CITY OF HALLSVILLE, TEXAS
CITY COUNCIL MEETING
June 17, 2014 MINUTES
The City of Hallsville Council meeting convened in regular session at 6 P.M. on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at City Hall located 115 Main Street.
The following members were present:
Mayor Jerri Medrano Alderman Tim Hatten
Alderman Eric Anderson Alderman Jake Walker Alderman Gary Nash
CITY OF HALLSVILLE STAFF PRESENT:
City Attorney Josh Searcy City Secretary Judy Adkisson Auditor Faron Cain Kim Smith Police Chief Paul Montoya Lisa Adams Water Superintendent Rickey Dugger Summer Intern Tylor Sterns
I. CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Jerri Medrano.
The Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mayor Jerri Medrano
II. Consent Agenda
Mayor Jerri Medrano asked to approve the Minutes of the May, 2014 Meeting.
Motion was made by Alderman Jake Walker and seconded by Tim Hatten
Motion carried. 5 Ayes; 0 Nays; and 0 Abstentions
Mayor Jerri Medrano referred to the next item, Monthly Financial Reports for May.
Alderman Gary Nash asked, “What is the $11,000 for?”
City Auditor Faron Cain responded digital radios for vehicles.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated by law you have to go digital.
Alderman Gary Nash asked, “Why does this fall under vehicle maintenance?”
Chief Montoya stated the radios are attached to the vehicles and falls under maintenance. We couldn’t pay for the first year. With the assets we have for next year’s budget we could sell to other departments to help subsidize the price of the new radios.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Can’t we get a grant for those?”
Chief Montoya responded no because grants are specific in what they are used for.
Motion was made by Alderman Jake Walker and seconded by Gary Nash
Motion carried. 5 Ayes; 0 Nay; and 0 Abstentions
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated our next item is our Permit Report, 2014, no comments made.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated our next item the Hallsville Committee for Economic Growth has submitted an application to our office in compliance with Section 501.023 of the Texas Election Code, in order to circulate petitions to the qualified voters of City of Hallsville, Harrison County Texas, so that a local option election can be called on the following issue: For/Against “The legal sale of beer and wine for off premise consumption only”. Mayor Jerri Medrano introduced the city attorney Josh Searcy and asked him to explain the request further.
Josh Searcy explained the potential local option election petition to legalize the sale of alcohol in the City of Hallsville was filed and presented to Judy Adkisson, City Secretary last Friday. Josh Searcy stated Texas Petition Strategies must make an application for a petition to the City Secretary. The application must be signed by 10 or more voters registered to vote in Hallsville. We do not have to supply them with an application. The application must also be accompanied by proof of publication of a notice in a newspaper of general circulation containing information about the option election they are seeking to hold. Once the application is received, the City Secretary verifies that it meets the requirements and that the signatures are registered voters and lives in the city limits. After the first petition is filed and the 10 signatures are approved then Texas Petition Strategies will began the process of requiring 35% of the registered voters in the city of Hallsville who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election. Assuming they obtained the necessary number of signatures, the signed petitions are filed with the City Secretary. The City Secretary is then responsible for verifying that the signatures meet the requirements imposed by law. Texas Petition Strategies submitted over 500 signatures and 308 signatures are needed to proceed to order the election. The City of Hallsville will pay for the November election. The first City Council meeting occurring 30 days after the petition is filed with the City Secretary, the Council should order an election if the petition meets the requirements and has gathered the requisite number of signatures. The minutes from that meeting need to reflect that the petition was presented to the Council of the City Secretary. The notice requirements for the option election are also the same as requirements for other elections.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Who was it that submitted the application?”
Josh Searcy responded the official name was the Hallsville Committee for Economic Growth. They hired a company to issue the petitions and they are called Texas Petition Strategies and their representative is John Hatch.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Who makes up the Hallsville Committee for Economic Growth?” “Who are they?”
Josh Searcy responded I don’t know if there are specific identities, I’m sure the 10 people who signed the application were issuance of the petition. He further stated they just have to be registered voters.
Alderman Gary Nash asked, “Where were those 10 names verified at, as far as legal voting?”
Josh Searcy responded what we did; the city has traditionally counted on the county election office for voting records, so we asked for that list of registered voters. Every time we have an election we ask for that list and we received the list, Judy then verified each of the 10 signatures.
Alderman Gary Nash responded the original 10.
Josh Searcy responded yes.
City Secretary Judy Adkisson asked Josh Searcy to explain about the tax dollars.
Josh Searcy responded I’m sure Mr. Evans, from the newspaper probably talked to Mr. Hatch and he says this is good for the city because it will increase sales tax revenue, that’s the big influence.
Josh Searcy stated I don’t know if that’s true. As an attorney I’m not qualified to run that kind of sales tax revenue projection, but that’s what he says.
Alderman Tim Hatten stated I’m sure it would generate some income for the city. The fear that I have is, what’s next, first the sale of beer and wine at a grocery store, the next thing, will there be bars.
Josh Searcy responded with the sale of beer and wine at Brookshires, by law this particular election is held once a year. If the election passes or fails, they would have the election the next year.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Would they go through the same process to get another license?”
Josh Searcy responded yes.
Mayor Jerri Medrano asked, “So if this election doesn’t pass they would come back in May?”
Josh Searcy responded if the election in November failed, no, they could “Not” come in for the May election, they would have to wait a whole year.
Alderman Gary Nash asked, “Is it limited to just Brookshires or can the convenient stores be able to sell?”
Josh Searcy responded anybody.
Alderman James Mizell responded anybody would be able to sell.
Alderman Gary Nash responded you said Brookshires.
Mayor Jerri Medrano responded well there the ones that started.
Alderman Eric Anderson asked, “Are there some distance regulations that come into play as far as schools or churches?”
Josh Searcy responded I’m sure there are.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated I thought daycares were included, I thought schools were included.
Chief Montoya stated that doesn’t mean they couldn’t do it they would have to go through extra steps. In Hallsville there are schools and daycares everywhere.
Alderman Tim Hatten stated so if it does pass Brookshires wouldn’t be able to sell it.
Chief Montoya stated it’s like anything else there are different things they can do to have more protections to allow them to do so to not have negligent drink sales. I know this has happen before with more steps taken.
Josh Searcy stated it’s a very strict area of the law, alcohol sales and licensing.
Mayor Jerri Medrano asked, “How about hard liquor?”
Alderman Jake Walker stated that’s a different license and it’s got to come before us. We have the citizens make the vote. Just like tonight they have to make the requirements then we vote to have the election and the citizens vote in November.
Josh Searcy stated I suggest this be put on the agenda namely because Hallsville is a small place and I think you as a council need to be aware what’s going on, that the application has been made and the petition issued. I didn’t want it to be sprung on you next month when you are called to vote on this issue.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated by law we have to except it.
Alderman James Mizell stated the newspaper has already broke the news and I have already been asked about it.
City Secretary Judy Adkisson stated yes by law the announcement had to be in the newspaper.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated yes they had an ad in the newspaper that they had to place before we even knew about it.
Alderman James Mizell stated yes they came to my door for signatures.
Alderman Eric Anderson asked, “Is it appropriate with something like this, it goes to the voters, the voters pass it, is it appropriate for the City Council to earmark those tax dollars associated with that?”
Josh Searcy responded like for a specific fund.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated here’s what I’m thinking, what better use of it for a park and recreation budget.
Note: According to the digital voice recorder the next 4 minutes and 95 seconds was lots of talking over each other in reference to where the taxes dollars could be spent. After much discussion the Mayor asked if there were any more questions for Josh.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated so at the next meeting it’s more a formality when we basically say all the aspects have been met and as a council we accept all the signatures as such.
Josh Searcy responded then Judy will present the petition to you, she has verified the signatures and here’s how many and they have met the requirements and so you will order the election for November.
City Secretary Judy Adkisson stated she had already started verifying the signatures.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated the next item for discussion and consider amendment to budget for Christmas lights and electricity to poles.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated I read through the legal opinion, (Note: Eric is referring to the 6 page letter to Mayor Jerri Medrano provided for Council) legal advice I should say, I will start by saying the option one that is presented here; I was unaware that we anticipated that option and to say regardless of what the law says I’m totally opposed to it. As far as pulling from the Certificate of Obligation, “I don’t know where this came from.” I don’t think anyone proposed budget amendments today.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated you talked about amendments and I think that is the wrong verbiage.
City Secretary Judy Adkisson responded that was what was stated in the minutes.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated we have to be very careful when we amend the budget.
Alderman Tim Hatten stated I don’t want to amend the budget; I don’t want to pay for lights right now. I know we do not have the money to do that. What I want to do is get the poles ready. To get the poles ready it’s not going to cost us as much as you think. I know you have all these figures here but I don’t think it is going to cost that much to get these poles up to standard.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated I have one bid ready and waiting for another one.
Tim Hatten asked, “Isn’t it $4,000?” And that’s the price I said it would come in at.
The prices I got from Lowe’s to upgrade the outlets shouldn’t cost more than $100 per pole.
Tim Hatten stated it’s the installation that’s going to cost some money.
Alderman Gary Nash stated when he was on the committee we discussed this and we contacted AEP guy and was told SWEPCO owns those poles. They don’t allow just anybody to climb up there. They will take these boxes from us and they will put them up for no charge.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated they will not do that anymore.
Alderman Tim Hatten stated that’s the thing, when I talked to them they would help us install them.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated well I talked to them, the electrician talked to them and Tylor did some research on it for me. He contacted the woman at Marshall and Marshall said we have to get a licensed and bonded electrician.
Alderman Tim Hatten stated even if they don’t do it get somebody to do it for us; $4,000 to $5,000 is what it’s going to cost to get those poles done.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated that’s step one
Alderman Tim Hatten stated to get the poles up to standard; and that to me is where we need to start. Looking at some of the lights we’ve got now I would be afraid to plug anything into them.
The question was asked, “Faron do you remember what the budget is, what’s in the fund for the decorations?”
Alderman Tim Hatten stated there’s $4,000 in the beautification fund.
Alderman Eric Anderson asked, “This beautification fund, is that the donations that were made?”
Alderman Gary Nash stated that’s the committee I was in.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated no the city gave a certain amount of money.
City Secretary Judy Adkisson stated there is $7,000 in that fund; Faron isn’t that what we came up with this morning?
Faron Cain stated that’s with the city money in there too.
Alderman Tim Hatten stated so there’s your money to get your poles up right there.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated $1000 of it they wanted to redo those signs and we couldn’t afford it because we couldn’t get new ones because of state requirements. A guy from Eagle Scout is going to take the Chamber of Commerce off there and redo it with wood and stuff and put the same thing back with what we’ve got. So all we have to pay for is the material. If we make the changes in the same spot we do not have to have a permit. There was also much discussion of the Lion’s Club sign.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated Tim, I think you’re on the right track with this as far as step one.
Alderman Gary Nash stated yesterday he went by the Fire Department and they normally put our Christmas lights up and they said they would be more than happy to do it. They put that order of a man lift on a work schedule and more than happy to keep that standard going.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated the last time they did it they broke every bulb on there.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated well we will just charge them for it.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Do we want a motion to fix them?”
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated no this is a discussion item.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Do we want this on the next agenda?”
Alderman Eric Anderson stated let’s do that. Let’s make some progress on this. I think we all remember the outcry for not having them up.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated there is just a lot to do and when I ask them (SWEPCO) to put this in writing they wouldn’t because each town is different.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated he wanted to back up about the legal advice we got here. Josh can you give us a little run down with this letter in light of recent events within the City in connection with potential local option election, about the strict requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act. I’m not sure what the local option election is and what triggered item number three to be addressed here. And to when you get to the end of it we do know about the open meetings act obviously but it certainly would not hurt me to be reminded of exactly what I can and can’t do. With significant penalties and criminal incarceration is there something as a Council you felt we have been doing?
Josh Searcy responded no I’ve done this for a while and I am a cautious lawyer. I extend that for my clients and I don’t want ya’ll to be surprised and have things happen to you. I knew that the alcohol election was going to be a big deal here in town and with all the discussion; this was just a precautionary reminder.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “If we are sent an email from the City and we respond, by responding it’s going to everyone, should they send to individuals, if we respond it doesn’t come back as a group?”
Josh Searcy responded if the City Secretary sends an email as a group to let you know the packets are ready and about the meeting, that’s ok. If you on that same email respond to each other about putting something on that agenda or what are we going to consider about that item would be considered a violation.
Alderman Jake Walker asked, “So notifications are fine, notice of meetings but what you think would be the wrong thing to put on there?”
Josh Searcy responded yes.
Alderman Gary Nash asked, “So it’s ok for two council members to discuss something as long as it’s not three?”
Josh Searcy responded yes
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “We had the Region 15 meeting and we had a few members there, as long as we weren’t discussing City business that’s fine?”
Josh Searcy responded yes, three would be a forum; there are times you’re at the grocery store at the same time.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated I’ve had a fear of that, “Cause I’m not going to jail”.
After this comment there was laughter much discussion on this matter.
III. Police Department Summary
Mayor Jerri Medrano turned the Police Department Summary meeting over to Chief Montoya.
Chief Montoya reported there were 34 citations, 46 warnings issued and 80 violations. For the Incident Reports there were 21. There were 6 arrest and 5 accidents.
Chief Montoya reported on the General Update:
On Saturday May 3rd was the City’s Clean Up Day and we will try to have it twice a year, one in the Spring and one after Christmas.
On Monday, May 12th through Friday, May 16th Officer Phillips attended SWAT school In Louisiana. We now have all HPD regular patrol officers SWAT certified. This is a higher level of training with Longview 10 miles away and Marshall is 20 miles away as first responders we will have the verbiage and training to know what to do. We don’t have the luxury having back up officers 2 or 3 minutes away.
On Wednesday, May 14th our K9 Dingo was put down and on Saturday, May 17th K9 Dingo was laid to rest.
On Thursday, May 22 and Friday, May 23rd Sgt. Best and I re-certified on Firearms Instructor Course. I was elected Vice President of the East Texas Firearms Instructor’s Association. I consider this an honor.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Was one of your officers involved in an accident?”
Chief Montoya responded yes Officer Phillips. He was on the east side of Hwy 80 and was going to turn around and was hit on the driver’s side.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Our Insurance is going to take care of that?”
Chief Montoya responded yes.
Alderman Gary Nash asked, “And is he ok?”
Chief Montoya responded he was fine, the other person was fine. It’s one of those situations, the nature of the beast, sometimes things happen and it was very similar situation last week when Officer Chow had his situation. Chief Montoya went over the PD policy and explained the different situations involved with officers having accidents.
Chief Montoya issued a Letter of Commendation for Lisa Adams and her willingness to learn and grown in your area of responsibility has not gone unnoticed. You have risen from humble beginnings and made an outstanding employee. You have taken ownership of your job responsibilities and made improvements benefiting the City of Hallsville and the Hallsville Police Department.
Chief Montoya issued a letter of Commendation to Code Enforcement Officer Victoria Aldrete. She played an important role in our City Day Clean Up and National Night Out program, it was a success last year and we are trying to make it bigger. With Dingo’s death, it happened last minute, nobody saw it coming and she took care of all the arraignments.
V. Water Department Summary
Mayor Jerri Medrano turned the Water Department Summary over to Rickey Dugger.
Rickey Dugger reported 1,451 active accounts, 29 turn on – connections, 39 turn off – disconnections and 8 turn offs due to non-payment of water bill. There were three contractors in town, three lift station repairs, 1 sewer lines repair, 5 requests for line locates, 1 after hours call, 3 meters installed, 2 water leaks and 1 sewer stoppages.
Alderman Gary Nash asked, “Are we getting any new fire hydrants?”
Rickey Dugger responded yes.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Why do you think people are leaving Hallsville?”
Mayor Jerri Medrano responded renters, when the rent comes due they move on to somewhere else.
Mayor Jerri Medrano referred to the Permit Report. There were $9,450 for building permits for April and May. Tealwood will have an addition in 90 days.
VI. Items to be Considered
Mayor Jerri Medrano read, to consider and act upon the approval of the new Hallsville Police Department Policy in reference to the use of speed detection devices (radar and Lidar Units) and turned the discuss over to Chief Montoya.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Is it in our packet?”
Mayor Jerri Medrano responded no.
Chief Montoya stated we’ve been using what everybody else has been using the radar. The Lidar is used for speed detection. When six of you are coming towards me and I’m using the Lidar on you I can detect who is going the fastest. This will come in handy in school zones and when a group of cars are all speeding.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “You’ve already purchased it?”
Chief Montoya responded correct.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “You’ve already spent the money on it?”
Chief Montoya responded correct.
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated it’s just the policy.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “If you’ve already purchased it why are we considering, what policy?”
Chief Montoya responded just the policy.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Where is the policy?”
City Secretary Judy Adkisson responded I’ve got it.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “Why don’t we have it?”
City Secretary Judy Adkisson responded I’m getting it and retrieved the 375 page binder.
Alderman Eric Anderson asked, “Is this one of those situations where you’re asking for forgiveness instead of permission?”
Alderman Tim Hatten stated so you went and purchased a Lidar and you don’t have a policy to use it. So you’re coming to us and saying I need a policy approved to use the Lidar gun we purchased.
Chief Montoya responded correct.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated the policy should have been approved before the Lidar was purchased and you’ve put us on the spot. You have already spent the money.
Mayor Jerri Medrano asked, “Josh do you have a comment on that?”
Alderman Tim Hatten responded if you are going to go that route, I’m going to say no, I don’t want to approve this policy. I think you should have thought through this process before you spent the money on the Lidar.
Josh Searcy responded you know the police department has this policy for two reasons to protect us, meaning the city and the other reason is to know how to do their job. So updating the policy I have no doubt the Chief knows what he is doing. I’m not aware of a legal requirement if you buy the Lidar before the policy or you do the policy then buy the Lidar.
Alderman Eric Anderson responded our job is to represent people who have elected us. The policy has to be addressed first because now if we vote no then the City is out “x” amount of dollars. In the future the policy needs to come first. We’re not elected to be rubber stamps, we’re elected to make votes based on informed decisions and we can’t do that if the decision has already been made.
Josh Searcy responded and I think you should be commended on how the policy goes and Hallsville is a well run city and many cities wouldn’t bother to update the policy.
Alderman Eric Anderson asked Chief Montoya, “When you purchased the Lidar did you know you were out of compliance with your policies?”
Chief Montoya responded no, when we went for the training I was under the impression if you were speed enforcement certified that it covered everything. So when when I got it in we had the representative call us and said you need to get yourself redone every year because we don’t calibrate Lidar. We have to have a specialist come in every summer and did you know you have to have a different certification? I said, no I didn’t. Sgt. Best and I then went for training to be instructors for Lidar equipment and be in compliance. Now we can train anyone in our department or anyone in other departments and have those people certified operators of Lidar equipment. I was unaware that we needed a new policy and that was bad on me, I won’t let that happen again.
Alderman Eric Anderson stated I don’t want you to feel like it’s a “Mother May I” but it’s certainly our responsibility to make that decision as a City.
Alderman Jake Walker stated we’re here for the tax payers and we’re here to say yes or no and you’ve already spent that money and we got to say yes now.
Alderman Tim Hatten asked, “When was it purchased?”
Chief Montoya stated it has been a couple of months back.
Alderman Tim stated you’re pretty close to being over budget on that line item; we have still 4 months of the year left.
Chief Montoya stated we should be under budget by the end of the year and we were under budget last year.
Motion was made by Alderman Jake Walker and seconded by Eric Aderson
Motion carried. 5 Ayes; 0 Nays; and 0 Abstentions
Mayor Jerri Medrano stated that’s end of the agenda.
City Secretary Judy Adkisson asked to talk about permitting. She stated on the last entry of the permit report you will see 402 Willow, A&L Stiles builder. She stated she took a different route and discovered a complete new building located on this street and she knew it wasn’t permitted. She did some research and found an ordinance dated 1973 for double permit fee with construction started without a permit. She stated I wanted to bring to the Council’s attention that we have another contractor coming to town and not getting their permits. There was much discussion on this subject and a decision to update the 1973 ordinance and to have a charge for no permit fee be placed and the new fee schedule.
VI. Citizens to be Heard
There were no comments from citizens.
The Council meeting adjourned at 7:09 pm.
CITY OF HALLSVILLE
Mayor Jerri Medrano
Judy Adkisson, City Secretary
Sworn and subscribed by before me on the 15th day of July 2014.
Notary Public, State of Texas