Streets, golf head Council topics

In two separate action items, the City Council took what might be considered to be the most positive steps in improving the overall look and marketability of the City of Brady. The formal process of resurfacing the streets in Brady began its official journey Wednesday morning when the Council voted to accept the engineering services of HVJ Associates Inc., of Austin. In a presentation to the Council on Tuesday, Brady native Frank Carmichael, a professional engineer with HVJ Associates, discussed the details and information that would be provided if they (the Council) chose to accept their services. In a written proposal, the firm outlines and details by cost and project exactly what will be performed to give the city an accurate and professional engineering study. Once completed, this study will be used to get bids from construction companies to resurface over 50 miles of paved streets within the Brady city limits. The Council presented a brief synopsis of the Tuesday meeting to the audience and voted unanimously to accept the services at a cost not to exceed $42,610. As a comparison, a previous engineering study bid submitted by Jacobs and Martin Engineering was at a cost of over $400,000. “I know that it has been said before,” said Councilman Billy Patterson, “but we are going to fix the streets in Brady.” A question about the unpaved streets in Brady was asked by a member of the audience, and Mayor Clarence Friar stated that there was not a definite plan to pave each dirt road, but that it is the goal of the Council to resurface each road on which citizens reside. The topic of new streets was quickly overshadowed by a presentation by the Heart of Texas Golf Association that brought to public light a plan that could revamp the Brady municipal golf course at virtually no cost to the city. With the support of numerous members of the golf association, a presentation by board secretary Ray Hawkins informed the Council and citizens of an extensive plan, already in the works, that would turn the Brady course into a 18-hole facility. According to Hawkins, numerous members of the golf association have been working tirelessly over the past several months researching and planning the potential project. During his presentation, Hawkins told the Council of four main criteria that businesses and individuals look for when considering a place for relocation or retirement. The four criteria are hospital, schools, airport and golf courses. “Of those main criteria which people ask about, we score well in all but one’the golf course,” stated Hawkins. “There is proof from the Chamber of Commerce that when people are considering where they want to move, these are the four most popular criteria.” In his presentation, Hawkins explained the potential economic benefit that could be realized simply by expanding the current nine-hole course to an 18-hole course complete with sprinkler systems and cart paths. “For this to happen, it requires several things,” said Hawkins. “The first and most important is acquiring land. The association has already made most of these arrangements. The group has even contracted a golf course architect company and has had preliminary plans drawn up to show how this is possible. “What we are asking of the City is (1) accept the land that the association will donate; (2) apply for a grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife for the construction of the course; (3) provide in kind services where needed and (4) commit to the long term care and maintenance of the course including a commitment to bring a water source to the course.” Hawkins informed the council and audience of several grants that are immediately available that could pay for virtually the entire project, including the irrigation of the course. “We (the association) still support the idea of using affluent water to irrigate the course,” said Hawkins. “There are grants available that could possibly fund a majority of that project.” Of the grants being sought for the design and construction of the course, the in kind money or services can be met through the donation of the land by the association. “This project could be done at virtually no cash outlay by the City,” said Hawkins. In support of the reasoning behind the expansion, the $200,000 annual revenue the course currently generates is expected to increase to as much as $800,000 annually. “The golf course is the only entity owned by the City that is self sufficient,” stated Hawkins. “The projected annual revenue would be more than enough to pay for the additional personnel that would be needed.” With a brief discussion of time frame and grant requirements, the Council voted unanimously to accept the association’s proposal. In other business conducted by the Council, two ordinances were passed on second and third readings. The first ordinance regarding rules for on-site sewage facilities was opposed by Councilman Jesse McAnally on the basis that the rules were not parallel to what the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission requires. The second ordinance rezoned 106 E. 16th Street to a commercial zone for the purpose of a beauty salon. In two related action items the Council restructured and replaced the personnel requirements for electrical and plumbing inspections. Councilman McAnally voted against each of the items citing the lack of official training by the two individuals, Brad Childs and Pete McKinney. In the third item, McKinney was appointed to the planning and zoning commission and board of adjustment. McAnally also voted against this item stating that it was in violation of the city charter.

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