Council wades through bid issues, adopts $16.5 million budget

A first for Brady’as far as any city employee could recall’the city council approved a resolution rescinding a bid that had been formally accepted for a planned project. The bid was for irrigation system improvements at the Brady Golf Course and the bid was awarded to Mike Roach, Inc. about a month ago, according City Manager Merle Taylor. In an Aug.14 meeting, Roach refused to complete the project at the bid price which put a slight kink in the irrigation project and warranted immediate attention by the council when they met in regular session Wednesday morning. Taylor explained that Roach recently requested a meeting with the city and golf association and formally asked that his bid be rescinded and he forfeit his bidder’s bond of $18,000. “I feel like we did everything we could to negotiate with him, but he was set on the dollar amount he was asking,” said Taylor. Since the company was set on increasing its sealed bid price, Councilman Jesse Tate made the motion that the city move forward and rescind his bid. With the item unanimously approved, the council moved on to the next item on the agenda which was first addressed in executive session. After returning to council chambers, the group authorized Brady Mayor James Stewart to execute a contract with Robertson Construction (the second bidder in the project). “By state statute, we should try to salvage the bids that have already been submitted,” said Taylor. “This will expedite the process if the mayor can be allowed to approve and execute the process on behalf of the city,” Taylor explained. If the terms are not satisfactory by the mayor’s standards, a contract won’t be accepted. In discussing the item with the council, Stewart noted that any and all agreed-upon terms would be brought to the council’s attention for their approval. The two bids submitted by Robertson Construction totaled $399,000 and $385,000. “It is my understanding that they (Robertson Construction) are as low as they can go at this point,” said Bobbie Williams Brady Golf Association (BGA) president. “BGA feels that we can do the concrete work and also build a pump house to engineer specs.” In making their proposal, BGA is offering an additional $15,000 in construction cost efforts to help offset irrigation system expenses in addition to the original $10,000 annual commitment. With the $18,000 from the bidder’s bond and BGA’s new $15,000 commitment, the city is looking at only having to generate roughly $3,500 to satisfy the entire irrigation project. “This figure here (the $385,000) should be the one we go with, if at all possible,” said Williams. “I would definitely entertain a motion we proceed with this,” added Stewart. With that said, Tate made the motion that they move forward with the offer since, according to him, “it was in the best interest of the city.” “I don’t know in the 10 years that I’ve lived in Brady, that we’ve ever had a bid be formally rescinded in the city, so this is definitely a first for all of us,” said Stewart, Another item linked to the irrigation improvement project was approved Wednesday when the council voted to approve the first ordinance reading authorizing the mayor to obtain a commitment for a revised loan for the golf course irrigation improvements with Brady National Bank and Commercial National Bank. “This was put on the agenda not knowing exactly how we were going to finalize the financial obligations for the golf course improvements,” said Taylor. “I guess the council can one more time trust in the mayor’s ability to negotiate on behalf of the city. I would request that the council consider this for an additional loan contract if necessary to expedite the process.” Councilman Rey Garza made the motion that the item be tabled until the city could get actual figures from both BNB and CNB. Taylor explained that initially, it looked as if the city would need another $20,000 for the project, but with BGA’s commitment, the city would only have to come up with approximately $3,500. “This was put on the agenda just in case the BGA was not able to come up with the offer they did,” he said prior to recommending that the council approve the item on its first reading. “Any complications could be addressed when the council meets for a second reading.” As the final action item on the agenda, the council didn’t take any action on creating an escrow account for the golf association with the city to ensure the association meets its commitment per year for 10 years for the irrigation system installation. “This is in an effort to continue the committments of the golf association,” said Taylor. “The city has put their $75,000 up in an interest and sinking fund for the golf course improvements. It was a gesture for the BGA to put up $10,000 in an interest and sinking fund as a commitment to the project.” Local businessman and BGA board member, Devin Donaldson noted that the item was never mentioned or brought to the attention of the association. “I just wanted to know a little more information about it because we have not had a meeting on it. The BGA’s next meeting is not until the first Monday of next month,” he said. “Since the BGA is committing to the pump station and the cement work, I would recommend that this be tabled or no action taken,” Taylor said. The item later died due to lack of action. Up next, the council voted to participate in the Lower Colorado River Authority’s (LCRA) Municipal Electric Utilities Mutual Assistance Program. Also approved Wednesday morning, the council voted to accept the bid of $3,241 from Rick Abbott of San Angelo for the purchase of scrap and salvage metal currently in the city’s possession. Also, a bid submitted by Jerry Jolly of Brady was approved to remove the existing metal meters from two lots in storage at the warehouse. An item tabled during the meeting was the inter local agreement for Emergency Medical Services between the City of Brady, McCulloch County and the Heart of Texas Memorial Hospital District. Stewart noted that he hasn’t been able to meet with the county concerning an agreement. A meeting had been set for later that day. Up approximately $600,000 from last year’s budget, the council approved the 2007-2008 fiscal year budget for the City of Brady on its first reading. The increase, according to Taylor, was necessary due to projected expenses for the Brady Aquatic Complex, staff raises, the golf course irrigation system and improvements to Curtis Field Airport. “It takes quite a bit of work to prepare a budget,” said Tate. “A budget is never perfect. You have to go along and work toward progress. I wanted to cut some, but I am going to support this budget because I want to reach a consensus. I think you ought to work toward what you think is right, but eventually you have to go with the majority. If you don’t, then I think you’re living in the wrong country.” After approving the item, Garza expressed his concern with percentage of raises adopted in the new budget. “We gave them all (emergency response personnel) a 15 percent raise and the rest of them (city employees) were supposed to get three percent,” he said. “My intentions were for the people in the trenches to get the 10 percent but we had some of these salaried employees getting that 10 percent that ended up with the biggest raises. You have got guys out here making $40,000 a year and they got a $4,000 raise. “I think we should give these guys making the big bucks a three percent raise instead of 10, not the guys in the trenches.” “At this point in the process, all we can do is approve what we’ve got and work toward developing a plan for next year’s budget,” said Stewart. Councilwoman Mary Bradshaw moved that the budget be accepted was and was met by unanimous approval. Also approved, the council set a new tax rate of . 238 per $100 of valuation which will raise an additional $30,000 in tax dollars for the City of Brady. With the current fiscal year coming to an end, the council approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the 2006-2007 fiscal year budget. The amendment was required due to a loss in utility revenue’a direct result of the mild, unseasonable wet weather. “We are in the last 30 days of this fiscal year budget, and in order to make this budget balance, due to the mild weather that we have had for the year, our utility revenues are considerably lower than what we had projected in our budget last year,” said City Finance Officer Lisa Remini. With the projected deficit estimated at $288,878, the council agreed to delay some of the pending projects rather than pay for them using cash reserves. Lumping several capital improvement projects together will generate the money but cause a slight delay in those projects. “We have cash reserves that we could use, but we would be scrambling and doing things in haste,” explained Stewart. “It’s not killing any of these projects, it’s simply a numbers game as far as balancing the budget. All of the projects will still happen, but not within the next 30 days. A highlight of Taylor’s city manager’s report came when he informed the group and audience that weather permitting, the South Bridge Street renovation project should be completed by December. During council comments, Stewart reminded everyone that the landfill will be available for free brush and limb disposal throughout the month of September. Mrs. Bradshaw, on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, thanked everyone, especially the City, for helping make the cook-off a success.

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