Duncanville City Council Meeting Recap – October 4, 2011

Filed under: City |

The meeting was called to order by Mayor David Green.

After the invocation and pledge of allegiance to both flags, Mayor David Green, along with Mother Nature, presented the Keep Duncanville Beautiful Property of the Month Award to Freedom Dodge Chrysler Jeep located at 815 E. Camp Wisdom Road. After that presentation Mayor Green presented proclamations recognizing National Hospice/Palliative Care Month, and National Crime Prevention Month.

During the Public Comment Period the following persons spoke:

Jeff Burton commented on the need for a place for youngsters to express themselves.  “This (parkour or free-running) is  highly athletic and an art form.” He also commented that he thought the proposed ordinance (agenda item #9) was highly restrictive and he suggested that the city build something that the youth can use.

Wesley Jameson spoke on attending the redistricting workshop and said he was “appalled and embarrassed” over threats to take people to court over redistricting.

Geraldine White brought to the attention of the council that she was attempting to start a small business and felt he city was doing very little to help and that she had been in talks with Monte Anderson to get things going. She also spoke about the conduct at the last meeting and that “respect has to start her and stop here.”

Jeff Jones brought up the comments of some on the council had said they were here to be “good stewards of taxpayer money,” and that he wants to see receipts for the money that the council is costing.

Cindy Jones thanked the council for taking care of the employees.  She also said that Duncanville is the City of Champions and that champions need to take the lead and sometimes think outside the box.

Paul Garcia, Jesse Sanchez, DeAndre Jones, Edwin Rodriguez, Edward Rodriguez, and Victoria Rodriguez spoke on agenda item #9 and that parkour has been a positive impact on their lives. That because of this sport they are feeling better, healthier, and they spend their time outdoors and working out instead of staying inside and playing video games. That the sport has created a sense of family and created discipline in their lives.

Consent Items

1C. Approval of Minutes

2C. Approval of expenditure in the amount of $91,045.77 (Fleet Rotation Fund) for purchase of police patrol vehicles from Friendly Chevrolet LTD through the State of Texas Cooperative Purchasing Program

3C Approval of expenditure in the amount of $29,210.58 (Fleet Rotation Fund) for purchase of police sport utility vehicle from Sam Pack Five Star Ford, Inc. through the State of Texas Cooperative Purchasing Program.

4C. Approval of FY11-12 Mosquito Control Agreement with Dallas County and a General Fund expenditure in the amount of $2,500 for mosquito ground control services.

A motion to approve the consent items was made by Cannon and seconded by Smithey.  The council voted 7-0.

5. Public hearing to consider amendments to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance deleting pawn shops as permitted use from Article XII-F (“C-1” Light Commercial) and Article XII-G (“C-2” Heavy Commercial).

No one came to speak in favor or against. Smithey moved to close the hearing and Cannon seconded, passed by a vote of 7-0.

6. Consider directing staff on amendments to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance deleting pawn shops as permitted use from Article XII-F (“C-1” Light Commercial) and Article XII-G (“C-2” Heavy Commercial)

Smithey moved and Jameson seconded to direct the staff to prepare an ordinance amending Article XII-F (“C-1” Light Commercial) and Article XII-G (“C-2” Heavy Commercial) as recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Thomas questioned if the current pawn shops were “grandfathered” under the old ordinance (they are) and if they pawn shops were cooperating with police (they are).

Vote passed 7-0.

7. Public hearing to consider amending Appendix A, Article XXIII (“Definitions”). Of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to add a definition for “Check-Cashing/Pay Day Loan Facility”.

No one came to speak in favor or against. Smithey moved to close the hearing and Jameson seconded, passed by a vote of 7-0.

8. Consider directing staff on amending Appendix A, Article XXIII (“Definitions”). Of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to add a definition for “Check-Cashing/Pay Day Loan Facility”.

Smithey moved and Jameson seconded to direct the staff to prepare an ordinance amending Appendix A, Article XXIII (“Definitions”). Of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to add a definition for “Check-Cashing/Pay Day Loan Facility”. Passed by a vote of 7-0.

9. Consider approval of Ordinance No. 2157 amending Chapter 12B (“Parks”), Section 12B-1 (“Definitions”), to provide definitions for freerunning, parkour, l’art du deplacement, and break dancing; and, by amending a new subsection (f) prohibiting the acts of freerunning, parkour, l’art du deplacement, break dancing, and other similar activities within the limits of any public park within the City of Duncanville and by adding a new subsection (g) to provide a defense.

Smithey moved to approve the ordinance with the exception of break dancing, Thomas seconded.

Thomas then moved to refer the item to workshop for further discussion with Jameson and Cannon both seconding the motion.

Freeman thanked the young people for coming out and stating their views. Smithey stated that they council had to take several things into account, including the safety of others and the cost of replacement of items damaged.

Parks & Recreation Director Shane Gravens was called upon to address the Kidsville structure. Gravens stated that he estimated that it would take close to $2 million dollars to replace the structure and that hey original firm that helped with the initial build to provide a report on the condition of the structure, but that Kidsville was approaching 24 years old and was not designed for sports such as parkour.

Harris questioned what the liability of the city was. Gravens sited three incidents were persons were injured due to the condition of the structures and expressed concerns about the “fall zones” for the playground area.

(Editors Note: Falls zones are typically defined as areas under and around playground equipment where a child could fall. These areas should be free of obstacles or other equipment so that there is plenty of room. Basic guidelines include the following:

1) Fall zones should extend a minimum of 6 feet in all directions from the perimeter of the playground equipment.

2) If the height of adjacent play equipment is 30″ or more, the minimum distance between pieces of play equipment should be at least 9 feet.

3) Areas around swingsets should be twice the height of the swing, in both the front and back, with no fences or trees in the area.

Thomas questioned if signs could be placed in the parks that structures are not designed for some activities.  City Attorney Bob Hager stated that if the City knows of a condition or a safety issue that the City must notify the public and that signs could be placed that structures are not designed for some activities, such as free-running.

The council voted 7-0 to table the item for a workshop.

10. Discuss ad valorem taxes on residential property owned by City Council members.

Presentation was made by Cagle at the request of Smithey on taxes paid on residential property owned by City Council members. No further action was necessary.

11. Consider approval of Resolution No. 2011-100411 expressing support of approved economic development projects.

Cannon said that because the Economic & Development Board was new, that it was important that they continue to support the current projects. Cannon motioned to approve the resolution and Smithey seconded.

Thomas stated that she would not be voting on the issue because she wasn’t on the council when the original items were passed and she preferred to look at each of the projects individually.

Jameson said that she didn’t understand the significance of the resolution and had concerns over how this was done.

Smithey didn’t see anything to be against and that all of the projects are already underway and approved and will bring in tax dollars.

Cannon stated that the dissention was about the “elephant in the room,” referring to Monte Anderson. That the city doesn’t have developers that want to do projects and that there is a vendetta against Anderson and it would cost taxpayers money. That this is about politics, not about the best interest of the citizens.

Harris said that she didn’t understand the purpose of the document.

Cannon responded that he overall purpose is that the Economic Development Board understands that the council is in support of the ongoing projects (Main & Davis), and that it will be completed so it won’t cost taxpayers money.

Harris said that she didn’t agree with everything previous councils did and just wanted to know the purpose of the resolution.

Thomas said that she didn’t like it when people assigned a motive to her. That she does understand that if the building or similar development weren’t built that it would cost the city $1.4 million. She went on to say that the council has formed a new committee to work strictly on the Main Street Area and any potential issues. That the Main Street vision would directly benefit her district and she has talked with Monte Anderson about the development.

Jameson stated that the Economic Development Board has had one meeting since they were all put on the board and that an indictment was already being made against them and that it was an alarmist attitude and that she just wants to be assured that we (the city) is doing things correctly.

Smithy responded that the question is not if the items were going to happen.  That they were going to happen.  It’s just a matter of working out the details.

Cannon questioned the support of Thomas for the projects since she made the motion to give Anderson thirty days notice to terminate the contract because he hadn’t pulled the building permit by the deadline.  Cannon said it was just as easy to allow an extension due to Anderson not having issues before the Board of Adjustment.  He stated that actions spoke louder than words and that he wasn’t sounding an alarm that doesn’t need to be sounded.

Freeman said that he wasn’t against the Monte Anderson project, that he was concerned about the contracts, but he wanted to see the projects finished.

Thomas responded to Cannon that she had not made the motion, but did vote for it and that if a developer was going to take earnest money, then he should be expected to fulfill the contract.

Jameson stated that she didn’t believe that no other developer would be willing to take on the project.

Harris said that at the first reading of the resolution she didn’t have an issue with it, but she is now suspicious because of the conversation that she had heard tonight.

The motion to approve failed by a vote of 3-3 with Freeman, Jameson and Harris voting against and Thomas not voting.

12. Ratify the vote to vacate the Duncanville Community & Economic Development Corporation of August 16, 2011.

Thomas moved to ratify the vote and Jameson seconded.

Cannon stated that he could not support this because he didn’t originally support removing those members that had unfulfilled terms that would have given stability to the board.

Smithey pointed out that he had asked for a legal opinion regarding the legality of the vacating the three members because removing them had not been on the posted agenda. Hagar stated that the council cannot ratify a voidable act, but that he had asked Cagle to get an opinion from another legal source because his firm had submitted a proposal reference agenda item #17.  Cagle had stated that the City should receive that opinion on Friday of this week.

After a brief discussion, Thomas motioned to postpone this item until after the opinion is delivered. The vote passed by a vote of 6-1 with Freeman voting against.

13. Ratify the appointments to the Duncanville Community & Economic Development Corporation of August 16, 2011.

Also postponed with the above item.

14. Instruct staff concerning car allowances for City employees

Thomas moved that car allowances were to be monitored for six months to record mileage for work related functions and reports would be made to the council at 3 months and 6 months. Cannon amended that the mileage would be kept in accordance with the IRS regulations. The vote passed 7-0.

15. Discuss and consider internal audit; instruct staff as appropriate.

Thomas made the motion to submit for bids to conduct an internal audit, Jameson seconded.

Cannon commented that they had tried to hold several Audit Committee meeting to discuss this item, but on several occasions they could not get a quorum to hold a meeting. After a rather heated discussion between Cannon and Jameson it was decided that the Council Audit Committee would meet and that this item would be postponed until after that meeting and the Audit Committee could make a recommendation to the full council. The council voted 7-0 to postpone the item

16. Discus issues related to the City Council Audit Committee.

Cannon state that this item was placed on the agenda, not to be disrespectful to the committee members, but to point out a problem that the Audit Committee was having. The committee was expanded to four members, which now meant that the committee had to function by the Open Meetings Act and an agenda had to be posted 72 hours in advance and only those items on the agenda could be discussed and that a quorum had to be present for all meetings.

Jameson asked why the meetings had to be held during the day, that she had other items to attend to during the day. Cannon pointed out that because of the current structure of the committee that it required to staff members and that they sometimes met with outside vendors, so as a courtesy they tried to meet during the day. Jameson requested that future meeting be held in the evening.  Thomas stated that she recognized the frustration of having four members and would be willing to step down. Hagar said that he would research to see if that was sufficient of if the council would need to take further action.

17. Discuss and consider directing staff on proposals submitted by legal firms responding to the City of Duncanville’s request for professional services.

Jameson stated that the city had received nine applications for consideration from legal firms, and moved to talk further with two of the firms, neither being the current legal firm.

Cannon requested a workshop since the council did not receive the applications until the previous evening and that he did not have sufficient time to look over them.

Smithey agreed with Cannon and is not prepared to take action.

Cannon questioned the rush, and that all nine firms had taken the time to submit and the council needed to take the time to review them.

Jameson questioned way the legal firm hired to collect debts had been a consent agenda item if legal representation was so important. Cagle explained that the debt collection legal firm was a staff driven function, and that this firm would be reporting to the council.

Harris motioned to postpone so the item could be work shopped and Cannon seconded.  The item was postponed by a vote of 7-0 until October 24th at 7pm.

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

Cannon mentioned the Town Hall Meeting to discuss redistricting on October 17th and 7pm at the Library meeting rooms.  He also stated that Dallas Area Rapid Transit would be making a presentation at the October 18th council meeting regarding non-member cities participating in some form.

Harris also mentioned the Town Hall meeting and the Chamber of Commerce Civic Auction being held on October 22, 2011 and encouraged people to contact the Chamber about purchasing tickets.

Jameson stated that she got a lot of phone calls regarding the letter that was sent out to citizens regarding insurance for plumbing. That this was not a bill and that participation was voluntary and apologized for any confusion. That he project was a good thing to participate in and that Atlanta, Georgia had recently agreed to participate.

Harris  also asked citizens to keep the citizens in Waxahachie in their thoughts and prayers due to the recent fire.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:34pm.

One Response to Duncanville City Council Meeting Recap – October 4, 2011

  1. I am surprised they didn’t vote to postpone the pledges !

    It is crazy disappointing to see people who are so unprepared for what they are suppose to do. It’s like waiting until Game Day to look at the play-book.

    So Thomas obstains from voting…again. Is this what she will do on every item that started before she got on council ? Did she apply for this position because her constituents wanted someone to be more “Neutral” and uncommitted ?

    I still don’t know what these people are “FOR” ? I only know that they are againest everything. This current council could set Duncanville back a decade….(because they will postpone everything for that long.)

    Texas Patriot
    Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 5:52 am