Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jason Ricketson this week asked Sulphur Springs City Council to consider approving an ordinance that would make exiting East Shannon Road restaurant driveways between South Broadway Street and Mockingbird Lane safer. The ordinance is one of four ordinances the City Council considered at the regular November meeting.
East Shannon Road Parking
Ricketson explained, when recommending Ordinance No. 2794 establishing a no parking zone on the south service road from South Broadway to Mockingbird Lane, that vehicles parking between entrances and exits on East Shannon Road between Chili’s and McDonald’s, making it very difficult for motorists exiting those drives to see around them much less to the traffic on Shannon Road. That is a safety issue which as resulted in numerous near misses and calls to city officials regarding the matter.
This applies only to the south side of East Shannon. Vehicles, including 18-wheelers may still park on the north side of East Shannon Road between Broadway Street and Mockingbird Lane.
The ordinance would also no apply to the line of motorists that can be seen some nights along that stretch of roadway in line to enter restaurants open late at night. The no parking ordinance would be for those who park and exit their vehicle, not people in a long drive-thru line.
The City Council approved on first reading the proposed no parking ordinance for the south side of East Shannon Road from Broadway Street to Mockingbird Lane. It will be presented again, per city policy, at the December City Council meeting for final approval. If anyone wishes to address the City Council regarding the proposed ordinance, they may do so during the designated public forum at the Dec. 7 meeting. It would then be in effect.
Ricketson noted that the measure will be forwarded to Texas Department of Transportation, who would be required to erect no parking signs in the area. The City of Sulphur Springs would be required to pay for the signs.
A violation of the no parking ordinance would be a Class C misdemeanor offense, punishable upon conviction with a fine of up to $500.
J-B Weld Reinvestment Zone
Sulphur Springs City Council on Tuesday night, Nov. 2, 2021, also approved Ordinance 2891, which establishes a reinvestment zone for J-B Weld’s Sulphur Springs plant expansion, located at 400 CMH Road, just off West Industrial Drive in the Pioneer Business Park. J-B Weld is expanding its building and adding employees.
J-B Weld, which had a 2020 ad valorem taxable value of just over $4.7 million, has committed to investing $4 million to expand its epoxy glue manufacturing business with construction of a 40,000 square-foot facility on the 12.24-acre tract of land, with the project to be completed by June 30, 2022, according to the economic development program agreement Hopkins County Commissioners Court approved on Sept. 13.
This will allow J-B Weld to add 20 new fulltime positions, giving the business a total of 102 fulltime employees, which the company agreed to maintain the duration of the Chapter 381 agreement. J-B Weld agreed to a 5-year program instead of the usual 10 year program agreement with the county.
The reinvestment zone is needed in order for J-B Weld to be able to attain a tax incentive from Hopkins County Hospital District Board of Directors, which can grant the incentive but doesn’t have the ability to create a reinvestment zone, which must be established in order for the board to consider granting the tax incentive. The City Council does have the ability to establish a reinvestment zone and agreed on first reading in October and on second and final reading at the November meeting.
Sulphur Springs Finance Director/Assistant City Manager Lesa Smith and a SAMCO Capital Markets financial advisor for the city reported the city received bonds rates for refunding Tuesday. They came back in the city’s favor, Smith noted. The SAMCO representative noted that the city bonds were coming up on a call date. The City Council was able to consider refinancing some existing debt at a lower rate, to see if doing so could save the City of Sulphur Springs some repayment costs.
They sought and received three bids. The best offered a true interest cost, which the average interest rate on financing, of 1.427391 percent. The two other bids came in at 1.52 percent, 1.54 percent. He noted that while interest rates have been trending up for the last 6 weeks, they are still at historic low levels.
“Since we really started looking at this refunding as of late, the Federal Reserve Market Committee came out and said they are planning to taper the bond purchasing program and start raising the FED fund rate. The market reacted as you might expect, with interest rates starting to go up,” the SAMCO advisor said, noting that rates are as stated projected to continue going up.
He said while at an earlier meeting, advisors were considering what was a conservative rate of 1.42 percent, the rate has gone up to right at 1.43 percent since then. However, the current recommendation would lock in better savings. Initially considered was a 2021 bond, but at the current rate, it wouldn’t benefit the city to refinance it alone. He said financial advisors not only considered each bond series bout the maturity of each piece. So the 2022 maturity was eliminated from the 2011 certificates of obligation that to be refunded and struck the 2012 bond entirely, so the core amount went down $2,120,000. The city will save $228,000 over the life of the bond, to the tune of about $20,000 a year through 2032, as a result of the refunding approved as recommended. Typically, to be worth refunding, the core amount of saving needs to be 3-5 percent, according to the SAMCO advisor. The amount recommended to and approved by the City Council is about 8 percent. The City Council approve the general obligation refunding bonds, series 2021, as well as all associated documents and actions required related to the refunding of the bonds.
City Attorney Jim McLeroy asked the city to consider approving Ordinance No. 2793 regarding the City of Sulphur Springs Code of Ordinances. He reminded them that the city had been working on updating this a few years ago. The changes proposed would sort hte Codes into 12 chapters and update statutory references to Codes and names, such as state or federal agencies that are now known by other names.
When asked, he assured Precinct 1 Councilman Jay Julian that the changes are non-substantive changes and, aside from the ordinances approved Nov. 2, would be exactly the same when submitted for second and final approval in December. The newly approved ordinances would simply be added to it, and it would be re-codified and go into effect Jan. 1, 2022, if approved on second reading at the December 2021 City Council meeting.
The code would be organized as follows, according to Ordinance No. 2793, which received approval on first reading from the City Council:
Ideally, the full book of City Ordinances could at some point in the future be made accessible online. City officials will need to go through the ordinances next year or at some point in the future to update the code as appropriate.