Kirk resigns from Council

Lisa Kirk with Council member Byron Tippie after her resignation during Monday’s Council meeting. (www.ThunderstruckPhotos.com)

Explaining she no longer had the time to serve, Liberty Hill City Council member Lisa Kirk resigned from the Place 5 position Monday leaving a vacancy that will not be filled until the May 2012 election.

Mrs. Kirk, who was appointed to the Council in July after the resignation of Wendell McLeod June 30, read from her letter of resignation citing the demands of family, her job as a court clerk and her health.

“At this time, I believe that I can not give the full time that is deserved to the Council and take care of my family, health and work obligations as well,” she said.

“I appreciate your candor. It takes some fortitude to say you can’t do this job,” said Council member Jack Harkrider. “I appreciate what you have done and the effort you gave.”

The Council voted unanimously to accept her resignation, which took effect immediately. Mayor Michele “Mike” Murphy said after the meeting that she will not appoint a replacement for Mrs. Kirk, instead voters will fill the seat in municipal elections in May 2012. The filing period for City Council is from Feb. 4-March 5, 2012. Election Day is May 12, 2012.

One week ago, Mrs. Kirk was one of three Council members who voted against an ordinance authorizing the City to issue $2.28 million in water revenue bonds to connect two new water wells, pay off a loan incurred by the Liberty Hill Water Supply Corp., and make additional improvements to the water system.

Mrs. Kirk said she had not had time to read the documentation and did not know enough about it to support it.

“I’m sorry if what we did wasn’t the best thing,” Mrs. Kirk said after the vote last week.

Council members Byron Tippie and Mike Crane also voted no on the bonds last week.

Within minutes of Mrs. Kirk’s resignation, the Council adjourned to closed session with the City’s attorney and reconvened an hour later to approve the same bond package. This time, the vote was 3-1 in favor of issuing the bonds with Crane voting yes along with Council members Charles Canady and Jack Harkrider. Tippie once again voted no.

The bonds, which will be re-paid over 20 years with revenue generated by the water system, will be used to connect two new water wells, make improvements to the system’s infrastructure and refinance two higher interest loans incurred by the Liberty Hill Water Supply Corp.

Because Crane and Tippie expressed concern last week about the amount of the bond issuance, city staff had placed a second option on the agenda that would have authorized water revenue bonds in the amount of $1.37 million. When the Council passed the higher package with Crane’s support, the second option was not considered.

P&Z Commissioner Sammy Pruett addressed the Council during public comments Monday.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Sammy Pruett, one of the Council’s appointees to the Planning & Zoning Commission, said the Council should not have “skirted around” the views of the citizens who signed a petition to stop the issuance of the certificate of obligation bonds.

“It ought to have been done with a city vote,” he said. “I hope there are no personal agendas. It’s your job to listen to the people. All they wanted is for you (the Council) to explain why its best to buy the water system. Seems like there is something to hide. All you did was go to another (type of) bond.”

After the vote was taken on the water revenue bonds, Councilman Canady asked to take no action on an item he had placed on the agenda.   The item called for discussion and possible action on violations of the City’s Code of Ethics and Conduct by some appointees to city committees.

Also Monday, the Council voted unanimously to utilize up to $75,000 from Economic Development Corp. funds to connect City Park on CR 200 to the city’s wastewater system.

Representatives from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative made a presentation to Council on how they will go about developing a comprehensive plan for the community. Planners will use an existing plan developed five years ago by LCRA for the City of Liberty Hill as a starting point. Additional goals and objectives will be incorporated and priorities will be revisited. The first workshop on plan development will be in January 2012.

The City Council cancelled its regular meeting for Dec. 26.