City Council Names JPs as Municipal Judges, Agree to Atmos Rate Increase; Note Sales Tax Better than Expected

city hallSulphur Springs City Council began their May meeting with Mayor Kayla Price-Mitchell proclaiming May Motorcycle Safety Awareness month, Lupus Awareness Month, and Older Americans Month before voting on the variety of items on their May Agenda Tuesday night.

In a cost saving move, the city council approved utilizing the services of the Justices of the Peace for Hopkins County as Municipal and Associate Municipal Judges. The city will pay both judges $1,000 per month for their services. The amount was called “far below the salary we were paying” by one member of the council. Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 B. J. Teer will serve as Judge and Brad Cummings, JP Precinct 2, will serve as associate. City Councilman Craig Johnson stated that this could be the first of other sharing between city and county that could reap savings for both.

Council members approved with an amendment, the second and final reading of an ordinance limiting parking on both sides of Enterprise Lane. Although the ordinance called for a limit to two hours, the council approved an amendment that will allow no parking on the street. Council members discussed the fact that the street was being used for parking by those who were not allowed to smoke on their company grounds which is now a smoke free campus. Some employees were using the street for a break room and leaving trash and debris on the street. The litter was unappealing to neighboring offices.

Council also approved a plat combining eight lots into one at the Brian Toliver Ford location at 1040 Gilmer Street. The change will facilitate the rebuild of the auto dealership at that location. A zoning request for property at 520 South Davis Street from Multi-Family to Light Commercial was also approved when the property owner requested the change to allow for future use of the property that is adjacent to other property he owns that is zoned light commercial.

In an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation, the city will take back upkeep of a segment of Main Street from South Davis to T J Alley. The section of the street had been maintained by the state as part of the state highway designation. However, to allow parking along Main Street in that area, the city will need to maintain it.

An agreement with Atmos Energy Corporation regarding a negotiated rate increase was accepted by the council. City Attorney Jim McLeroy noted that the rate increase requests by Atmos were an every year occurrence. The Atmos representative agreed with McLeroy’s assessment. The rate increase will result in a $1.26 increase in the residential customer rate.  A resolution regarding Oncor Delivery Company rates was removed from the agenda pending the possible sale of the bankrupt electric delivery service.

Although Sulphur Springs City sales tax had been expected to increase $50,000 for the first six month, City Council members were elated to hear that it had in fact increased $90,000 for the first six months of the budget year.

Author: Staff Reporter

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