Friday, June 26, 2015

City of Prarie View holds Council Meeting

The Prairie View City Council meeting was nothing short of a marathon on June 23, 2015 which lasted four hours. Mayor Frank D. Jackson opened the meeting with the reading of the city’s ordinance on meeting decorum and policy for the public addressing the council. The change in the practice of allowing the residents to address the public did not sit to well with a few persons but in the end compliments and kudos were offered to the city in addressing the flooding in parts of the city.

Issues raised in the citizen’s comment included questions on the charges to the city by PVAMU for waste water treatment in relation to the recent flood and drainage in the system and request for the appointment of a committee to investigate it; the ongoing request for documents to support the city’s monthly $750 donation to the Volunteer Fire Department; request to investigate wrongful possession of real property by the city; suppression of citizen’s free speech rights with the policy on meeting decorum; the city’s timing of meetings, letting of contracts and public notification and the objection to committee appointments by the mayor; request for amount funds due to the city by National Urban Construction and the need to be on the agenda rather than public comments because of time constraint. Mayor Jackson admonished a few citizens for comments, he deemed out of order as personal attacks on council members. Council approved extension of times on two occasions to allow completion of point addressed.

The city received a presentation for smart metering from Simien Infrastructure to upgrade the city’s process. The system promises improvement in efficiency and management of records. A formal proposal will be presented for action at a later date. Rosalind Lewings and Terrence Scranton from the Waller County Alliance for Healthy Lifestyle Choices presented a request for the city to adopt a Tobacco Ordinance to include e-cigarettes. Council will prepare ordinance for action at July meeting.

Departments’ highlights included the announcement of the favorable variances in revenue over expenses in the eighth month of the budget cycle. J. J. Johnson, City Accountant also reported that the city retired its debt service on the bonds sold in 1977 which provided improvements in the city’s utilities. Fredrick Alexander, Utilities Coordinator reported on the pipe breakage which released some 150k gallon of sewage/waste water. Vacuum truck captured the majority of the spill, TCEQ was informed and the required formal public notice will appear in the local papers. Police Chief Larry Johnson reported on improvements in relations with the District Attorney’s office and update on department vehicles.

All council members reported on their activities for the period. Mr. King of King Construction Materials Co. Inc. reported that work continues with the clearing of debris and other elements from the culverts and ditches. Drainage has improved in the Prairie Hill area. There is much to done around the city and he suggested an increase in the culvert sizes throughout the city. Mayor Jackson and council members welcomed council member Jonathan Miller to his first monthly meeting. Miller was appointed to a one year term on June 11and will seek election in 2016.

Items approved: Ratification of Accounts Payable for May with objections and a request for bi-weekly meetings to address payments prior to disbursement of funds; establishment of Committee on use of City Hall Building procedures and the appointment of Councilman Jonathan Randle as Mayor Pro-tem. The council disapproved the appointment of Chief Larry Johnson as Emergency Management Coordinator for City due to residency and availability and the request for extension of a building permit for renovation of property owned by Melrene and Alma Young on 104 Thompson Street. The property was condemned by the building inspector James Scott. Young plans an appeal and a court appearance.

Following the executive session, the council approved the hiring of Charles Boggess as the Public Works Field Technician, with no action on pending litigation on National Urban Construction and the hiring of the City Secretary. The Council will meet in July and will conduct its 2016 budget preparation during July-August with approval in September.

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