Grapeland City Council Splits over Concrete Slab

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – As the regularly scheduled meeting of the Grapeland City Council got underway, the first order of business addressed by the council concerned the designation of an administration service provider for the 2017-2018 Texas Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Development Fund application and project implementation.

Mayor Balis Dailey said there were two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) received by the city. One was from RKV (Raymond K. Van) and the other was from Grant Works. The evaluations of the received RFPs “… consisted of new rules. Instead of making up our own, we used what the State of Texas gave us. We qualified these based on these rules and the scoring they gave us. In that scoring, the winner was Grant Works. The biggest difference between the two was the price. RKV was at 15 percent and Grant Works was at 9.5 percent for the administrative fee. Out of a possible 100, Grant Works scored 98.”

A motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved to designate Grant Works as the administration service provider.

The next item concerned the designation of an engineering firm for the Texas CDBG Development Fund application and project related engineering services. Mayor Dailey informed those in attendance the city had received three RFPs. These were from: KSA Engineering; Goodwin, Lasiter and Strong; and Schaumberg and Polk, Inc.

“All three of these were very strong engineering companies. When the grading was finished, however, there were not a whole lot of points separating anybody. The results showed Schaumberg and Polk, Inc. scored the best,” Dailey said.

A motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved to designate Schaumberg and Polk, Inc. as the engineering service provider.

As the meeting continued, a bit of controversy developed. The Grapeland Chamber of Comgrapeland-city-council-09merce had received a petition to move the Peanut Festival Friday night dance back to Main St. Dailey said he had looked into it extensively but could not recommend the re-location based on liability as well as security concerns.

As an alternative, the Grapeland Chamber of Commerce created a dance floor near the bandstand in the Grapeland City Park. Other than Dailey, no one on the city council claimed to have known about pouring of a concrete slab to serve as a dance floor.

Councilman Jimmy Moffett said, “Someone asked me is that the Chamber of Commerce Park or the City of Grapeland Park?”

Dailey replied, “It is the City of Grapeland’s park, however, I accepted it.”

Council member Emilie Cunningham questioned his decision and commented, “I thought we had to vote on that.”

She added, “We still have to police the park.”

“We have the liability (coverage) at the park under the Chamber of Commerce,” Dailey replied.

“I worked out there until midnight (last year) and I only saw one or two couples go out there. Nobody goes to the park,” Cunningham said.

“I was there with you, but it’s a done deal. It doesn’t matter. We have the concrete slab. If you vote tonight to approve moving it (the dance) make sure you’re the ones who have their names on the liability. You’re going to liable, I think,” Dailey said.

After several more minutes of discussion a motion was made to leave the dance at the park.

Cunningham commented, “I don’t think they should have poured a slab without running it by us first.”

A few more moments of discussion were held and the motion was seconded. The vote showed three in favor, one against (Cunningham) and one abstention (Justin Lumbreraz.) A second motion was also made to accept the donation of the slab from the Chamber and passed by a 4-1 margin. Cunningham voted against the measure.

The council deliberated a few more agenda items and then retired into an hour long executive session. When they emerged from behind closed doors, a motion was made and approved to continue to allow Dailey to negotiate a real estate transaction for the possible re-location of a new business in Grapeland.

The next item pertained to holiday pay for Police Officer Johnny Romo and a motion was approved to continue the city’s regular pay scale.

The last item of business concerned the acceptance of the resignation of Municipal Judge Kathy Bush. A motion was regretfully made and approved to accept her resignation. Dailey was asked about the judge’s resignation and he replied, “She has a bunch of grandkids and she told me she just wants to be free to travel the country and see my grandchildren. She will stay on until the end of the month.”

After the meeting had adjourned, Grapeland resident Harry Pridgen announced there would be a job fair at the Grapeland Public Library for Brookshire Brothers. “The first day will be for management type people. The second day will be for the general help where you meet with them, interview with them and they will call the people from that group back on the third day who they have selected to be hired.”

In other matters brought before the council:

  • It was reported the Municipal Court collected a total of $6,910.29 comprised of $3,788.82 in city revenue, $2,309.92 in state revenue and $811.95 in delinquent fees. There were 17 citations written, 29 total dispositions, 5 warrants issued and four three pro capias fines issued.
  • Grapeland Police Officer Ronnie Howell reported the department responded to 35 calls during the month of August, with six of the calls consisting of a Class B misdemeanor or above. Officer Howell further reported there were 66 traffic stops during the month with 28 citations and 38 warnings issued.
  • Grapeland Fire Chief Roger Dickey reported the Grapeland Fire Department responded to five fire alarms during the month of August. There were also nine EMS calls during the month.
  • Public Works Director Sean Wiley reported the city used 8,710,000 gallons of water from the municipality’s water wells and 1,850,000 from the lake. There were 10,045,000 gallons of water sold during the month of August and 3,579,800 gallons of wastewater were treated, for a daily average of 115,447 gallons. He further reported the lab analysis of the city’s water was well within the allowable standards and there was one water leak.
  • The council gave its approval to the Grapeland Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) in regard to Community Development Grant in the amount of $5,000 for a new business known as Sandieland Designs.
  • The council also approved a GEDC Community Development Grant to the Grapeland Public Library in the amount of $5,325.
  • A proclamation for the upcoming 2016 Constitution Week (Sept. 17 -23) was approved by the council.
  • The monthly profit and loss statement, budget adjustments and the payment of current invoices were approved by the council. The minutes of the Aug. 9, 18, 25 and Sept. 1 meetings were also approved.

 Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

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