make the community better to creating a lasting legacy. With his comments finished, the meeting would move forward with the remaining items on the regular agenda.
The next item was to look over the minutes of the May 7th regular meeting as well as the May 14th special called session. With no needed additions or corrects, the council moved to approve the minutes as presented, with Councilmember Braden being the only member to abstain from the vote. The next item was the passing of Resolution 2018-05, which allowed the council to give authority to the City Manager to make decisions for the VIP Center in town. After assuring the council that the VIP Center was heading in the right direction, the council moved to unanimously approve the resolution as presented. Cheyenne Bereuter then stepped forward to seek the council’s permission to use city streets for the annual Texas Cowboy Reunion Parade. Bereuter stated that the parade would take place on Wednesday, July 4th at 4:00 and would follow the same route as in previous years. With this said, the council moved to approve the request. The final item of the agenda, would actually be resolved later in the evening, was to appoint a Mayor Pro Tem. Decker stated that he felt that Councilmember Melinda Smith had been doing an excellent job serving in the role that, unless there were any objections, to appoint Smith as Mayor Pro Tem once again. The council moved to approve this appointment and moved forward with the consent agenda, which saw the council approve a lake lot lease transfer as well as a subsequent new lake lot lease.
The meeting was then turned over to City Manager Alan Plumlee for his City Manager’s Report, which he began by stating that the city will set the opening of the pool for June 2nd and will be filling the poolto make sure everything is fine before that date. The next item was that Plumlee, along with Lindy Patton and Gary Walker, made a presentation to the Commissioner’s Court in Anson asking for funding and assistance for the cloud seeding program. Plumlee stated that the Court told them that they would look into the matter, but no action was taken. Regardless, the seeding program did begin earlier in the week to begin the cloud seeding process. Next, Plumlee stated that he along with Decker attended the Cedar Ridge Reservoir meeting where they had the opportunity to speak about the reservoir where the idea was receptive about the reservoir becoming regional instead of localized for Abilene. Plumlee stated that public comments concerning the reservoir would be open until June 16th.
Plumlee continued his report by informing the council that he had met with the Cowboy Country Museum board about extending Museum Coordinator Jewellee Kuenstler’s hours from half-time to a full-time contract which will include health insurance while items such as sick leave and vacation were tabled until a later date by Kuenstler herself. In addition to the new contract, Kuenstler’s title would change from Museum Coordinator to Museum Curator. Next, Plumlee stated that he received news from the VIP Center that the center will be holding a kickoff party on June 1st from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm and will serve hamburger and hot dogs and well as provide entertainment. The final item of the report was positive as Stamford’s water was entered into the Abilene Water School Contest and received an award for the best-tasting water in the area for any town under 10,000 people, which was received by Casey Chambers from the Stamford Water Treatment Plant. After fielding a few more items from the council, Plumlee concluded his report and, with there being no other items to discuss, the council adjourned for the evening at 5:41 pm with those in attendance invited to stay for refreshments.