Eastland City Commission Board Notes

City Receives ‘Clean’ 2009 Audit, Cancels Election,

Discuss Hotel Motel Tax Ordinance Changes

The Eastland City Commission was presented Monday night with what a representative of Davis, Kinard & Co., P.C. called a ‘clean’ audit opinion for the year 2009.

Lori Herrick made the presentation as part of the regular agenda during the commissions’ regular monthly meeting.

The commission also heard Eastland City Manager Ron Holliday who noted during a financial report how the current sales tax trend continues in a downward trend. He reported the recent March statement from the state for the month of January shows a drop of 20% in tax dollars over this same period in 2009. He added the current year to date trend is down almost16% and predicted the city’s current 2010 budgeted tax figures, should they continue the current trend, would be short some $110,000.

Holliday added that although this trend is a major concern, it unfortunately is not a big surprise.   He said the city will continue to tighten its fiscal belt, watch the numbers and make substantive changes as the new budget season approaches.

“I anticipate we will leave 4 or 5% of the budget on the table at the end of the year and we have kept a reasonable reserve or rainy day fund to be able to meet circumstances like this” Holliday added.

In other business the city commission approved a bid on property resulting from a tax foreclosure judgment presented by Julie Kellar of McCreary, Veselka, Bragg & Allen, P.C. Kellar reported the bid was for $2,000 and the bidder has plans to clean off the property and build a new home on the two lots on Lens St. The matter will now go before the EISD and EMH boards for their approvals.

The commission also approved the certification of unopposed candidates by the city secretary and the canceling of the general election set for May. Commissioners Larry Vernon and Richard Rossander were the only candidates who filed for the election.

City Finance Director Leslie Zander presented two proposals for consideration to amend the current hotel motel tax ordinance. She noted change one would allow for businesses that currently pay their state sales taxes on a monthly basis be required to pay their city portion at the same time. She added that any business paying quarterly state taxes would be allowed to remain on a quarterly payment with the city.

In the second request, Zander requested a 1% incentive discount be given to those entities that paid their taxes by the due date.   The commission authorized Zander to proceed with preparing formal ordinance amendment documents and bring them to the next meeting for action.

Holliday then updated the board on recent issues with a lease between the city and the Eastland ISD in regards to land owned by the city where the school ag barn is being built at Lake Eastland.   The commission authorized Holliday to transfer the ag barn property to the school district in the most expedious manner, including the potential of trading it for property at the city baseball complex.

Holliday was given approved to advertise for sealed bids on old vehicles and equipment taking up space at the city yard.

Holliday, Zander and Public Works Director Bobby Jacoby informed the board of changes made to the operations of the city pool for this season. Splash day will be Friday, May 28 and again this year will be in three sessions. Free color coded tickets will be available for the sessions.

During the discussions it was reported private party reservations will be taken beginning at 8 a.m. on May 10 and must be made in person at City Hall.

In other pool matters the new ‘old’ concession stand should be in operation with Hardin’s BBQ the concessioners. The ‘old’ concession stand is the rock building on the south end of the pool area that is undergoing a makeover by the city.

Other pool information provided included:
Free Splash Day admission will be by ticket only.
Tickets will be available at City Hall beginning May 26th.
Splash Day will have three sessions.
Splash Day Session 1   1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Splash Day Session 2   3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Splash Day Session 3   6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hours of Operation:  Closed on Wednesdays
There will be two afternoon sessions.  Admission charged for each session.
Session One:     12:00 to 2:45 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Session Two:        3:15 to 6:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Session Three Evening Swim:  6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday only
Admission for EACH session:
6 years and under (must be accompanied by parent, guardian or responsible adult) $1.00
7 years and older  $2.00
65 years and older  Free
Passes:  (obtain at City Hall) 25 admission punch card  $40.00; 50 admission punch card  $80.00
Private Parties:  Reservations accepted in person only at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 10 at City Hall.
THIS DATE IS FOR IN PERSON RESERVATIONS ONLY. No phone reservations made on May 10. Phone reservations will be accepted beginning Tuesday, May 11.
Party dates begin May 29, final party date August 21. Hours: 2.5 hour period 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Set-up for party may begin at 7:00 p.m., no earlier.
Fees: Total number of patrons in facility including non-swimmers
0 – 49        150.00
50 – 99    250.00
100 – 149     300.00
Parties will be scheduled in advance with City Hall and require a $50.00 deposit which will be applied to the total fee.  At the time a reservation is made, the patron will be provided with a complete list of rules for parties.  The party fee must be paid in full one week in advance of the party date.  There will be no patio reservations this season.

The board also approved on first reading Resolution No. 2010-02 supporting CAPP Sunset Legislative Agenda.

Holliday then reported in his City Manager’s Briefing of recent work on filling pot holes. He reports crews are working as fast as possible when the days are warm and dry. He also reported the King Kong project is going pretty well at this time.

He then turned to the Emergency Services issue where he reported he has not heard anything new from the county on this matter in some time.  The commission reiterated their position on this matter that has been forwarded to Eastland County.

The commission scheduled a special called meeting for Thursday, March 25 at noon to consider the logo design for the new water tower. Also on that agenda will be consideration to fill a vacancy on the EEDI Board and a presentation by new EEDI Director Jerry Conner.

The board offered congratulations to Sharon Cushman, recently appointed librarian at the Eastland Centennial Memorial Library by the Thursday Afternoon Club.

Other Commissioners present for the Monday night meeting were Jerry Mathews, Mark Pipkin, and Norman Owen. Additional city staff present was Planning Official Bill Dolen, City Attorney Lois Rockefeller and Chief of Police Cecil Funderburgh.