By JESSIE HORTON
The Dublin City Council had quite a few items on their agenda Monday evening, but kicked off the meeting by honoring the next generation of Dublin leadership – the Dublin Lions (varsity football) and Lady Lions (varsity volleyball), who are all fresh off historical playoff seasons.
Following Dublin Mayor David Leatherwood and the rest of the council approving proclamations honoring the students, the council got down to business, holding a public hearing for rezoning consideration. No one spoke and the council voted to approve the recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Board to change the single family residence to a B-1 neighborhood business.
According to property owner and council member Layne Golden, the old gas station on his property had been zoned as such for years, but when the last update happened, his property was mistakenly zoned as single family. The city sent out letters to neighbors and area property owners notifying them of the possible change and they received back only a letter from Golden himself. He did not vote on the matter.
Golden had another item on the agenda Monday night. He wanted to ask the council to consider a way to change the speed or at least better monitor the speed of vehicles traveling in the 200 block of Blackjack Street. Despite posted speed limit signs, Golden says drivers are traveling 60-80 miles an hour passing by his home.
“I’m not saying Dublin PD isn’t doing their jobs, I know they’ve got a lot of ground to cover on a given shift,” he told his fellow council members. “But something has got to be done. I’ve got my kids and the kids I give lessons to walking all over the place and we’ve got other people in the neighborhood with kids outside all the time. These drivers are going way to fast and I’ve seen so very little enforcement and patrol in that area. If we have a rule or an ordinance about a posted speed or not using a jake break in the city limits, we’ve got to enforce those rules.”
Other on the council agreed, but no change of speed can be posted by the city as Blackjack Street is actually TXDOT maintained, being Texas State Highway 6. However, council members also agreed something needs to be done and City Administrator Nancy Wooldridge said she would ask the police department if more patrols in the area could be handled.
In other business, the council heard from Dublin Public Works Director Cory James, who reported Jacobs and Martin qualified all the bids returned on the bid request for the sewer line project. This means each of the bids presented to James and the council meet all the requirements for the project. James told the council that one, a bid from CJB Construction out of Granbury, was significantly lower than the others. He reasoned that they were the only company who presented a bid without the cost of pumps the city already has and the council approved the bid.
This project, which an engineering firm hired by the city estimated would cost $694,000, was low bid at $699,085 by CJB Construction and accepted by the Dublin City Council. James said this project will replace and repair the old clay lines running from Ola and Dobkins Streets to Liberty and on to Blackjack Street. From there it will continue toward Chigger Ranch and over to Live Oak and S. Norton Street, where it will continue to Sherridan Street. This will take care of all the clay pipe and damaged pipe on that side of town, and James said it will move the city one step closer to TCEQ compliance.
“This project will greatly reduce our overflow problems, as well as the INI problems we’ve faced with TCEQ, and shore up everything on the east side of the railroad,” he concluded Monday night. “It will also move the line out of the street along Liberty Street which is where we had the worker injured while he was working on the line there.”
Mayor Leatherwood and Wooldridge also addressed the council about the city’s current ambulance issues. According to the city officials, the Dublin EMS has two ambulances, the newer one, despite being new, does not run well and is in need of being almost completely remounted. The other ambulance is an older one, but still running well. However, instead of just using the older ambulance as back-up, Dublin EMS is having to use it as the primary unit due to issues with the other unit.
“We’ve been looking into remounting the newer unit,” Leatherwood reported to the council. “That’s going to cost something like between $90,000-$75,000 for a diesel engine, which ours has now. Or $65,000 for a gas engine. But I’ve found two units at a local car dealership that are 2011 models, but have never been driven. I’m working with that dealership now to try and see if we could purchase one. They are both diesel engines and would cost less than half what a remount would.”
The council gave Leatherwood and Wooldridge permission to continue negations with the dealership for the possible purchase of a new unit for the Dublin EMS.
Before adjourning, the council went into executive session for approximately 30 minutes and returned with a motion regarding a temporary police chief at the Dublin Police Department in the absence of the chief. Upon return for closed session, Alderman Jimmy Leatherwood made a motion that, “in the absence of an unfilled chief position at the Dublin Police Department, the highest ranking officer still on staff will serve as interim chief until a new chief is appointed by the council. During the time said officer is interim chief he/she will receive an increase in pay of $1 per hour.”
City officials confirmed that currently Sgt.Bennie Noel is the highest ranking officer, he is already serving in this capacity and will receive the raise in pay.