Despite objections, Council oks repairs to old MEC building

By LARRY SMITH By a 3-2 margin, the Brady City Council approved Tuesday night in regular session the renovation of the old McCulloch Electric Co-op building on South Elm Street to house the Brady Police Department, EMS unit and the municipal judge. Following a lengthy discussion on why the Council should not remodel a 47-year-old building for an estimated $90,000 plus other hidden expenses, Councilman Donald Barley moved that the Council authorize City Manager Gary Broz to seek bids on the project. Voting for the measure were Barley, Jack Browning and Matt Mills. Against the issue were Larry Sharp and Jesse McAnally. Prior to the passage, Sharp pointed out that the architect, appointed by the City to evaluate the building, had concluded that a minimum of $100,000 would be necessary to get the 3,800 square foot structure ready for occupancy. He also added that that figure did not include sidewalks, ADA compliancy and other outside issues. He reportedly stated that another $200,000 to $300,000 may be necessary. City councilmembers (excluding Sharp and McAnally) allegedly dismissed the architect’s professional estimates and appointed Police Chief John Stewart to make his recommendations. After getting estimates from various businesses, he reported that the building could be renovated for $90,000 which includes a phone system, a radio, three bay doors and backup generator totaling $29,500. Rick Melcer, assistant coordinator of the Emergency Management System, said the Brady Volunteer Fire Department is owner of the radio equipment and the license to operate the equipment. “Therefore, this must be coordinated between the County and the fire department,” he explained. Melcer also pointed out, after Stewart said the Concho Valley Council of Government would pay for the cost of moving the 911 system to the new location, that “it’s still our tax dollars since CVCOG is funded by state taxes, and in my opinion, it’s an unnecessary expense.” McAnally also reported to the Council that, according to state law, a professional structural engineer would need to approve the building. “This won’t fly for the State until a professional engineer designs it,” he said. The Council then voted 3-2 to take bids on the structural remodeling. Sharp concluded the voting by saying, “The people (of Brady) are going to pay for the things we are doing here tonight. Just you wait and see.” Sharp challenged the members who voted for this proposal to sign a contract stating that any expenses above the $90,500 estimate would be paid out of their pockets. However, they did not accept his challenge. After the meeting, Sharp said, “This is a monument to stupidity.” On another hot action item, the Council ended up disapproving the issue of upgrading the current Brady Fire Station, requested by the volunteer firefighters. The Council could not agree on whether to construct a shelter behind the fire station due to the lack of further information. Mills’ motion to go ahead with the project failed by a 3-2 margin. Another action item that got the attention of many in the audience at City Chambers was the appointment of three persons to the Brady Economic Development Corporation. Mayor Clarence Friar came to the Council meeting with three recommended appointees to the Brady Economic Development Corporation’Sam McAnally, Clair Whitesell and Grant Evridge. Sharp pointed out that the appointment of the BEDC representatives is a council function, not one of the mayor. He (Sharp) had not been asked for input. He then nominated Mike Rogers, stating he believed that Rogers as highly qualified for the position. Friar then said he had three nominations, ignored Sharp’s nomination, called for a vote and the Council selected Friar’s candidates by a 3-2 vote with Sharp and McAnally voting against the nominees. Four ordinances for authorization of water service outside the city limits of Brady were placed before the council. They were from Billy Turner at 1401 W. 11th Street, Johnny Jones at 1405 W. 17th Street, Franz Weiz at 2245 FM Road 2309 and James and Colleen Friar at 2300 Nine Road. Prior to a motion being asked, McAnally reported that all four petitions did not meet Charter requirements. “They all need an engineering study and documentation,” he said. After a long discussion, the measure was tabled for further study. The Council approved the appointment of members to the Charter Review Commission by a 4-1 vote with Sharp dissenting, saying, “I’m not voting against the candidates, but the process you used to get us here.” Steve Black will act as chairman until the commission meets and appoints a chairperson. The following were chosen to serve on the CRC: Faye King, Joyce Scott, James Long, Don Dodd, Lupe Rubio, Vernon Jones and Black. The Council approved, on second reading, an ordinance levying taxes for the use and support of the City. The chief appraiser of the McCulloch County Appraisal District has certified the 2000 appraisal roll for property taxation for the City and has calculated the effective tax rate for the City for the year 2000 at $0.28478 on each $100 of property valuation. In other action, the Council: ‘Amended the 1999-2000 budget. ‘Approved a request from Project Graduation for use of one of the airport hangars. ‘Selected the Texas Municipal League as the health carrier for the City at a cost of $217 per person ($200-$400 deductable with $20 co-pay). Blue Cross-Blue Shield’s proposal was $312.00 with almost the same deductable. ‘Awarded the bid of $4,882 for the construction of eight golf cart sheds at the golf course, plus the repair of the existing sheds to Ronnie McBee. ‘Named the Brady Standard-Herald as the official newspaper for the fiscal year 2000-2001. ‘Approved Mike Schaffner to perform the City’s 1999-2000 audit. In his city manager’s report, Broz said the City’s water wells were holding up well but said the City was using a high amount of electricity due to the excessively hot weather. He also reported that the TxDOT paving project on East 11th Street has begun and is scheduled to be completed in 90 days. In addition, the TxDOT construction on US Highway 190 West is supposed to commence on Oct. 1 and should take 145 days. The City is still lacking a fire truck, one of which is in Comanche being upgraded.

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