Council sets election date

With the resolution approved in Wednesday’s city council meeting calling a special election to be held Saturday, Sept. 13, the decision will now go to the voters whether the cigarette (no smoking) issue gets “put out” in Brady. Along with ordering the special election, the city council also appointed election officials, set their rate of pay and designated an early ballot board. Also to be included in the special September election will be the sale of the city’s gas distribution system. Prior to approval of the resolution which calls for the election, the council gave members of the audience an opportunity to voice any concerns related to items present on the agenda. Local business owner Chuck Dalchau questioned whether “all” public places would be included in the proposed smoking ordinance. In making reference to the item in Wednesday’s agenda, he stated that the manner of which it was written, “prohibiting smoking in certain public places” was misleading and needed clarification. Kathy Gloria, owner of El Flamingo Restaurant, addressed the council and stated that as a non-smoker, she is neither for nor against the ordinance. “I not only need the smokers, but I also need non-smokers to operate my business and pay my bills,” she said after noting that the ordinance should not support any exceptions. Brady Mayor Clarence Friar confirmed that the matter at hand on the agenda was to order an election’not to approve the ordinance; however, “There are no exclusions anywhere,” he said. “We’re only voting on setting the election to pass the ordinance,” said Councilwoman Barbi Jones. Even though the ordinance itself was not on the agenda in Wednesday’s meeting (only the ordering of a special election), the council clarified that all public facilities, including the Ed Davenport Civic Center will be governed under the ordinance. They stated that the “certain public places” listed in the resolution calling for the special election was to show that it will be allowed at public places such as parks, lake, and other outside public areas. City Secretary Christi McAnally stated that the ordinance (if approved) will prohibit smoking within 25 feet of each public place. As the next item up for discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve a request from Lakeland Water Supply for a water service connection from the Dodge Heights area. “We do need to tie them (Lakeland Water Supply) on,” said Friar. “It’s business for us, and they need to be tied on now’it’s the time to do it.” According to the council, pipeline construction for the new water treatment facility is expected to begin in the next 60 days. The Lakeland Addition is located across from Dodge Heights and is outside the city limits. Because of this, the council clarified that Lakeland Water Supply will be responsible for running their own water lines and tying into the area at Dodge Heights. No cost will be incurred by the City of Brady to install lines and pipe water to that area. In approving the action item, the council authorized City Manager Merle Taylor to negotiate an agreement with Lakeland Water Supply to have that area tied into the city’s water lines at Dodge Heights, subject to the city’s regulations for water service outside the city limits. The council next approved the fiscal year 2003-2004 budget for the Brady Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). Mike Trollinger attended the meeting as a representative of the BEDC and stated that in accordance with the corporation’s by-laws, the budget is required to be approved by the City of Brady. The budget was previously approved in the July meeting of the BEDC. Following the budget’s approval by council members, Trollinger noted that the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) has expressed an interest in nominating the City of Brady (on behalf of BEDC) as a candidate for consideration in the upcoming economic awards ceremony scheduled Sept. 25 in Houston. “LCRA has requested our authorization to nominate us,” Trollinger said. “Just being nominated is certainly a nice thing to have done.” “You guys are doing a fabulous job, ” said Friar who along with other members of the council commended the work performed annually by BEDC. In a related action item, the council approved Michael Schaffner, CPA to complete the 2002-2003 fiscal year audit for the BEDC. According to Trollinger, Schaff-ner’s firm has completed its audits for the past couple of years, and no by-laws prohibit it from continuing with the service. In regards to homeland security, the city council approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to sign a state homeland security grant sub-recipient agreement. “These are just homeland security formalities that are going on,” explained Taylor. “There are more things to come but this is the first step. Their (the state’s) primary directive is availability to communicate between counties.” State funds issued to the City of Brady are to be used to enhance local and statewide communication abilities. According to Taylor, the Texas Forest Service, Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) will be able to come in at any time and utilize the communication facilities if needed. Ordinances approved were: ‘ The second and final reading of an ordinance adopting the fiscal year 2003-2004 budget. ‘ The second and final reading of an ordinance establishing policies and procedures regarding provisions of wastewater utility service outside the city limits. Unlike all the previous items approved on the agenda, this one didn’t carry a unanimous vote. Councilman Rey Garza, who expressed concern about requiring a six-inch line for water service connection, voted against approval on the second reading. “I think the six-inch line is excessive,” he said. “A four-inch line is sufficient’even more than enough. It would be an added expense to the propertyowners who are requesting water services outside the city limits.” As the final ordinance item approved, the council updated an earlier ordinance’Ordinance No. 356 which was first approved in the 1960s’pertaining to garbage, weeds, junk and unsanitary conditions. “I think this is a much better ordinance than what we currently have,” said Councilman Donald Barley, who went on to add that in order to be sufficient, the city’s Code Enforcement Officer Pete McKinney would have to push for compliance with the ordinance. Commenting that the ordinance needed to be enforced continuously, and at all times, Councilman Richard Webb agreed with Barley stating, “It needs to have some backbone. I have no problem with the ordinance, but it needs to be enforced.” Some of the specifics of the ordinance include growth restrictions on weeds and vegetation, junk and unsightly matter and unsanitary conditions on a property. Furthermore, the ordinance reads that the code enforcement officer or his designee may inspect or cause to be inspected any property that is or may be in an unsanitary condition. In the event that a person owning or having supervision or control of any lot, tract or parcel of land shall fail to comply with the requirements or remediation of the ordinance, notice of such violation shall be given. Any further neglect on the property-owner’s behalf could result in abatement, a lien on the property and penalties. In the city manager’s report, Taylor noted that two big projects are moving forward for the City of Brady (airport expansion and the water treatment plant) and the city will in the near future award bids. “We’re finally taking another really big step,” he said. The city finance officer reported that the bank balance at Brady National Bank is $1,373,815 and total CDs at both BNB and Commercial National Bank total $672,915. “We’re in line with our budget numbers going into our last quarter of our fiscal year,” Lisa Remini said.

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