By A.C. Hall
The White Settlement City Council held their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday and considered a request from the city’s trash collection company Progressive Waste Solutions to increase their collection fee by 1.6%. City Manager Linda Ryan stated that this would translate to a 19 cent increase for customers.
Council member Danny Anderson voiced his disapproval with the request, referencing increases the company received when gas prices were above four dollars in recent years. Anderson stated that their rate didn’t lower when gas prices did, and that they also receive other regular increases.
Ryan stated that the increase falls within the contract the city has with Progressive.
“It says they can ask for it; it doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed it,” Anderson said.
Anderson followed up that statement by making a motion to deny the rate increase request. His motion received no second, and thus died. A follow up motion was made by council member Mike Arnold, who moved to approve the rate increase. That motion passed 3 to 1, with Arnold, Gene Hatcher, and Steve Ott in favor, and Anderson against.
WSISD STUDENT LIBRARY CARD FEES
The council voted unanimously to make all WSISD students exempt from library card fees. Mayor Burns spoke about students who don’t live within White Settlement who may not be able to take part in certain activities or study groups at the library.
“What we’re doing is just making it fair and square for all the kids,” Hatcher said.
WSFD CONSIDERS COUNTY REQUEST
Fire Chief Brian Thompson informed council that the city will soon be asked by the Tarrant County Fire Marshal to take back over a county area they were once responsible for. The area is in the Silver Ridge area, and after giving up responsibility for it, the White Settlement Fire Department has maintained a mutual aid agreement for the area. They receive $7,000 per year for that agreement. If the city does take back responsibility for the area, they’ll receive $8,500 per quarter.
Thompson stated that the area averages twelve calls per year. He also said that if the WSFD takes it over, it will open them up to a $20,000 grant opportunity that could be used to buy new tools and gear.
Anderson voiced a concern about the growth in that area as there are plans for new homes to be built there.
“There’s going to be a lot more activity out there and if it’s going to overwhelm our fire department then $34,000 dollars is not going to cut it,” Anderson stated.
Mayor Jerry Burns also commented on this, saying that they will monitor the situation and if it does start to take up too much time and resources then the city will discontinue the agreement. Thompson stated that the official agreement will come through on Oct. 1 for council approval.
RE-ZONING REQUEST APPROVED
A public hearing was held on a requested rezoning for the Sun View Addition Phase 7. The area is currently marked as commercial corridor, and the proposed change was to planned development. No one was present who wished to speak on the public hearing, and it was closed.
Moving on to the associated action item, council member Steve Ott addressed response to this item.
“Responses from the letters that were sent out were all positive and all for it,” Ott said.
Mayor Burns said that the Planning and Zoning board was also okay with the re-zone request.
A motion was made to approve the re-zoning request. That motion passed unanimously.
CODE ORDINANCES ADRESSED
Building Official Kyle Reeves presented the next item to council as there were several ordinance amendments on the agenda. This was to adopt the 2012 building codes. It was stated that by moving to these newer codes it simplifies many things and also helps unify the area so that contractors can operate under the same codes no matter what North Texas city they are working in. Council unanimously approved a motion to pass six ordinance amendments to put these new codes into place.
Also addressed was an amendment to the special sign types, a subsection in an ordinance. Reeves stated they are working with the base on signs that use digital lights to make sure they don’t interfere with base operations.
Council member Ott asked if they should add in specific language into the ordinance that addresses the need to keep signs compatible with the base. Discussions were held about some new signs coming in that the base will be able to dim or shut off if they need to. Ott was also told by the City Attorney that since city staff already has directions to co-ordinate signage with the base, it may not be needed to add it into the ordinance as well.
With that, council unanimously approved the amendment to the special sign types sub section of the ordinance.
Council members unanimously approved a motion to waive the Veteran’s Park rental fees for the International Associaiton of Machinists and Aerospace Workers of Local Lodge 776 as they seek to rent the park from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on August 31. City Manager Linda Ryan stated that the lodge has allowed the city and Chamber of Commerce to use their facilities without a rental fee, and felt that waiving the Veteran’s rental fee “would only be fair.”
Council member Anderson abstained from the vote since he is a member of the Local Lodge 776.
Finance Director Phil Bray gave the council a required quarterly update on the city’s investments. Bray spoke about the focus on the diversification of city investments and highlighted how it’s helping get a higher yield rate. The city is receiving .25% interest, which Bray stated is around .20% higher than the TexPool rate.
“The things we’re doing with the diversification of funds, even though it’s a minute amount, it is helping on the interest,” Bray said.
Driving home his point, Bray stated that the city has received $49,000 worth of interest so far this year on the investments. At the same time last year, they had only received $19,000.
Council unanimously approved a motion to call a general election for November 5. Places two and three will be up in the election, which are currently held by Elzie Clements and Mike Arnold. So far, no one has filed for the election.
A public hearing will be held on September 10 for the city budgets and the tax rate.
Council held a closed door executive session to consult with the attorney on anticipated litigation regarding the Central Park renovations. When they reconvened in open session no action was taken on this item, and no further information was given.