Here's the short version of the Marfa council meeting from 6/10
All members present minus Rudy Garcia
No citizen comments (meeting attendance by citizenry fairly light)
We approved the minutes from the last meeting
Mayor Dan Aunlap showed us an informative and fairly extensive slide show of the massive wildfires that had burned to the northwest and due noth of town. Mayro Dunlap and councilmember Rusty Garlick had assisted in figting the fire. Mayor Dunlap was able to travel by helicopter after the fires and take aftermath pictures of the various fire lines. General discussion was had about mowing a "fire strip" of several yards surrounding the city in certain places.
City Administrator's report- Jim Mustard deatialed progress on the pool It is nearly ready for action once lifeguards are hired and trained. Sul Ross will have a class and the pool should be open by June 24th. This is good news (I toured the pool the next day with mayor and it is in very nice condition right now).
Police chief J.D. Wilbourn has secured the use of "out of service" Border Patrol equipment for free including a good forklift. Progress is being made on a title transfer.
The City has signed a contract with a contractor to pull Water Well Pump #3 for service and inspection.
Resolution 08-09- Resolution to apply for a +/- $200,000 block grant. Exact name= 2009 Texas Community Development Prgram Block Grant. Passed unanimously. This grant money would be for a designated community project where minimum 51% of the benefit from the project would go towards servicing the low to middle income sector of the community (we have plenty here, despite what the New York Times would have you think)
This grant comes through ORCA and the Council of Governments. Last time we used this money towrds the current library rebuilding project. More info will be forthcoming as the process continues as we are required to officially choose a project, have at least one public hearing and will have to allocate matching funds from the city.
Next up City Attorney Teresa Todd fielded questions about Open Meetings and Conflicts of Interests. I asked a question regarding a section of the law that requires one to file paperwork detailing a conflict of interest BEFORE abstaining from a vote on an issue. I was told that is the letter of the law, but in practice the paperwork does not need to be filed in advance in order to abstain. Technically it reads as so, but that's not always possible as items and/or conflicts can come up without sufficient advance notice and it's always best to be safe than sorry on voting when there is a potential conflict.
Resolution 08-10 Solid Waste Grants
We passed a resolution to apply for a solid waste grant that will likely be used towards the pruchase of a cardboard blaer for the recycling center. The one we have has been out of service for over ten years and was donated by our trash collection company Duncan Disposal (who, knowing them, would never gove anything away that was actually functional). A new baler is around $15,000 and will allow us top recycle and sell the mass amounts of cardboard we collect. three phase power to the recycling center will coast nearly $20,000 to run. There are several other things we could do with the three phase capability out there as well (not directly related to solid waste dispoasal.) Same thing as above with this grant. Official project selection, public hearing(s), and potential additional budgetary costs will be addressed as the grant process moves forward.
This grant would come through the Rio Grande Council of Governements (COG).
Next up we unanimously approved the accounts payable and monthly expenditures report supplied by the city administrator. There was some discussion, as usualy, regarding individual line item expenses and a general discussion of payment dates. Bottom line= the city is still in debt, but we are no longer over 30 days behind on any bill minus one or two that have been pre-negotiated to be paid in installments (on time on those payments at this point as well.) The total debt fluctuates on a dlaiy basis, but we're looking in the ballpark of +/- $60,000. this is nearly a $100,000 improvement from around this time last year when I began to attend council meetings.
Next the council conevened into two rare "closed sessions" to come to decisions on action regarding the Inter-Local Agreement with the City of Alpine with ragard to our co-ownership of the non-profit Southwest Municipal Gas Company. There has been some dispute, complete with missing and mysteriously appearing paperwork, as to each city's precise ownership stake in the Gas Company. Our closed session discussed various factors and options and we came back into council chambers and voted to approve a motion for City Attorney Teresa Todd to make an Open Records request for certain paperwork.
The second closed session regarded potential legal action against the local grocery store (Pueblo Market/Welsh's) for repeated sewage back-ups. This issue is complex as therte has been miscommunication between the city and the market owner. Thrown into the vat are some angry neighbors. Council discussed options and came back into council chambers to vote to invite Pueblo Market owner Welsh to address the council and the citizenry at a future meeting of his choice.
Finally, we adjourned.
David Beebe, councilmember, City of Marfa