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Council still in disagreement over EDC Director, roles

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Approves Patrol Canines

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GUN BARREL CITY–Councilman Rob Rea had several items on the agenda at the regular meeting of the Gun Barrel City Council Feb. 26 and began in the Citizen’s Comments portion of the meeting by pulling items 23 and 24 due to the absence of the city attorney.
The items related to an executive session (closed session) to discuss the duties of council members and mayor with the city attorney as it pertains to the Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Item 24 was to reconvene in open session and take any necessary action.
Rea said he felt that the ordinance (On Dec. 18, 2018, the city council passed Ordinance R-2018-009 establishing new procedures and reporting for the EDC Director and EDC board, wherein the EDC Director would report directly to the city council instead of to the board of directors.) was a mistake and that he wanted the city attorney to discuss what the city council members and mayor are responsible for. He then said, “Because the mayor has directed the city attorney to not be here, I see no reason for item 23 or 24, so I respectfully ask the mayor to remove those two items.”
Mayor David Skains responded by saying, “The attorney asked if I needed him here and I told him I didn’t need him here. I did not tell him not to come.”
Rea asked that the EDC Executive Director Report be removed from the Consent Agenda so that he could ask some questions. The EDC Director report covered activities from Jan. 15 through Feb 15. He selected an item on the report referencing a visit to a washateria client and said it was one of only a few items that provided any details. He questioned GBC Executive Director Lee Peterson who pointed out that Rea had the wrong washateria in mind and gave more details. Once Peterson answered Rea’s questions, the reports were accepted.
Later in the agenda were items requested by Rea that also had to do with the Executive Director. Item 16 was to receive a progress and status report from Oct. 15 to present. Comments were made by council members indicating that Peterson was not required to keep detailed reporting until the ordinance was passed. Peterson said that in December he spent a lot of time researching projects that went bad to determine if they had signed agreements which could be used to recoup money the city had spent and creating governance for the board which he said, “Up to now there hasn’t been any.” Councilman Ron Wyrick reminded council members that much of the information gathered by the director is sensitive.
Agenda items to provide formal reporting responsibilities for the EDC Executive Director and to direct the EDC Executive Director to provide job descriptions for all EDC positions to be submitted by the March council meeting failed to pass.
The council approved the Gun Barrel City Police Department Patrol Canines Policy. Officer Jason Lee, who recently joined the department, is trained and certified, and trained with the three-year-old canine officer “Arco,” which the department obtained from another police agency closing down their program. The dog is an import from Germany and trained in narcotics detection.
In other business, council members:
• adopted Ordinance O-2019-004 adding tattoo studios as a recognized use to the schedule of uses and specifying zoning districts in which the use is allowed. New studios would still need a special use permit.
• adopted ordinances ordering demolitions of unsafe structures at 112 Boshart Way, 165 Willowood and 227 Spring St.
• appointed Dennis Baade to the Board of Adjustment.
• adopted the 26th supplement to the Code of Ordinances as published by American Legal Publishing Corporation.
• directed the City Manager to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for firms interested in performing planning services to revise the city’s comprehensive plan.
• approved a Façade Improvement Grant to Taylor Automotive not to exceed $5,000.


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