Announcements, Presentations and Public Hearings
Lt. Brian Gordon of the Big Spring Police Department was thanked and recognized as the August Star Employee. He was recognized for his willingness to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic and was also thanked for filling in the Emergency Management role since May 2020 when the previous Emergency Management Coordinator for the area announced his retirement. Lt. Gordon has served in this position for the past few months while continuing his duties as Administrative Lieutenant for BSPD.
First Christian Church donated $1,000 to BSPD for the purchase of new medical equipment for Self Aid/Buddy Aid (SABA) Kits.
City Manager’s Report
Animal Shelter A/C Update – Majority of bids are in for this project and job is expected to begin this week. City Manager Todd Darden advised that insulation will be added and there is money in the budget to do so.
Aquatic Center Update – Russ McEwen Family Aquatic Center closed on August 2, 2020. In the short time it was open it had over 6,000 visitors.
Census 2020 Update – Reminder to complete census for 2020 will be added to water bills beginning next billing cycle. Encouraged citizens to complete it so because it ensures that the City of Big Spring receives its fair share of allocation dollars from the federal and state level programs that are offered through the census.
School Zone Reminder – Be cognizant of driving in school zones.
Kentwood School Traffic Control Devices – Issues in this area. Devices have been placed; study has been completed to see if 20 mph speed limit is what they want to implement for all residential neighborhoods of City of Big Spring. Pointed out that city ordinance says if speed limit is 30 mph, no speed limit signs need to be posted. Speed limit is 30 mph in residential neighborhoods. More studies will be conducted in the area. Spoke on several ideas to control traffic, such as speed bumps/humps, narrowing vehicle lanes, and rumble strips in the road. City Attorney Andrew Hagen offered advice on legalities of placing certain traffic control devices.
All items approved together, except for the following items:
#15 - City Council Minutes for Special Meeting on August 2, 2020 were approved, however, the minutes for the Regular Meeting of July 20, 2020 were not. Camilla Strande, District 5, motioned for this item to be tabled because there were some things that were missing and the video for the meeting was not listed on the website to find what was missing. This item was tabled with a 7-0 vote.
#18 – Final reading of a resolution amending Chapter IX of the Big Spring Personnel Policy entitled “Conduct,” to add a new Section 7 entitled “Relations with Mayor and City Council,” in order to establish standards for relations between city council and staff; and providing an effective date.
Big Spring Mayor Shannon Thomason stated that he had done some research and found that there was an Attorney General opinion on the matter. He read, “Since the governmental body of this instance the board of trustees of the district, at least instructively, maintains records in the district’s possessions, we believe that logically follows that a member of that board has an inherent right of access of such records at least when he requests them in his official capacity.”
Thomason stated that since there was an opinion on this, he submitted a request for an opinion from the Attorney General on the resolution in question. He then motioned that council postpone indefinitely until they receive a response from the Attorney General’s Office. The motion was seconded by Doug Hartman, District 2.
After receiving input from the City Attorney at the request of Jim DePauw, District 6, the Mayor was advised that the Attorney General does not accept requests from cities, and he’d have to go through a county official to submit it on the city’s behalf. Mayor Thomason then stated that after speaking with the Attorney General’s Office, he found that when there is a disaster declaration, cities can submit requests.
Camilla Strande, District 5, advised that “postponing indefinitely” in Roberts Rules is a way to say, “’I never want to talk about this again, because I’m trying to get rid of it.” She stated that she thought it would be a bad move and it was something that she could not support.
After reviewing the document that Thomason had read with the Attorney General’s opinion, Strande advised that the council has never challenged record requests, noting that the council had all agreed that they are entitled to these records. She pointed out that the information that the mayor had obtained had never been through a request.
“The issue, and reason why we had this ordinance to begin with, was because there was no official request and that was the issue. The mayor was getting access to information there was no request for,” stated Strande.
Thomason then found Strande out of order. “Councilwoman will not impugn the motives,” began Thomason.
“Not impugn if it’s a fact,” interrupted Strande. “It’s a fact that you took people’s phones without requests. It’s a fact.”
When taken to a vote, the motion to postpone item 18 indefinitely until a response was obtained from the Attorney General’s Office failed with a vote of 5-2 with only Thomason and Hartman voting for it.
A motion was made by DePauw and seconded by Strande to accept the final reading of the resolution (item 18). The item was approved with a 5-2 vote with Thomason and Hartman voting against.
Bid awarded to stop loss carrier, ISU/Companion Life, for an 8.52% increase in stop loss rates for FY20-21.
The tax rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year was presented by City Secretary Don Moore. During the meeting, it was noted that the City Manager had used the No-New-Revenue tax rate to create the city budget for the upcoming fiscal year. It should be noted that since councilmembers did not call for a public hearing for the proposed tax rate, there will not be an increase in the property tax rate for the City of Big Spring.
A public hearing on the proposed budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year will be held on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 5:30 PM in the City Council Chambers, 307 E. 4th St. in Big Spring.
An emergency reading of an ordinance calling for a special election to be held on November 3, 2020, for the purpose of voting for or against the recall of Councilmember Camilla Strande, District 5, was approved during last night’s meeting of the Big Spring City Council. The ordinance was approved as an emergency item and will not require a second reading. The ordinance also designating a polling place; authorized the Mayor to execute notice and have the notice posted for the purpose of notifying the public of said election; and provided for severability.
Other new business items approved by council were:
- first reading of an ordinance amendment that would restrict skill or pleasure coin-operated machines within 300 feet of a church, school, or hospital.
- an agreement with Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission;
- a warranty gift deed of the property located at 501 Runnels St. to West Texas Community Mediation Center.
The agreement with Cap Rock Holdings, LLC was tabled by the council.