Council approves city engineer job, holds public hearings



After a 42-minute delay waiting for a quorum, the City Council held public hearings on the proposed annexation of several properties with frontage along US Highway 183 and State Highway 29.

Monday’s special meeting was called partly for the purpose of conducting the hearings that had been previously posted. To hold a special meeting, four voting members of the Council are required to be present. Ron Rhea and Troy Whitehead were not present, so the meeting was called to order at 7:12 p.m. when Whitehead arrived. The Mayor, Connie Fuller, is not eligible to vote except in the case of a tie.

The Council held hearings on three Hogan tracts, totaling about 195 acres. A representative of the property owner told the Council that two of the three tracts, which are zoned agricultural and contain the residence of the property owner, will be the subject of a development agreement with the City as opposed to being part of the property involuntarily annexed.

Senior Planner Sally McFeron told The Independent that the law provides for the option of a development agreement in the case of land designated as agricultural. She said there is no opposition from the City on this.

Public hearings were also held Monday on the proposed annexation of the Abbott tract of 97.32 acres located behind the Summerlyn subdivision on US Highway 183, as well as the Manor Business Center that will be constructed on SH 29 just east of Indian Mound Ranch.

“We don’t want to be annexed at all, but it looks like we don’t have a choice,” said Jean Ray, a representative of the property owner. “We request these two properties be removed from the annexation, and we will come up with a development agreement with the City.”

The property shares a contiguous boundary with property owned by Old Castle quarry, which voluntarily annexed into the city limits in October.

Also Monday, the Council approved a job description for a new position in the Planning Department for a City Engineer.

Assistant City Administrator Amber Lewis said the position was funded in the current budget with a pay range of $70,000 to $75,000 annually. She said the job will be funded from the wastewater department budget.

“This will be a good addition to our staff,” said Lewis. “We’re doing so many capital projects. This person can do some design in house and be able to keep our engineers honest.”

The City typically contracts with Steger Bizzell of Georgetown for its engineering work.

Staff also proposed creating the position of Utility Customer Service Representative at a rate of $13 to $17 per hour. However, the Council voted to table the item at Councilman Wendell McLeod’s request.

“We are hiring too many people in my estimation,” he said.

Lewis said the funds were budgeted for the new position and would be shared by the three utility funds.

Also this week, the Council approved the posting of a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) for engineering, surveying and architectural services for improvement projects at City Park on CR 200.

Tax Notes will be used to pay for the construction of a swimming pool, parking and restrooms, as well as a walking trail around the park.

Companies considering bidding on the project must complete the SOQ by Dec. 13.

The Council also agreed to allow Steger Bizzell to do design work on improvements at the intersection of Carl Shipp Road and Loop 332. The project will be paid from funds generated by Tax Notes.

City Administrator Greg Boatright was not present Monday. The Council holds it next regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14.