Duncanville City Council Meeting Recap – December 6, 2011

Filed under: City |

In Attendance:

  • Mayor David Green

    Councilmember Grady Smithey

  • At-Large Councilmember Janet Harris
  • District 1 Councilmember Don Freeman
  • District 2 Councilmember/Mayor Pro Tem Scott Cannon
  • District 3 Councilmember Leslie Thomas
  • District 4 Councilmember Grady Smithey
  • District 5 Councilmember Johnette Jameson

REVISED AGENDA

Invocation

Pledge of Allegiance

Mayor’s Report

Recognition of Visitors / Proclamations / Presentations

Citizens Public Comment Period

[Each speaker will be allowed two (2) minutes to address the council.]

Cindy Jones – Spoke on the timeline of why she filed the ethics violation when she did, in response to questions posed by Jameson at the meeting on 11/15.

She gave the following timeline: (Ms. Jones provided a copy of her statement to MyDuncanville.com and the following is from that statement.)

“9/20 – Council discussed the use of city credit cards for the employee holiday party, questioning the pounds of grapes purchased.

At the following session, the humility of city employees continued so I asked the question about accountability for council conference expenditures & the mechanism for reporting what was learned for the expenses. No one responded.

This led me to 10/6; I initiated an open records request for council travel/mileage expenditures/reimbursements and any policy changes. Request to include all council members past and current from 2008-2011.

10/19 I paid $74.00 for the copies and began my research to look at spending averages, to identify some best practices and find areas of improvement that are more in-line with the requirements of City Staff travel.

When I found 2 NLC trips were not in-line with necessary reimbursement claims, my project took a new direction. I spent about 30 hours over the next
couple weeks looking into every detail, compiling sources of evidence to support the summary.

11/6 & 11/9 I emailed all council members to ask for my review to be added to the 11/15 agenda.

I had no response from any councilmember.

11/11 as I was filing my complaint at City Hall, I overheard that a councilmember was veraciously calling from the Arizona NLC Conference to find out if my request had been added to the agenda. That councilmember was certainly worried about my request.

(at this time, Jones’ two minutes expired, but Jeff Burton turned in a card and read the remainder of her statement for her).

11/15 Council referred to my complaint as the Salem Witch Hunt. Council also stated, “If guilty then we’ll address it”

To answer the question from council of why now – because NOW is when I found it.

No one added it to the agenda so the complaint was my next step.

This complaint isn’t about ‘Whom’.

This is about true accountability.

The evidence is black and white.”

Christina Lee addresses the city council

Christina Lee spoke about an issue with Code Enforcement and had questions regarding their process. Steve Miller, Public Works Director, advised that he would contact Ms. Lee about her concerns.

CONSENT ITEM

1C. Approval of minutes.

2C. Approval of a General Fund expenditure in the amount of $76,795 for the purchase of library books and materials.

3C. Award of bid to TrueGreen LandCare and an expenditure in the amount of $234,041.92 for a two-year mowing maintenance contract of City parks, medians,
rights-of-Way, and economic development lots.

4C. Approval of a DCEDC expenditure in the amount of $3,500.00 for a paint grant for property located at 107 S. Cedar Ridge Drive.

5C. Approval of a DCEDC expenditure in the amount of $3,553.84 for a landscape grant for property located at 107 S. Cedar Ridge Drive.

6C. Accept letter of resignation from Certified Retirement Community Oversight Committee member Bob Jones.

Item 3 was pulled from the consent agenda to be discussed separately. Cannon moved to approve the remaining consent items with Smithey seconding. Passed by a vote of 7-0.

REPORTS/RECOMMENDATIONS/REQUESTS

  1. Award of bid to TrueGreen LandCare and an expenditure in the amount of $234,041.92 for a two-year mowing maintenance contract of City parks, medians, rights-of-Way, and economic development lots.

Thomas asked that this item be pulled so that Parks Director Shane Gravens could highlight the job the city is doing to cut costs. Gravens explained that the $81,000 savings was due to several factors; including the drought creating more interest from vendors. He went on to explain that competition was higher this year as they received 10-15 bids, when normally there are 3-4 bids. He also explained that the Parks Department had undertaken the project to more accurately account for the exact amount of parkland to cut costs where possible.

  1. Public hearing to consider amendments to Article XII-L, “DD” Downtown Duncanville District, of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to consider a text change amendment to the approval process from Board of Adjustment to the Planning & Zoning Commission or a newly created board, providing for creation and/or appointment of such board.

This is to consider either a new appeal board in regards to the Downtown District Zoning Ordinances or referring these appeals back to the Planning and Zoning Commission. Mike Brownlee, Assistant Director of Public Works, explained that the Planning and Zoning Commission felt that they were already an existing board and were well equipped and trained to hear these appeals.

James Hubener speaks to the Council

Citizen James Hubener spoke in opposition to the change due to necessity and concerns over exclusionary language.

No other speakers came forward and the public hearing was closed.

  1. Consider directing staff on proposed amendments to Article X11-L, “DD” Downtown Duncanville District, of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to consider a text change amendment to the approval process from Board of Adjustment to the Planning & Zoning Commission or a newly created board, providing for creation and/ or appointment of such board.

Smithey made the motion to move all appeals on the Downtown District to Planning and Zoning and Cannon seconded.

Cannon asked the city attorney for opinion on exclusionary statements and she advised that she didn’t see the issue as a problem.

Thomas said that she thought the appeals should stay with the Board of Adjustments and to give them training on the code and that despite Planning and Zoning knowing the code better than the Board of Adjustments, they were not familiar with the process.

Smithey stated that the Board of Adjustments has always been instructed to tightly safeguard against variances when possible, and that this would stifle innovation, when that district calls for innovative thinking.

Cannon reminded that Thomas was the one that brought up the move to Planning and Zoning because the Board of Adjustments was outside of their expertise.

Thomas clarified that she did support the new board and then the Planning and Zoning Commission presented why they should and could handle this, and they made a compelling argument.

Thomas pointed out that the safeguard in place for the Board of Adjustments is not in place for the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Jameson agreed with Thomas.

Freeman stated that the Board of Adjustments had never been in favor of the special zoning.

Smithey reminded the council that the buildings were old and many special exceptions will be needed and it would be difficult for the Board of Adjustments to consider this.

Cannon said that the Board of Adjustments deals with variances and that they would need a lot of specialized training on what the council was trying to achieve in the district.

Thomas stated that it came down to weighing the issues. The Board of Adjustments was trained in hearing issues, that they were a board trained to do so, and that understanding the differences between variances and special exceptions can be trained.

Green asked why the Planning and Zoning Commission couldn’t be trained and leave the Board of Adjustments to handle variances.

Jameson stated that the Planning and Zoning Commission didn’t want another group, but that they weren’t concerned about the Board of Adjustments handling this.

Freeman said that he supported the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing the appeals because the only recourse is county court if it goes to the Board of Adjustments.

Harris agreed with Freeman.

Motion passed 5-2 with Thomas and Jameson voting against.

  1. Discuss and consider amendment to the City Council Rules of Procedure to provide for acceptance of board and commission resignations.

Thomas asked the City Attorney to explain what is required by state law and is was explained that election law only concerns elected official and there is no state law concerning boards and commissions members.

Thomas made a motion that once notification is received by the City Secretary of a resignation of an unexpired term from a city board or commission, that the resignation become effectively immediately and the city council is to be notified. This was seconded by Harris and the motion passed unanimously.

  1. Consider approval of legal services agreement with McKa1nie Krueger, LLP.

Smithey moved for approval and Jameson seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

  1. Consider approval of contract with Strategic Government Resources for City Manager Executive Search Firm Services.

Smithey made the motion for approval of the contract with the agreed removal of one stipulation, and Cannon seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

  1. Receive Capital Projects Quarterly Report.

Public Works Director Steve Miller gave the following report:

  • Project to replace the asphalt alley with concrete east of Steger Dr, South of Camp Wisdom Road started July 25, 2011 and is projected 99% complete.
  • Phase I (Center to Davis) and Phase II (Nance to Center/Davis to Carder) of the Main Street reconstruction is substantially complete except for the rebuilding of some barrier-free ramps to meet grade requirement.
  • Water/Wastewater improvements on Roma Drive between North Greenstone Lane and West Ridge Drive will upgrade the 6″ cast iron water line to 8″ PVC, addition and/or relocation of several fire hydrants, and replace 6″ and 8″ clay tile wastewater line with 8″ PVC.
  • North Main Street 5.0 Million Gallon Submersible Mixer Installation work started December 5.
  • Bentle Branch TRA relief Line on Parkview Drive, Lakeview Circle and Cedar Hill Road. Project is 99% complete with pavement repairs on Cedar Hill Road started November 28, 2011 and should be completed in January 2012.
  • Wintergreen Road Intersection Improvements Engineering plans are 60% complete. Dallas County scheduling a public hearing, Dallas Water Utilities will install a large water pipeline on this project and will participate in right-of-way costs and Cedar Hill and DeSoto reconfirmed commitment to project.
  • Eastbound IH-20 Service Road from Main Street to Camp Wisdom on the south side of the highway is still in Austin under review with $5M RTR funds authorized.
  • Highway 57 Bottleneck Project is 67% complete and is scheduled for completion in January 2012.
  • Spur 408 and Clark Road TxDOT project is 80% complete and is estimated for completion in February 2012. This will increase traffic mobility with a ramp from E/B I-20 to Clark Road.
  1. Consider ratifying City Manager appointment to the Civil Service Commission.

Interim City Manager Jeanne Fralicks advised that her appointment was John Marks. Marks retired from the Duncanville Police Department after 31 years with 20 years of service as Assistant Chief and was considered the foremost expert on Civil Service law. Cannon made the motion to ratify with Jameson seconding. The motion passed 7-0.

  1. Receive presentation and consider approval of an advertisement in the Best Southwest edition of Business Images.

Hurchel Williams made a presentation to the council on the city’s advertisement last year and explained that they were sanctioned to provide a publication to the city and chamber to mail to prospective new residents and businesses moving to the city. The publication is also provided to relocation services. The estimated distribution is 25,000 to 30,000 copies.

Harris informed that the reason this was being discussed was of the necessary timing and that the 4B Board would be making the decision about advertising.

  1. Discuss and consider amending the City Council Rules of Procedure to provide that all city reimbursed travel plans and/ or commitments by anyCity Council member must be pre-approved by a majority vote of the City Council until a more comprehensive travel policy can be reviewed and established.

Item pulled for workshop.

  1. Discuss and consider adoption of an ordinance stating that no member of the City Council may use or have access to any city issued credit card Without approval by a majority vote of the City Council.

Item pulled for workshop.

  1. Recess into Executive Session pursuant to:
    1. G. C. Section 55 1 .O7l(2), Consultation with Attorney, regarding land donation of approximately 5.9 acres at the northeast corner of W. Wheatland Road and S. Venice Drive (Lot 1A and 2A, Block H, Cedar Ridge Addition).
    2. G. C. Section 551.074, Personnel Matters, regarding Code of Ethics complaint filed by Cindy Jones.

The open meeting was reconvened at 9:12PM.

  1. Consider authorizing execution of documents for land donation of approximately 5.9 acres at the northeast corner of W. Wheatland Road and S. Venice Drive (Lot 1A and 2A, Block H, Cedar Ridge Addition).

Freeman made the motion to authorize the City Manager to execute all documents pertaining to transferring the title for property to the City of Duncanville. Jameson seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously.

  1. Discuss and determine if further action is required regarding the Code of Ethics complaint filed by Cindy Jones and consider directing staff accordingly.

Mayor David Green issued the following statement from the council.

“The City Attorney has expressed concerns about whether Section 2-543(14), which prohibits engaging in conduct damaging to the city could withstand a void-for-vagueness challenge and whether Section 2-58 provides adequate due process procedures. To address the issues in the complaint, the City Council is going to conduct a workshop to amend the Code of Ethics to make it more specific and to develop a comprehensive travel policy to clarify standards for travel expenses.

The council, therefore, considers this matter concluded.”

Wesley Jameson spoke and said he appreciated the consideration given the matter.

  1. Consider any other action necessary pursuant to discussion in Executive Session.

No other items.

  1. Councilmember Reports – Items of community interest regarding which no action will be taken, as authorized by Section 551.0415 of the Government Code.

Smithey thanked Diane Dillworth, long-time school employee who received a Keep Duncanville Curb Appeal award, for assisting his daughter when she was graduating from high school in receiving the Presidential Scholarship Award that allowed her to attend SMU and opened doors for her.

Thomas thanked the city staff for the city Christmas parade. She also thanked the past council members and past mayor for their vision about what Main Street could be.

Cannon – Echoed Thomas’ thanks for a successful event and wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Freeman – commented on agenda item number 18, pointed out that the land was across from Rotary Park, and would be cleaned up.

Jameson – Reminded that there is a reason for the season and wished Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Harris also echoed the sentiments and added a Happy Kwanzaa.

Green said that last Friday night they (Main Street merchants) saw what Main Street could be, that Duncanville is a first tier/first ring city, and if cities like Duncanville don’t reinvent themselves they die. Green also wished a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2 Responses to Duncanville City Council Meeting Recap – December 6, 2011

  1. I really wish you would not put First Baptist Duncanville’s information on this paticular page of your website. I think our pastor trys very hard to stay away from politics, and on this page, I think it is too controversial. Does he really realize where you have this listed?

    Sincerely,
    ~Melissa Felts

    Melissa Felts
    Monday, December 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    • The staff at the church is aware that the ads appear on every page of the website. The article you are referring to is not political in nature, it simply lays out the events and facts of what happened at the meeting. In addition, several area pastors, including First Baptist Church Pastor Keith Brister have prayed before these same meetings. If the article were to editorialize the events of do something besides report the facts, then I could see objections being raised. But again, this is simply reporting the facts of what happened at the council meeting.

      admin
      Monday, December 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm