City Council Meeting Recap – 09/20/2011

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Invocation – Led by Police Chief Robert Brown

Pledge of Allegiance – Led by City Secretary Dara Crabtree

Recognition of Visitors/Proclamations/Presentations

Mayor David Green presented Board member Carol Leach a recognition for her six years of service on the Park & Recreation Advisory Board.

Citizens Public Comment Period

James Hubener commended some council members who were brave enough to weather criticism about their decisions and for being brave enough to change their decisions and question employee raises.

Name was not given (representing Toshio’s) asked for the council’s assistance with their rent at Main Station.  They were under the understanding that 30% of the rent came back to the City as they were partial owners of the property and asked for assistance in dealing with the management company with landscape and building improvements.  City Manager Kent Cagle informed her that the City did not receive any money from the rent, that the Economic Development Corporation was a 30% owner in the property, but no money was received unless funds from profits were shared and that no money was received as of yet.

Geraldine White stated that everyone needed to stop bashing the President because of unemployment, that the city was not doing anything about it either.  That she was trying to start a small business and that she did not have to ask for money and that they city needed to do more to create jobs.

Cindy Jones told the council that citizens were coming to the meeting because “we are watching you.” Told the council that they were wasting time and resources and kept asking questions that they had already received the answers for. Employees deserve the increase in pay and that the employees went away from the last meeting thinking they would get a raise and now the council was talking like they had changed their mind.

Editors Note: This comes from the workshop held on September 12 by the city council to discuss raises, car allowances and cell phone allowances that were in the proposed budget.  The meeting was well attended by employees, as well as citizens.  At the meeting the council directed the city staff to bring a budget for approval that included the 3% merit raise package that Cagle had presented, as well as the continuation of the long standing car allowances and cell phone allowances received by some employees. 

Jeff Burton stated that he didn’t believe that the 3% that Cagle recommended was enough and would like to see employees paid more.  He went on to state that the council could not continue to compare what the council and citizens made to what employees are paid. He also went on to say that “I think we’ve beaten the car allowance issue to death.”

Consent Agenda

1C. Approval of minutes

2C. Approval of two year agreement with Valley View Consulting, LLC for professional investment and advisory services.

3C. Approval of City of Duncanville investment policy

4C. Approval of authorized dealers and financial institutions.

5C. Approval of Resolution No. 2011-092005 adopting a fund balance policy under Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 54; providing for the repeal of any and all resolutions in conflict; providing a severability clause; and providing an effective date.

6C. Approval of Amendment No. 4 to the Household Hazardous Waste Interlocal Agreement between Dallas County and the City of Duncanville and a Solid Waste Fund expenditure in the amount of $75,440 for participation in the Household Hazardous Waste Network for FY 11-12.

7C. Approval of Ordinance No. 2150 amending the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and map, as heretofore amended, to amend the existing “I-l” Light Industrial Zoning, to grant a Specific Use Permit to allow a museum on Lot 1, Block A, of the DeFord Addition, more commonly known as 1050 North Duncanville Road in the City of Duncanville, Dallas County, Texas; providing special conditions; providing repealing, savings, and severability clauses; and providing a penalty of fine not to exceed the sum of two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) for each offense.

Scott Cannon made the motion and Grady Smithey seconded to approve the consent agenda.  The vote was 7-0.

8. Consider approval of Ordinance No. 2151 approving and adopting a budget for the City for the fiscal year October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012 and providing the expenditures for said fiscal year shall be made in accordance with said budget.

Smithey motioned and Cannon seconded to approve the budget as presented by Kent Cagle.

What came next was a 2-hour plus discussion on the budget.

Smithey pointed out the council had already spent a long time going over the budget and that at the workshop the council had told staff to prepare a budget for adoption that included the 3% raise.  To do anything else would be a break in faith with the employees.

Don Freeman said that he was not given sufficient opportunity to discuss and that in this economy we can’t afford to give an across the board raise.

Mayor David Green remarked that previous years the council had to agonize over balancing budgets. That this year the Texas Municipal Retirement System had recalculated and lowered the city’s rate resulting in a $900,000.00 return to the city from cutting the updated service credits and the annual cost of living adjustments to the retirees.  Only one-third of the money was being used for a raise and the remainder was being used to balance the budget.

Thomas expressed concern over what she perceived as over optimistic collection rates for the ad valorem taxes that was set at 99%, and that we had less money in the proposed budget than the previous year.  She asserted that the only way to get the 3% was to over-inflate the bottom line or to make drastic cuts in other places.  She pointed out that there were line items that were unfunded, while they had money in previous years.  Cagle pointed out that some of the line items she was looking at were not in the general fund budget and that the municipal budget is built from zero every year and that departments might not require as much money to run this year as they did the previous years because of lower equipment and maintenance costs. Thomas went on to express concern that for the citizens the city holds off on raises until the economy turns around.  Finance Director Richard Summerlin explained that the 99% collection rate is based upon the collection rate so far, and that rate is what the city is experiencing currently.

Freeman amended the motion to a 3% raise for anyone making less than $65,000.00 a year and was not receiving a car allowance, that current car allowances be frozen and reviewed in six months, and that cell phone allowances be a flat $40, except for the chief of police and the fire chief. This was seconded by Leslie Thomas

Cannon said that it should be fairly clear what is going on, and that the conflict is over whether the council values the city employees or not. That there is a misunderstanding of the budget process and that there is not a funding issue for the $300,000.00 needed for employee raises.

Johnette Jameson said “the point is that we need to be good stewards of the taxpayers money.  Now is not the time to spend money”.

Smithey expressed dismay over some of the council’s actions. “We’re not talking about protecting our taxpayers. We are trying to figure out a way to diminish our higher salary earners.”  Smithey also talked about the demeanor on the council. “The lack of civility on this council is another problem,“ he said. “The one undisputable fact is that we can give a 3% raise without raising taxes.”

Councilmember Janet Harris gave her support to the 3% raise, but did express she had issues with giving raises to some of the higher salary earners.

After a lengthy discussion about how the amended motion would affect civil service employees, the amendment was voted and was defeated by a vote of 4-3 with Cannon, Green, Harris, and Smithey voting against the amendment.  A vote was then held on the motion of the budget as presented by Kent Cagle and it passed by a vote of 4-3 with Freeman, Thomas, and Jameson voting against.

A brief recess was called after the two hour discussion.

9. Consider approval of Ordinance No. 2152 levying the ad valorem taxes for the year 2011 at a rate of $0.737692 per one hundred dollars ($100.00) assessed valuation on all taxable property within the corporate limits of the City as of January 1, 2011; to provide an interest and sinking fund on all outstanding debts of the City; and, providing for due and delinquent dates together with penalties and interest.

Motion made by Cannon and Smithey seconded to approve as presented and was passed by a vote of 7-0.

10. Consider approval of Ordnance No. 2153 creating classified positions under civil service in the police and fire departments; providing for a pay scale under civil service; and repealing all ordinance in conflict herewith.

Motion made by Cannon and Smithey seconded to approve as presented and was passed by a vote of 7-0.

11. Consider approval of Ordinance No. 2154 amending the Code of Ordinances by amending Chapter 20, “Water, Sewer and Sewage Disposal”, by amending Section 20-16 “Rates Established, Determination by Meter Readings”, Article II, “Water Service Charges”, by repealing Subsections (A) and (B) in its entirety and replacing with new Subsections (A) and (B) in its entirety and replacing with new Subsections (A) and (B) to provide new water rates for residential, multi-family, commercial, irrigation, school and municipal customers; and, by repealing Subsections (E)(1) through (E)(5) in its entirety and replacing with new Subsections (E)(1) through (E)(5) to provide new variable wastewater rates for residential, multi-family, commercial, school, and municipal customers; and, providing repealing, savings, and severability clauses.

Motion made by Cannon and Smithey seconded to approve as presented.

Jameson stated that she did not agree with the rise in the rates.  The item failed by a vote of 3-4 with Freeman, Thomas, Harris, and Jameson voting against.  The rates from fiscal year 2010-2011 will remain in place.

12. Consider approval of Ordinance NO. 2155 approving and adopting a budget for the distribution of hotel/motel tax receipts for the fiscal year October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2011.

Smithey made the motion and Thomas seconded to approve the item.  Wesley Jameson addressed the council and stated that he believed that Janet Harris should not be allowed to vote on item 15 due to her position as first vice-chair on the Chamber of Commerce.  The city attorney researched the ethics ordinance and agreed.  The item was voted on and passed 6-0.

13.  Consider approval of hotel occupancy tax grant agreement with Duncanville Community Theatre for use of hotel/motel receipts for FY 11-12.

Smithey made the motion and Jameson seconded, the item passed by a vote of 6-1 with Thomas voting against.

14. Consider approval of hotel occupancy tax grant agreement with International Museum of Cultures for use of hotel/motel receipts for FY 11-12.

Jameson made the motion and Thomas seconded, the item passed by a vote of 5-2 with Freeman and Smithey voting against.

15. Consider approval of hotel occupancy tax grant agreement with Duncanville Chamber of Commerce for use of hotel/motel receipts for FY 11-12.

Smithey made the motion and Cannon seconded this item.  Harris stated that she would be following the rules and not voting, but reminded the council that a prior council member was on the chamber executive board and voted regarding funding a chamber project.  The vote resulted in a tie vote of 3-3 and the motion failed.

16. Consider approval of Resolution No. 201-092016 adopting a master fee schedule and approving fee increase for FY 11-12.

With the defeat of item 11, changes were made to the master fee and Cannon moved for approval, with Smithey seconding.  The vote was 6-1 to approve with Smithey voting against.

17. Consider approval of Ordinance No. 2156 amending the Code of Ordinances, by amending Chapter 19, Article 1, Section 19-1, and adopting Chapter 19, Article III, to restrict idling of vehicle for the purpose of controlling air pollution from motor vehicles; providing savings and severability clauses; and providing a penalty of fine not to exceed the sum of five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each offense.

Cannon made the motion to approve, seconded by Smithey.  Thomas expressed concern that this was a new development in the law and most municipalities have not adopted this and would rather see the state and county lead the way.  Smithey pointed out that this effort was being championed by the North Texas Council of Governments representing 16 counties in north Texas. The council voted 5-2 to pass with Thomas and Harris voting against.

18. Consider approval of Resolution No. 2011-092018 authorizing the Mayor and City Manager to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on behalf of the City of Duncanville, Texas, with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to implement and enforce locally the Texas State Rule on motor vehicle idling limitations; and providing an effective date.

Cannon made the motion to approve, seconded by Smithey.  Thomas expressed the same concern as she did on the previous item.  The council voted 5-2 to approve with Thomas and Harris voting against.

19. Discuss City policy regarding credit cards and credit card charges from October 2010 through August 2011.

Cagle presented how the city uses the purchasing and travel cards and the steps taken to insure they were used correctly.  Duncanville uses the card on only 1% of purchases. Thomas questions a large number of expenditures for all less than $90 each.  Assistant City Manager Jeanne Fralicks explained that a great number of those purchases had been made for the Annual Employee Christmas party and it included decoration, door prizes, and other items.  The city had a budget of $6,100 including cost for food and typically less than $1,000.00 was used on decorations and gifts.  Thomas said that it may not be “wise to take $6,100.00 from the taxpayers for a Christmas party.”

20.  Discuss any and all matters related to legal fees and services provided by Nichols, Jackson, Dillard, Hager & Smith.

Cagle explained that the law firm provided several resources for the city.  Besides legal counsel to the city council, they also provided a prosecutor for city court, answered questions for the city staff regarding legal matters and to proof city ordinances and contracts.  He also said that they sometimes are asked to write the ordinances and contracts for particularly complicated cases.

James Hubener commented on the length of time the firm had been with the city and expressed concern over the direction that they had been given by the firm.

21. Schedule workshop and town hall meeting regarding redistricting.

During the briefing session a workshop was scheduled for October 3, 2011 at 7PM in the council briefing room with a Town Hall meeting set for October 17, 2011 at 7PM at the library.

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

Cannon commented on the “elephant in the room.” That there was a systematic dismantling of the city government as we know it. He said that some had orchestrated mistrust and asked if they were going to be allowed to continue.  He then thanked Dara Crabtree for the job she did as City Secretary as she will be moving to a new position.

Smithey seconded what had been said about Dara and commented on the passing of Tom Rozier. Smithey also commented on the production of Then There Were None at the Duncanville Community Theatre.  He also acknowledged the upcoming birthday of his wife Judy and their anniversary. He also said that he had not received the legal determination on the board member removal that he had asked for in the previous meeting and what a possible remedy might be.  He also expressed concern over a possible conspiracy to violate the open meetings act.

Jameson addressed the possible conspiracy to vacate the Economic Development Board as the “kettle calling the pot black,” and that just because there were differing viewpoints does not mean there is a conspiracy.

The meeting was then adjourned.

One Response to City Council Meeting Recap – 09/20/2011

  1. I would love to see a few on the city council discuss their own phone allowances. Or their taxpayer funded trips to conferences.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 10:31 am