City Hall Briefs
February 22, 2014
City Hall Briefs, published by Bob Flocke for the information of local residents, is neither an official nor an authorized publication of the City of Wimberley. Any views or opinions expressed are those of the writer, and they do not reflect official policies or positions of the City of Wimberley, other members of the City Council or the city staff.
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City opts for May $2.85 million bond election
In a split vote Thursday evening, the Wimberley City Council approved a May special bond election to raise $2.85 million for street and bridge improvements and for a citywide drainage study. This is the city’s first bond question, and if approved will result in the city’s first property tax.
According to City Manager Don Ferguson and several members of the council, Wimberley’s streets and roads are deteriorating faster than the city can pay for improvements. There are some streets in town that are in danger of washing away completely in the next heavy rain, and there are bridges that must be repaired. The city engineer and the Transportation Advisory Board have estimated that the tab for the needed improvements to all of the city’s 81 streets and those bridges that need work would be in the vicinity of $2.75 million–an amount for which adequate funding does not exist in city $1 million dollar general fund budget.
The street improvements and drainage study would be funded with general obligation bonds. A property tax will be required to fund the debt service on the bonds. The projected property tax rate required to pay the debt service on the bonds is 4.25 cents per $100 value of the property.
Included in the bond issue is $100,000 for a citywide drainage study. The October 31, 2013, flood brought drainage problems to the fore with streets and houses getting flooded from directions other than those normally expected.
The council voted 3-2 in favor of holding the single-proposition bond vote in May with Place 3 Councilman Matt Meeks and Place 4 Councilman Steve Thurber voting against.
The council earlier had discussed holding a two-proposition election by including $7.5 million for the Central Wimberley wastewater system and for extending wastewater service to residents north of Cypress Creek along Mill Race Lane and River Road. After discussion, the wastewater proposition did not make it to the motion for the May election.
In a second vote, the council voted 4-1 to cap the maturity of the bonds at no more than 20 years with Thurber voting against. The annual debt servicing cost for a $2.85 million bond extended over 20 years will be about $192,000 per year.
The special bond election will be on the same ballot as the city’s council election on May 10.
The city plan an extensive public information program to educate citizens on the bond issues. For more information and to view the special election ordinance visit www.cityofwimberley.com.
City will not wait for FEMA funds for gravel removal from waterways
The city council Thursday evening voted unanimously–Place 3 Councilman Matt Meeks recused himself from the discussion–to fund the removal of gravel from certain sections of the Blanco River, Cypress Creek and Pierce Creek.
While the possibility remains that funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency may become available for the project, the council decided that the urgency of the situation precludes delay, and the city can seek reimbursement from FEMA should the funds become available.
The October 31, 2013 flood left significant deposits of gravel in local waterways. The gravel deposits impede stream flows and are placing public safety and adjacent properties at risk. The gravel deposits have changed stream flow and could redefine the regulated flood plain in certain areas.
Council gives Ferguson a pay raise
After meeting in executive session to discuss the annual performance appraisal for City Manager Don Ferguson, the council voted unanimously in regular session to provide Ferguson with a three percent pay raise, effectively immediately. Citing the excellent rating bestowed by the council, and the fact that Ferguson’s pay has not increased in four years, Mayor Bob Flocke asked for a motion on the pay increase.
Local fitness studio to hold free self-defense seminar, benefit for HCWC
Justresults, a Wimberley personal training and sports performance studio, will host a free self-defense seminar at the Wimberley Community Center from 6 until 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28.
“There were 56 cases of domestic violence or assault in Wimberley in 2013,” said Denise Treadwell, Justresults owner and Project Safe Families coordinator. “Come to the seminar and learn basic self-defense to protect you and your family.”
While the seminar is free, Treadwell said that a five-dollar donation will be accepted with all of the donated money going to benefit the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center.
All ages are welcome to attend, but children under 18 must be accompanied by parents.
New measures aimed at owners, reservations agencies, realtors on illegal B&Bs
In a unanimous vote, the city council approved on second and final reading an ordinance that prohibits the listing or renting of unauthorized vacation rental and bed and breakfast properties in the city. The new ordinance also establishes a $10 annual business permit for the owners and operators of such properties.
The ordinance prohibits anyone, including real estate agents or offices or professional reservations and listing services from listing or renting unauthorized vacation rental and bed and breakfast properties in the city. Real estate agents and listing services will have to disclose to owners or potential buyers whether or not the property under consideration is appropriately zoned as a vacation rental or bed and breakfast and that it has the appropriate conditional use permit or is grandfathered by previous use.
The new regulations are intended to improve the city’s ability to regulate the growing short-term rental industry in Wimberley.
Wandering restroom seeks new
The city council directed City Manager Don Ferguson to find a new location in the downtown area for the city’s portable restroom trailer.
Since its inauguration two months ago, the portable toilet has been a hit with residents, storekeepers and visitors. It has temporarily been located in an asphalt parking area adjacent to the Wimberley Cafe. That location has caused some controversy as the city staff in recent weeks has received petitions and letters from some merchants and their customers opposing the current location. Opponents contend that the trailer blocks the view of adjacent businesses and is out of character for the Square.
Locations under consideration include Henson Lane adjacent to the Bent Tree Gallery, a vacant lot on Oak Drive and the city’s leased parking lot on Oak Drive.
City sales tax revenue up for February
Wimberley received its monthly sales tax distribution check from the state comptroller’s office. The February check–representing December sales–$83,078.30 – up six percent from the same period last year.
No matter how flat you make the pancake, it still has two sides.