Council approves job description for planner

By SHELLY WILKISON

The Liberty Hill City Council approved a job description Monday for a city planner — a position that Manager Greg Boatright says is needed to help the city deal with rapid growth and development.

Although the position was not funded in the current budget, Boatright said the Council will amend the budget at a later date when a candidate for the job is hired. The job will be advertised with a salary range of $46,750 to $62,000.

“I know there are some who feel that other positions are needed,” Boatright said. “But in dealing with it on a daily basis, it came down to choosing between a finance director and a planner. If Liberty Hill is trying to move forward with planning growth and encouraging developent, this is needed most.”

The Council approved the job description by a unanimous vote.  Mayor Jamie Williamson and Councilmember Vicki Brewer were not present.

Boatright said the person hired as planner will be equipped to answer questions of developers regarding zoning, annexation, fee schedules, development policies and ordinances, sign permits and variances.

“We have a lot of activity now with subdivisions, also requests for annexation and zoning,” he said. “Basically, this is the city growing up and needing a person dedicated full-time to this.”

Boatright said the fees the city collects from developers “will more than pay for the salary of this person.”

“I agree with Mr. Boatright that this is a critical time in the development of our city,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Branigan. “We want to be professional. We needed this person yesterday.”

In other personnel matters Monday, the Council appointed members Connie Fuller and Liz Rundzieher to a committee with Boatright and acting City Secretary Tammy Kirk to interview applicants for the position of City Secretary. Mrs. Kirk was recently appointed to serve as Municipal Court Clerk creating a vacancy at City Hall. Boatright said the City received nine applications for the job.

The Council also voted unanimously to repeal previous action to hire Lollie Chavera as Court Administrator. In September, the Mayor said Mrs. Chavera, who had earlier resigned from the position, had agreed to return to the job and the Council voted to hire her back.

Councilmember Wendell McLeod said Monday that “no one has been able to get hold of her since then. We need to resend that.”

The Council also adopted an ordinance prohibiting city council members and their spouses from serving on a city board or commission.

“We need to get other people involved,” McLeod said.

Currently, two council members are serving on city boards and they will continue to serve until their terms expire.

Ms. Branigan serves of the Parks & Recreation Board, and Mrs. Brewer serves on the Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors. Ms. Branigan was appointed to the Parks Board prior to her service on the Council. Mrs. Brewer has missed the past two meetings of the EDC Board.

“The city needs more diversity of input,” said Ms. Branigan, who agreed that council members should not serve on the appointed boards. She suggested that current members be permitted to serve out their terms because “it gives them a chance to bring activities they are working on to closure.”

City of Liberty Hill water customers may begin outdoor watering one day per week. Addresses ending in an even number may water on Tuesdays and odd number addresses may water on Wednesdays.

Utility Superintendent Brian Kirk reported that water levels in city wells have increased significantly since October.

“All of the wells have gained 20 feet since October 1,” he said.

City water customers have been prohibited from outdoor waterings for three years.

The Council agreed to give the City Manager the authority to implement future water restrictions as needed.

Following two public hearings where no one addressed the Council, the panel voted unanimously to approve the annexation of Lots 1 & 2 of Twenty-Nine Ranch Subdivision at 9600 W. State Highway 29; and 73 acres at 12331 W. State Highway 29, the proposed site of Liberty Parke Subdivision.

In other matters Monday, the Council voted to:

* Approved the membership application of the City of Leander to the Williamson County and Cities Health District.

* Support Harry Gibbs and Deborah Hunt as members of the Williamson Central Appraisal District Board of Directors. The City has five votes on the panel, and the two nominees were among five uncontested incumbents.

* Table the appointment of Lance Dean to the EDC Board pending the official acceptance of the resignation of Cathy Cantrell.