NB Library receives tech grant
The New Boston City Council held their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 in Council Chambers of New Boston City Hall. The mayor and all council members were present, as was the city secretary, city attorney, and chief of police. After an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance led by city attorney Mike Brock, the consent agenda, which included minutes from previous meetings and bill payment and transfers, was approved unanimously.
The council approved the contract with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for the $11,000.00 technology grant recently awarded to the library. They also approved the changing of library hours to a more consistent schedule (Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to noon) effective immediately.
It was approved to go ahead with the striping of Elm Street, to make the section of the street between Highway 82 and N. Center two-way again. The city will also be taking bids for sidewalk and overflow parking projects along Elm Street, as planned some time ago.
Billy Martz, with the City of New Boston Public Works Department, gave an update on sewer issues in buildings on North Front Street. Martz said the amount of rainfall that the area has seen recently, along with the age of the infrastructure in that part of the city has caused some buildings along North Front to experience sewer back-up issues. However, city employees made some adjustments to existing equipment that have alleviated the situation somewhat, and will be looking into updating the system in the future.
A payment in the amount of $78,081.59 was approved to Contech Contractors, Inc. for 2017 Pavement Improvements Project.
A motion made by Councilman Richard Ellis and seconded by Councilman Joe Dike was defeated with a 2-3 vote to extinguish an outstanding lien totaling approximately $4,500.00 on property located on Pearlie Street. Property owner Jewell Shaw addressed the council at November’s meeting, explaining that he bought the property with no knowledge of the lien, which originated from the 2008 demolition of an abandoned building on the property. He explained that he wished to develop the lot by moving in a manufactured home, but that it would not be financially possible for him to do so until the lien was released. At that time it was determined that the principal amount of the lien was around $2,300.00, with the rest being interest accrued over the last 10 years. Councilmen Richard Ellis and David Turner were appointed by the council to research the property, communicate further with Mr. Shaw, and determine a course of action, if any, to take on alleviating all or part of the amount owed on the property. Councilmen Ellis and Dike both argued that the location of the property - near the Western Waste dump - would deter most from developing the property, and that if Mr. Shaw was willing to do so, the city should extinguish the loan amount in an effort to get the property back on tax rolls. Councilman Turner stated that he believed that extinguishing the entire loan amount would set a precedent, and that the city would be inundated with similar requests. He suggested that the city waive the interest fees, essentially cutting the amount owed in half. Councilman Dike made a motion to amend the original motion to state that the loan would be extinguished, providing Mr. Shaw did in fact develop the property within six months. The amendment was voted upon first, failing 2-3, with Councilmen Ellis and Dike in favor and Turner, Laney and Eggengburger opposed. The vote on the original motion failed with the same split.
The council discussed retaining an auditor for the 2018 fiscal year, and Councilman Dike suggested that they begin a search for a new auditor, as he felt as if he had had problems communicating with the existing auditor, and at times felt “completely ignored.” Larry Henderson, of Wilf and Henderson agreed that the city should consider retaining a new auditor, stating, “He (current auditor) has had some personal and professional issues this year that have had a profound effect on him, and ya’ll need to change auditors.” The council determined that the budget committee, would meet with Henderson to determine a list of auditors to send a request for proposal. There was no further business and the meeting was adjourned.