Council has its table full

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The Sealy City Council held its first meeting of the new year on Jan. 7 but by the time it adjourned that evening there was a lot left on the table.

The council tabled three agenda items and set up its Jan. 21 meeting to take care of those and other issues. The tabled items included action on a variance request by TLD Ramp and Gravity Rail LLC to allow crushed concrete instead of asphalt or concrete for a property on the 2000 block of Highway 90; action on a monument dedicated to Mark A. Chapman at B&PW Park; and approval of a memorandum of understanding between Sealy and the city of Zhujie in China.

The council also received a petition from David Krampitz and Angela Leschper with 21 signatures requesting the city not remove center parking on Main Street between Highway 36 and Front Street. The council placed the subject on the agenda for the Jan. 21 meeting. It also placed a review of the status of the parking lot at T.J. Mills Stadium on the agenda at the request of Councilmember Jennifer Sullivan.

Assistant City Manager Warren Escovy and the applicant requested that the crushed concrete variance be tabled until more information could be gathered. Councilmember Chris Noack asked that the agreement between Sealy and Zhujie – which is similar to a Sister City type arrangement – be postponed until someone could read through the Chinese version of the agreement to make sure it lined up with the English version.

The council wanted to postpone a decision on the monument for Chapman to allow it to go before the Sealy Parks Board. City Secretary Brooke Knoll informed the council that there has been difficulty getting a quorum at parks board meetings.

“Can you remind everyone on the parks board how important it is,” Councilmember Larry Koy asked Knoll.

He added that he would like to have a discussion about the city’s new nuisance ordinance at the next meeting.

Several councilmembers voiced concern about the lack of participation by members of the parks board and suggested they be replaced if they cannot attend monthly meetings on a regular basis.

In addition to filling the Jan. 21 agenda, City Manager Lloyd Merrell asked for a workshop at 5 p.m. before the meeting to hold a discussion about drainage issues.

Not everything was tabled at the Jan. 7 meeting. The council took action on several agenda items. The council approved a building variance for property at 525 Hardeman Street, as requested by Trevor Haechten. The council authorized Mayor Janice Whitehead and Knoll to enter into interlocal agreements with Austin County for road maintenance in Precincts 3 and 4.

The council also approved two funding resolutions for the Sealy Economic Development Corporation; one for $53,612.52 to reimburse the city for obligations under the 380 Agreement with Prasek’s, and $45,000 for a performance reimbursement agreement between the Sealy EDC and CCA Southeast, the contractor for Hailiang Copper Texas, for direct pay administration.

The council also voted to take no action regarding care for ducks at the B&PW Park pond. Residents had asked the city to assume responsibility for feeding the domestic ducks that have taken up residence there, but various wildlife experts and organizations recommended leaving them alone as wild animals.

To allay one concern, Police Chief Jay Reeves said the ducks will be relocated during times that fireworks are displayed at the park because last year they caused the birds to panic and get entangled in a barbwire fence.

In final action, the council reduced the fee schedule for coin operated machines, better known as 8-liners or amusement redemption machines. In 2016 the council adopted a game room application fee of $200 and an annual fee of $500. In 2019, state law changed requiring that the fees be lowered to $25 for an application and an annual fee of $15.

In his report to the council, Merrell said that Sealy EDC Executive Assistant Kimbra Hill has been named the new Main Street manager. He said 11 companies turned in bids for the North Highway 36 water main project and that bids will be awarded on Jan. 21.

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