Sulphur Springs City Council had a full agenda during Tuesday night’s regular meeting, including two appointments to the Planning and Zoning Commission, authorizing a TexPool representative and notices for funding for Pacific Park and Senior Citizens Center projects.
Senior Center, Pacific Park
The council took another step in obtaining voter approved funding of up to $3 million for improvements at Pacific Park and a new senior citizens activity center with the approval of Resolution No. 1187.
City Finance Director Lesa Smith explained the resolution simply directs the publication of notice of intention for the certificates of obligation for the parks improvements that the citizens voted on.
“It states that the maximum we will borrow is $3 million, and after this notice of intention is published, at the next two council meetings, you will be asked to approve the ordinance. Then, we will go out for bids on it,” Smith told the City Council.
Andrew Friedman with SAMCO Capital, the city’s financial adviser, said the the notices require publication 45-46 days before any bids can be brought to the council for consideration. The first reading of the ordinance would be at the Feb. 4 meeting and the second reading at the March 3 meeting. If approved, bids with actual interest rates for bonds would then be presented at that March meeting as well. If the City Council approve the certificate of obligation at the March meeting the funds would be delivered on March 31. He said interest rates are currently lower than usual.
The funds won’t all be spent at one time, but over time according to schedule. A timeline has been developed for the H.W. Grays Building, and one is being developed for the construction of the new senior citizens center. A separate plan will be established for the remainder of planned improvements at Pacific Park, and involve potential grant funding the city has applied for. The city has three years for the funds.
Councilman Freddie Taylor pointed out that $1.5 million of the $3 million in bond funding would go toward construction of a new senior citizens center and the other $1.5 million toward construction of new Grays Building and Pacific Park improvements.
Planning and Zoning Commission
Two recommendations were approved to fill Planning and Zoning Commission seats, open due to resignations of Kelly Grimes for personal reasons and Mike Horne due to a move outside of the city limits.
The council at the December meeting tabled the appointment until a list of potential candidates to fill the seats could be created and top candidates could be contacted to determine whether they would have a willingness to serve.
Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski recommended Pat Chase and Matthew Mattison. The council removed the item from the table and approved the recommendations as presented to serve on the P&Z Commission.
Smith asked her request for the council to approve Resolution No. 1199 was a necessary yet bittersweet one. She asked them to authorize accounting specialist Oscar Aguayo as a city representative for TexPool investment account. He would replace Kathie Steele, who after 46 years of employment with the city has retired, Smith explained.
The council approved the resolution as recommended by Smith.
Expenditures and Finance Report
Finance Director Lesa Smith during the regular council meeting Tuesday night gave the following update regarding city expenditures and revenues:
- Revenues and expenditures through December 2019 to the general fund and utility fund are within budget expectation right now.
- Sales tax is up over this time last year.
- Property tax collections are hitting target. Most of the revenue comes in in December or January.
- Water and sewer and sanitation revenue is up $9,000 compared to last year.
- Airport revenues and expenditures are up over last year. A pretty large event held at the airport accounted for most of the increase: quite a bit of fuel sold, requiring more fuel to be purchased.
- Hotel occupancy tax is exceeding budget expectation. This revenue has increased by about $10,000 annually over last three years.
- No street maintenance fees have been expended so far this year on the annual street paving program. Bids will be taken for the street program this month, and results are expected to be presented to the City Council at next month’s meeting.