By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
The Flash Today
Despite having a 105-page agenda, the Stephenville City Council pretty much breezed through the items before it Tuesday evening. The two exceptions against the quick pace being the consideration of approving a contract with County-Wide inspections for building services and needed bridge replacement on West College Street.
After a good deal of discussion concerning the contract which will provide Stephenville with both inspections and plan reviews Councilman Rhett Harrison motioned to table the item. Harrison’s concern was he didn’t have the entire contract or revisions in front of him, and he later in his closing statements said he was “against unjustified bureaucratic spending.”
Fellow council members Sherry Zachary and Jerry Warren were also in favor of tabling the measure which failed by a 4 to 3 vote. Mayor Pro Tem Russ McDanel, Doug Svien, Mark McClinton, and Alan Nix voted against tabling it. Boyd Waggoner was not in attendance.
McDanel rolled out a list of reasons he was in favor of the contract, pointing out the company was providing not only inspections, but also plan reviews. He also pointed out that there had been a four-hour meeting introducing the company and its services that all council members had been invited to.
McDanel’s biggest concerns being that further delays, could mean slowdowns in providing city services for inspections, permitting and plan reviews as the city is shorthanded in its planning and building services department.
The contract is for a year of services and would cost the city $120,000 if Stephenville elects to go with a flat rate. There is also the possibility of the city going with a fee-based structure; however, City Administrator Pat Bridges indicated that the cost could be as much is $230,000.
Harrison’s concern were about unnecessary spending and wanting to investigate a little further if a flat rate is a way to go. He questioned if moving forward with a fee-based system would be a better way to hold costs down.
The matter boiled down to a roll call vote which was 4-3 in favor of the contract. Mayor Kenny Weldon said all the council members would be presented an additional chance to look over the contract and to offer any objections they might have at the council’s next meeting.
Weldon mentioned it was, “the opening day of Texas dove season” at the meeting’s start and had joked about hurrying things along so he might enjoy the sunset outdoors atop an overturned bucket. If he had actually made plans, he would have had to cancel them as discussion concerning the East College Street bridge lingered over cost concerns.
Director of Public Works Nick Williams, in a proactive study, had gathered evidence the bridge fit the highest category for being unsafe and is a danger to the public. A study and design for the bridge may have a price tag as high as $35,000. Weldon questioned the bridge’s design costs and different possible designs to lower costs, some of which may or may not require more maintenance to clear debris.
The council ended up giving the approval to study the project but with some limitations that require Schrickel Rollins and Associates to return to the council and report progress and options.
Earlier in the meeting, the council heard a presentation from Julie Crouch, director of the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council. Crouch reported the annual numbers and gave some details about some of the years events.
“We sponsor or co-sponsor 15-20 arts-related events throughout the year,” Crouch said. “These include ballet, concerts, theater productions, art exhibits, artist receptions and coloring contests.”
Crouch pointed out the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council is presenting an “Evening with Don Edwards and Cowboy Legends” next month at the Birdsong Amphitheater in honor of Rodeo Heritage Week.
“I personally invite each of your to join the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council and participate in our activities,” Crouch said.
In other business, the Council approved the preliminary plat side subdivision at 1000 East Lingleville Rd. and also approved the replat of lot 18, block nine, golf country Estates in addition to other lots there.
No one stepped to the podium to discuss the tax rate during the public hearing portion, and the Council approved its upcoming annual budget, adopted an ordinance for fee schedules and approved money for child safety funds.