By Will Johnson
ELKHART – It didn’t take long for the sparks to fly during the Elkhart City Council meeting held on Monday, March 18.
Councilmember Lucia Butler led off the city’s public forum and before many of the spectators could get settled in their seats, she alleged “… a candidate (for city council) is using this office and city personnel to attempt to smear another candidate’s spouse. This (city) office is neutral territory. If you want to smear someone else’s spouse, you do it through the mail or you do it personally. You do not use this office or the personnel to do that, in my opinion.”
Next up was former Mayor Pro Tem Randy McCoy. He informed the council on the previous Friday, March 15, he was provided a document by a councilmember.
“The document I was given was a legal document directly related to my personal finances and it was dated from 1999. After reviewing this legal document, I noticed my full social security number was fully visible along with account numbers,” McCoy said.
McCoy went on to say he had been advised “… the distribution of this information was against both federal and state law. I spoke with (City Secretary) Carla (Sheridan) and she stated that (former councilman) Billy Jack Wright had brought the document to the city office and requested a copy be distributed to each council person.”
He added Sheridan was not at the office when the document was delivered and that another employee had placed the documents in the council boxes.
As he continued, McCoy explained he had distributed copies of the original document from 1999 to the council members as well as the copy which had been recently given out.
He said if you compared the two it was easy to tell “… the document Billy Jack Wright handed out was altered and that I owe the city $7,500 which is not true. Also, if you look at it, the font is not even the same size as the rest of the page. I have never owed the city of Elkhart anything other than water sewage and garbage and I’ve always paid it. This document is falsified.”
Following the public forum, the first order of business addressed concerned the opening of sealed bids for new vehicles purchases for the Public Works Department. It turned out only one bid was received and after a lengthy discussion, the bid from All-Star Ford was approved.
Once the vehicle discussion concluded, Financial Adviser Joey Dierker – from Hilltop Securities – spoke to the council about funding options for the city on Texas Commission on Environmental Quality mandated system repairs.
Dierker presented three possible plans. The first involved funding a $2.5 million initiative, the second was for $3.5 million and the third was for $5 million.
According to Dierker, the financial tool used in funding the $2.5 million initiative would not result in a utility rate increase. At the $3.5 million level, it would result in a rate increase of $8.75 per water connection. At the $5 million level, the cost increase would be $17.25 per connection. The matter was tabled for further consideration.
Immediately after Dierker’s presentation, the council adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel matters. Just over an hour later, the council reconvened in open session and voted to invite applicants to interview for field positions. The council also tabled an agenda item concerning the hiring of a city administrator.
As the meeting continued, an ordinance establishing guidelines for manufactured homes was approved by the council. The ordinance would prohibit any type of mobile home fashioned prior to 1976 from being brought into the city limits. The ordinance will also require HUD code standards, skirting and inspections on utilities must be conducted.
In other matters brought before the Elkhart City Council:
- An ordinance establishing guidelines for subdivisions in the city of Elkhart was tabled for further consideration.
- A discussion about prices from KSA Engineers for extending sewer lines in the city of Elkhart was tabled for further consideration.
- A date for audit findings was established by the council.
- Financial reports for February 2019 were approved.
- April 13 was designated as a clean-up day for the city of Elkhart.
- Sheridan Street on the north side of the school was renamed as NW Sheridan Street “… so that the city can accurately address each school house for 911 services and better record.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.