Recap of Duncanville City Council Meeting – March 20, 2012

Filed under: City |

Council Chambers,
City Hall
203 E. Wheatland Road

In attendance:
Mayor David Green

Councilmember Don Freeman
Councilmember Leslie Thomas
Councilmember Janet Harris
Councilmember Grady Smithey
Councilmember Johnette Jameson


Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor’s Report

Mayor Green gave a report on a burglary that occurred at the home of former Fire Chief Terry Webb. Green reported that Webb came home and found evidence of a break in and called police. Officer Jerry Christenson responded and took the initial report, and then contacted a local pawn shop to give details of what was taken. The pawn shop later called police and informed them that suspects had come there to sell items from the burglary. Police responded and detained the two, recovering additional property from the burglary. Terry Webb came to the scene and identified the property as his, and the suspects were taken to jail.

Recognition of Visitors / Proclamations / Presentations
Citizens Public Comment Period
[Each speaker will be allowed two (2) minutes to address the council.] 

Keith Bilbrey thanked city staff for assisting with parking issues after school in his neighborhood.

Homer Fincannon thanked those that came to his Irish Festival, and invited everyone to a Prayer Breakfast every Wednesday morning from 5am to 7am at the Duncanville Fieldhouse.

Consent Items

1C. Approval of minutes.

2C. Approval of a DCEDC expenditure in the amount of $26,261 .60 for IH-20 corridor grounds maintenance.

3C. Ratify a DCEDC expenditure in the amount of $3 90,000 for FY10-11 operations and maintenance of the facility located at 1700 S. Main Street.

Items approved by a 6-0 vote.


4.     Public hearing to consider the request of Ezequiel Lopez, representing Mi Hacienda Restaurant and Bar, tenant, to amend the existing “DD” Downtown Duncanville District zoning to include a Specific Use “SU” Permit to allow commercial amusement (arcade games and table games) on Lots 1 and 2, Sheet 2, Block 1, of the Original Town of Duncanville, more commonly known as 320 N. Main Street.

City staff explained to the council that due to the Planning and Zoning Commission denying the request that six votes would be needed to overturn the denial. Ten people spoke in favor of the council issuing the special use permit, and four people spoke in opposition. Smithey made a motion to close the public hearing with Jameson seconding. Vote was 6-0 to close the public hearing.

5.     Consider directing staff on request of Ezequiel Lopez, representing Mi Hacienda Restaurant and Bar, tenant, to amend the existing “DD” Downtown Duncanville District zoning to include a Specific Use “SU” Permit to allow commercial amusement (arcade games and table games) on Lots 1 and 2, Sheet 2, Block 1, of the Original Town of Duncanville, more commonly known as 320 N. Main Street.

Smithey made a motion to approve the Special Use Permit, with Harris seconding the motion. Smithey asked staff if one of the concerns was two tables. Staff explained that the applicant had wanted two tables, but would agree to reduce it to one. The motion was modified to approve one table. Harris asked the owner about the sporadic hours of operation. The owned explained that he was closed on weekdays and open on weekends due to the fact that if the location was open during the week, he lost money. But, the plan was to begin operating during the week as well in the near future. Harris amended the motion to a period of six months, instead of a period of one year. Freeman expressed hesitation in overturning a board’s decision. Smithey asked for clarification on the number of positive and negative responses from those property owners around the location. Green explained that the P&Z vote was a split 3-2 vote, and that he likes the 6-month time limit for renewal. Jameson pointed out that it is rare for the council to overturn a board. Jameson again asked the owner about his sporadic hours, and he again explained that he lost money if he was open during the week, but was moving toward weekday operations. The ownership also stated that the business had been closed recently to remodel the interior of the business. Freeman asked the owner what his alcohol to food ratio was and the owner stated that alcohol was less than 20% of his sales. Thomas stated that during her time in the military she had seen the effects of alcohol and pool tables and that she does not want a bar and pool tables and that she feels that it is against family values. Thomas also said that she knew more people that had been killed by being hit in the head with a pool cue stick, than being killed at red lights. Green asked for further clarification about the returns from what staff had sent out to surrounding locations and if they were residences or businesses and that the council needed to be business friendly. Smithey called for the question. The request was denied by a 3-3 vote with Thomas, Freeman and Jameson voting against.

6.     Discuss and consider amending the City of Duncanville Financial Policies to require recommendations on purchases and contracts $19,000 (or some other dollar amount) or more to be presented to the City Council for their approval.

Jameson made a motion to use the financial policy from the City of Cedar Hill and Freeman seconded. Smithey asked Financial Director Richard Summerlin for a breakdown of the number of items that would need to brought before the council if the limit were dropped from the current $50,000 (state law) to $19.000, 25,000, and $35,000. Summerlin explained that at $19,000 there would be a 79% increase, at $25,000 a 58.1% increase, and at $35,000 a 32.6% increase. Smithey made a motion to amend the limit to $35,000 and Green seconded. Harris pointed out that Cedar Hill was set at $25,000 and DeSoto, Allen and Lancaster were set at $50,000. Jameson pointed out that Grapevine was at $15,000. Jameson also asked for the actual numbers of items brought before the council, and what the increase would be in actual numbers. Summerlin advised that at $35,000 the increase would be 57 items and at $25,000 the increase would be 68 items. Smithey clarified that his motion is to use the current Duncanville policy with the limit set at $35,000. Thomas stated that she would support $25,000, but would prefer the limit be set at $20 so the council would have a say in all expenses. Green reminded the council that they are the executive branch of city government and that he feels that they are evolving to complete oversight and that is not the accepted way a council/city manager form of government works. Smithey related that the council was akin to a Board of Directors and that he feels that if they continue to micromanage then the city will continue to lose leadership. Jameson stated that she feels the council is not micromanaging and that they are elected to oversee spending and contracts and that the council answers to those that elected them. Jameson thanked the citizens for their support, their letters and phone calls. The amended motion was defeated by a vote of 2-4 with Freeman, Thomas, Harris, and Jameson voting against. The motion of $25,000 passed by a vote of 4-2 with Green and Smithey voting against.

7.     Discuss and consider directing staff on CGI Communications’ Community Video TourBook project.

Harris expressed concern over misleading statements by sales staff. Jameson requested CGI explain their pricing. CGI explained that they have three tiers of pricing; $1,200, $3,295, and $5,000 and that there was room for 20-25 months and that they were offering 24 month contracts, for their 12 month price. Smithey stated that the National League of Cities endorsed this program. Harris stated that she thought it was a great idea and it was an opportunity for businesses. Jameson asked the city attorney about a government entity’s website selling advertising. The attorney advised that the determination can be made about recovering a benefit. Smithey made a motion to approve the city’s involvement and Freeman seconded. The council voted 5-1 to approve with Jameson voting against.

8.     Receive report on 5th Annual Transportation & Infrastructure Summit held in Washington, DC.

Smithey gave a report on the Summit and the surrounding activities.

9.     Discuss and consider directing staff on Main Station (100 S. Main Street) and other economic development projects related to the Main Street Vision and redevelopment efforts.

This item was pulled for another meeting.

10.Discuss and consider directing staff on proposed amendments to Chapter 16A, Sign Guidelines, of the Code of Ordinances regarding flashing signs and banners.

Thomas moved and Jameson seconded to direct staff to create an ordinance to bring back to the council for a vote, and passes with a 6-0 vote.

11.Discuss and consider approval of Resolution No. 2012-032011 amending the Master Fee Schedule to provide new rates for emergency medical services.

Smithey made the motion and Thomas seconded. Fire Chief David Giordano explained that there hasn’t been an increase in rates for 3.5 years, Medicare now requires an all inclusive bill with no itemization, and that this would provide standardized billing for Duncanville, DeSoto, and Cedar Hill.  He went on to explain that the increase was needed due to increasing costs related to EMS service. This included the cost of equipment, fuel, and supplies. After a lengthy discussion, the motion passed 5-1 with Freeman voting against.

12.Discuss and consider approval of EMS Transport Billing Waiver Policy.

Smithey motioned and Harris seconded and the item passed 6-0.

13.Discuss and consider City Council Audit Committee appointment and designation of chairman.

Smithey made the motion to downsize the committee from four members to three and nominated Thomas as chair. The motion passed 6-0.

14.Discuss and consider approval of events sponsored by the City of Duncanville including Bark for Life, National Day of Prayer, Project Graduation, and Memorial Day Celebration.

Smithey moves approval with Thomas seconding. The item passed 6-0.

15.Discuss and consider directing staff on special event permitting process and pending applications for American Legion Post 81 Bridge Party, Bark for Life, and Holy Spirit Catholic Church Easter Sunday church service.

Smithey moves approval, and Jameson seconded. Motion passed 6-0.

16.Discuss response to letter from Plano Mayor regarding expanding transit requires regional solutions not workarounds.

Read the response from Smithey

17.Discuss and consider removal and electing City Mayor Pro Tempore.

Thomas motioned to remove Scott Cannon as he has resigned from the council and this was seconded by Freeman and passes 6-0. Smithey motions to nominate Thomas with Harris seconding. Thomas declines saying that there are others on the council that have been in office longer. Thomas motions Jameson for Mayor Pro Tempore, Harris seconded and it passes 6-0.

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

Smithey advised that the Duncanville Community Theatre’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank starts this weekend and continues next weekend.

19.Recess into Executive Session pursuant to Government Code Section 55l.O7l(2) to receive legal advice regarding: (i) Main Station Agreement and other economic development projects related to the Main Street Vision and redevelopment efforts; (ii) former Metroplex Toyota land; and (iii) responding to correspondence received from COP volunteer.

20.Consider any action necessary pursuant to discussion in Executive Session.

Due to the meeting heading into its fourth hour, I didn’t stay for the conclusion of the executive session.