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City Council August Meeting; Charter Review Committee Appointment Postponed; Hear Public Input on Taxes, Homeless, Human Trafficking

Sulphur Springs City Council reviewed open meetings laws, including updates related to technology, approved the community facilities agreement for Roy Lee Beezley addition, postponed the appointment of a charter review committee, and heard five individuals during public form Tuesday night during their regular August session.

The council also approved a resolution authorizing an interlocal agreement between the city and Saputo Dairy Foods, LLC for Texas Capital Funds Infrastructure Project, approved the first reading or an ordinance for a budget amendment for fiscal year 2017-2018, and approved rezoning of property at 601 South Jackson Street from Light Industrial to Multi-Family.

City Attorney Jim McElroy told council members that current technology posed a greater danger of failing to uphold the open meetings act. He noted that reply all in emails and group texting could create a failure to meet the standards of the law. The Texas Open Meetings Act requires that public posting of all events where a majority of council members will or could be present. He noted that members of the council had received training that would equip them to meet the standards of the law.

Sixteen homes ranging in price from $160,000 to $180,000 will be built in the Roy Lee Beezley Addition according to the new owners of the property located on Jefferson Street near I-30. A community facilities agreement stating the owners will build streets and utilities to meet city code is necessary as the company moves forward with the planned development.

Mayor John Sellers asked the council to delay action on appointing a Charter Review committee until a work session could be conducted. He noted the council desired to discuss their recommendations for the committee. Council members have been contacting those who they desire to serve on the committee. The work session will give the council opportunity to present a completed committee list for vote.

The interlocal agreement between the city and Saputo will provide opportunity to apply for grant funds that will assist in capital improvements needed that is related to the industry and city.  

During public forum one local citizen, Jay Julian, addressed the council regarding future budgets. Julian noted that the city tax rate had remained the same for a number of years. However, with fluctuating appraisals, the revenue for the city had both decreased and increased over the same period of time. He noted that keeping the budget within those revenues had been a priority for past councils. Julian requested that the current council look to the dollar amount needed to improve streets and infrastructure and that tax rates be set to provide for needed improvements.

Also in public forum, four sociology students from Texas A & M Commerce addressed the council regarding various needs. Their statements to council were not only a requirement for a specific class but also an encouragement for the council to look to the community needs of homeless, human trafficking, and social-work counselors for students in local public schools.

Author: Staff Reporter

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