Golf course project now higher on City’s list

The Brady Golf Course expansion project moved one step closer to par Wednesday morning when the city council met in regular session and agreed to move the golf course higher up on the “to do” list in the city’s master plan. Minor improvements, overseen by the Heart of Texas Golf Association (HOTGA), as well as the purchase of land for the proposed nine holes has already been carried out and funded through monetary donations and in-kind services. Heart of Texas Golf Association president Joy Millsap addressed the council and noted that a beautification project to enhance the front entrance of the golf course is planned for the near future, and that the Association’s request to move the golf course higher up on the plan will aid in their application for matching grant money. “This golf course, once completed, will be unlike anything in a 70-mile radius,” said another HOTGA member Danny Neal. “The community support has been wonderful, and we can account for half of the grant money ($500,000 grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife, 50/50 split).” The golf course is expected to be the type of facility capable of drawing out-of-town visitors from Brownwood, San Angelo and neighboring cities. Association members expect some of the older 18-hole courses in adjacent communities to fail in comparison when weighed against the new Brady facility. The golf course will be centered around rolling hills, large trees and other natural features that will transform the course into a challenge where visitors will find themselves coming back for more. The city’s completed master plan (which ranks future improvements on a scale of most to least important) for the City of Brady was first presented to the council in 2001. Councilman Donald Barley made the motion that the council approve the change to the ranking on the needs assessment for the master plan to help the association in applying for a grant with Texas Parks and Wildlife. Having a higher ranking on the city’s master plan will earn the association a greater point rating and boost their chances of obtaining grant money. The action item received a full round of approval from all members of the council present in Wednesday’s meeting. In other business and banking on the probability that Curtis Field Airport has the potential to bring an increase of revenue to the city, the council voted unanimously to purchase an additional fuel truck for the purpose of accommodating larger aircraft. The city council anticipates that most all of the city’s expenses will be recouped through increased activity and the sale of fuel at the airport. The council agreed to enter into a contract with AvFuel Corporation of Abilene at a cost of $783 per month over the next 48 months. “I think this will be a continuing process in the upgrading of the airport,” said City Manager Merle Taylor. “The city anticipates a profit on fuel (with the new truck in place).” Once the new fuel truck is purchased and in use at Curtis Field, it is expected that 250 more jet-operated, turbo-prop aircraft will utilize the airport on an annual basis as a place to purchase fuel. The fuel truck currently used at the airport will remain at Curtis Field and will be used for fueling smaller airplanes. The new truck will accommodate the larger aircraft (including military helicopters) that have for many years been denied service because of the lack of equipment required for proper fueling. The truck will be equipped with special safety features including a pressure-regulated fuel connection that will cease pumping in the event that the point of contact is compromised. Mayor Clarence Friar commented that state grant money (90/10 funding) “helped to bring the airport up to a potential money-maker for the City of Brady.” In the only item not approved during Wednesday’s city council meeting, the group voted to table the action item awarding a bid for used bulldozer. Taylor informed the Brady Standard-Herald prior to Wednesday’s meeting that the council would be considering the new equipment under the same contractual obligations as the one the city currently has with Warren Equipment, a Caterpillar dealer from San Angelo’5 years or 5,000 operating hours. The item was tabled because the lease was only approved for the next two years. Even though the city council felt that the opportunity to save an estimated $1,500 per quarter could be a bonus, the chance of assuming a lease for only two years could end up costing more money in the long run. Councilman Matt Mills made the suggestion that the council wait on approving the item and find a bid that carries a five-year warranty period similar to the one they currently have. As one of the quickest approvals on the city council’s agenda, Rev. Brian Wiggins was appointed to serve on the Brady Creek Advisory Board. According to members of the council, Wiggins has expressed a desire to serve and has accepted the council’s invitation. Two service contracts were extended during Wednesday’s meeting: the first was a payment of $1,200 annually to the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) for distribution engineering services; and the second was a monthly payment of $691 to LCRA for electric system inspection services. According to Taylor, both services are currently under contracts nearing expiration and are of great need to the City of Brady. The first service, for engineering service, was referred by Taylor as a “minimal type of engineering service.” Contracting the service allows some cushioning for engineering backup which can remain in place for cross-reference if need be. The service for electric system inspections is more costly but according to Taylor, “more detailed than the engineer service contract.” “There are things that the city can’t do (regarding electric system inspections),” he said, “and LCRA can come in and perform monthly testing and make suggestions to save the city money.” Agreeing with the necessity, mayor Friar commented, “It saves us more money on our electric bill than what it costs us in services.” In another item, the council gave the Phillip Morris family 30 days to vacate the city-owned property at the lake before legal action is taken and criminal trespassing charges filed. The Morrises are currently living in a recreational vehicle on the property after a recent structure fire destroyed their trailer home located on the property leased by the city to the Texas Muzzle Loader’s Association (TMLA). According to Taylor, the Morrises had been living in the double wide for a number of years without any type of lease with the City of Brady or TMLA. In a letter to the city manager, the Texas Muzzle Loader’s Association contested the Morrises actions to reposition a mobile home on the property and sought assistance from the council Wednesday morning. Mrs. Morris spoke on behalf of she and her husband and said that the home (and to her understanding the land) was purchased from former lake marina manager Harvey Rose who operated the facilities at the lake during the mid 1990s. Originally, the trailer was positioned on the property to allow a city police officer to oversee the gun range. At some point, the home was sold; however, the city-owned land was not included in that sale. The council stated that if there had ever been a lease, it wasn’t valid and that there was no way that the they could consider leasing property already linked to a contract with the Texas Muzzle Loader’s Association. “These people are victims of the previous marina managers who did not nave the authority to issue a lease on the property,” said newly elected councilman Richard Webb. It was however the recommendation of the city’s attorney that the council give the Morris’ 30 days to exit the property to avoid any charges. In citizen’s comments, Joe Sanchez took the opportunity to voice his concerns to the city council with the manner in which the May 6 election was conducted. Sanchez questioned why the charter amendments present on the ballot were only published once in the city’s official newspaper, the N Business Journal, when the charter requires two publications. The council responded by confirming that’in reference to the publication of charter amendments’ city secretary Christi McAnally followed the Texas election code during the May 6 election. Sanchez also questioned why the original document from the Charter Review Commission wasn’t published. According to Barley, the original document’considered is a rough draft’was not required to be published. The draft was made available for council and commission review in order that recommendations and changes could be made prior to the final copy being accepted by both parties. He further stated that with the exception of the amendment concerning the Planning and Zoning Commission, only minor changes’more in particular the manner in which the items were worded’were suggested and approved. “Nothing else changed,” he said. Mayor Friar reiterated that there are only two ways allowing for changes to the charter: the governing body can make a recommendation; and the citizens can present a petition with five percent of the registered voters signature in agreement. Friar mentioned that in his opinion, some individuals are reading the issue all wrong and “trying to combine the two.” After explanations were given, Sanchez agreed to stop the investigation concerning the May 6 election. Sanchez previously filed a complaint with the county attorney suggesting that the election was conducted illegally or not in accordance with the city charter. In an unrelated comment to the council, Shelia Hemphill introduced herself to members of the council and expressed an interest in reactivating the Beautification Committee for the City of Brady. She conveyed to the council that she is enthusiastic about the project and “would love to see what she could help coordinate.” Because the Beautification Committee has never been deemed inactive, the council suggested that she meet with committee member Doris Jones to try and form a more active unit. In the city manager’s report, Taylor reminded the council of his upcoming visit to Oklahoma where he and other city employees will be reviewing a water plant similar to the one planned for Brady. Also, he noted that the Texas Department of Transportation has scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, May 28 at 3 p.m. in the Brady National Bank Community Room to discuss proposed modifications to South Bridge Street. In a separate discussion, the council designated Thursday, May 29 as the preliminary review date for the 2003-2004 city budget. The charter requires that the budget be presented to the council before June 1.

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