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MINUTES
The City Council of the City of Palestine convened in regular meeting on Monday, March 9, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. for the Work Session in the City Hall Conference Room, and at 5:30 p.m. for the Regular Meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 504 N. Queen Street, Palestine, Texas with the following members present:
Present: Steve Presley, Mayor; Ann Connor, Mayor Pro Tem; Larissa Loveless, Council Member; Mitchell Jordan, Council Member; Vickey L. Chivers, Council Member; Dana Goolsby, Council Member
Absent: Joe Baxter, Council Member
Staff Present: Leslie Cloer, City Manager; Teresa Herrera, City Secretary; Jeff Herrington, Interim City Attorney; Felipe Garcia, Utilities Director; Lisa Cariker, HR Director; Mark Fletcher, Streets Director; Mark Harcrow, Interim Police Chief; Mark Miears, Development Services Director; Shannon Davis, Fire Chief; Andy Sibai, Interim Finance Director
             
Interim City Attorney Jeff Herrington was not present for the work session. Council Member Joe Baxter was absent for the work session and regular meeting.

Other present: Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Edena Atmore

WORK SESSION
With a quorum present, Mayor Presley called the work session to order at 3:32 p.m.
             
1. Discuss proposals received for RFP 2020-005 for City Attorney Services. City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer provided a summary. Proposals were received from The Halla Law Firm and Bojorquez Law Firm PC(BLF). BFL has an office in Tyler, TX, and they have specialized attorneys. She explained that Gary Landers would be the attorney for Palestine if approved. She explained that she and Jeff Herrington met with Allen Bojorquez and Gary Landers regarding the workload. BLF needs a clear understanding of how they will work with staff. A discussion was held. Council agreed that all calls to the city attorney will go through the city manager first. The city attorney reports directly to Council.
 
             
2. Discuss the potential need for Narcan/Naloxone for drug overdose reversal in Palestine. Mayor, Steve Presley
Mayor Presley provided a summary. He showed a video on how to use Narcan/Naloxone. Narcan is used for the treatment of an opioid emergency or a possible opioid overdose with signs of breathing problems and severe sleepiness or not being able to respond. Narcan is to be given right away and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Mayor Presley is recommending that the Police Department and Fire Department administer the Narcan. Store at controlled room temperature 59°F to 77°F. The City will have zero liability under the good Samaritan Law. Interim Police Chief Harcrow informed that Police Officers and EMS is dispatched at the same time and it takes about eight minutes to respond. Also, he added that during this time with the City he has only seen one case. Council had mixed feelings regarding this drug. Council directed Staff to obtain additional information regarding Narcan. If approved it will not cost the City because a State program is paying for the drug.
             
3. Update on pool renovations. City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer led the discussion. There are several cracks in the pool, pitting in the pool, and a large area of plaster is breaking. Cracks in skimmer back area, crack on the upper portion of the skimmer, and large crack left side skimmer. There is a large break in the plaster and VGB compliant was installed in 2008 and must be changed every five years. ADA lift needs to be replaced and it needs to be working. The biggest expense are breaks in concrete. Also, there are sinkholes closest to the boardwalk causing the entire sidewalk to drop. There is a void between the curb and parking lot. The old coping is in the process of being removed. Larger 6” tile is being removed and black tile still in good condition. It will cost $7,200 for ADA chair lift and the ramp can be built at a later date. Commercial robotic pool cleaner comes with a 100 ft. cord and will clean the appropriate area, it will cost $2,200. It is recommended that two to three robots be purchased to clean the pool. The restrooms will need to be ADA compliant. The City has to comply with State Law. The concrete work in front of the aquatic center will cost $2,200. New equipment and parts needed to bring the pool up to compliance is $7,536.64.

The pool is not owned by the YMCA. The pool is owned by the City and operated by the YMCA. Council requested pool usage from last summer. City Manager promised to obtain the data for Council.
             
4. Consider approval of Purchase Order for VOIP phone system data switches. City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer provided a  summary. Currently we are using two phone systems. New switches need to be ordered for the new VOIP system. She explained that Staff did not bid everything correctly. Cynergy Technology is the lowest bid of $16,300.00. It will be three to four weeks before we can transition to new phone system.
             
5. Discuss Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Position. City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer introduced Edena Atmore. She explained that Edena is currently finishing out a contract with another City and will work in Palestine two days a week. Edena has over 25 years of Municipal Government Finance experience. She has audit experience with private, public, schools, and government; she also has knowledge of the Incode Technologies. Ms. Atmore thanked Council for the opportunity, and she added that it's her passion to help cities in need. She will train the staff to use Incode to its fullest and make sure the directors are familiar with Incode as well. She has held Assistant City Manager and Finance Director positions in various cities. 

Council stressed the importance of becoming part of the community. Council is concerned about combining the two jobs. Council asked the city manager to transition the communication piece to Ms. Atmore in order to free up some of the city manager's time. The strategy is to train staff and get them the resources they need, in turn, staff will be less dependent, and it will allow her to focus on bigger items.

With no other business to come before Council the work session adjourned at 5:03 p.m.
             
REGULAR MEETING
             
A.
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Presley called the Regular Meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.
             
B.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The invocation was given by Rev. Roy Duncan and was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
             
C.
PROPOSED CHANGES OF AGENDA ITEMS
There were no proposed changes.
             
D. PUBLIC COMMENTS, PUBLIC RECOGNITION, AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Any citizen wishing to speak during public comments regarding an item on or off the agenda may do so after completing the required Request to Speak form. All comments must be no more than five minutes in length. Any comments regarding items not on the posted agenda may not be discussed or responded to by City Council.

James Smith spoke regarding City Government; hiring process of Assistant City Manager.

Debbie Lawrence spoke regarding re-zoning in the McFarlane Addition.

Roy Duncan spoke regarding State of the City meeting.

Mark Davis spoke regarding Police Chief.

Rudy Flores spoke regarding Police Chief.

Tawna Allen spoke regarding promoting Interim Police Chief to permanent Police Chief.

Charles Smith spoke regarding Police Chief.
             
E. CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
No action was taken.
             
F. PUBLIC HEARINGS
             
1. Public hearing to receive public comments on the adoption of Tax Abatement Guidelines and Criteria for the purpose of granting commercial-industrial tax abatement pursuant to Texas Tax Code Section 312.002(c-1). City Manager, Leslie Cloer

City Manager Cloer provided a summary.

Mayor Presley opened the public hearing at 5:51:19 p.m. and asked for anyone speaking for or against the request to do so. With no one speaking, Mayor Presley closed the public hearing at 5:51:42 p.m.
             
2. Public hearing to receive public comments on the request to re-zone 101 Trail Hollow Lane, McFarlane Estates Addition (McFarlane Estates #1 Lot 2) from from R-1 Residential to C-3 Retail Commercial contingent upon the property closing with SCC Development Corporation. Applicant: Kathy Westbrook. Planner/HPO Greg Laudadio

Planner/HPO Laudadio provided a summary.

Mayor Presley opened the public hearing at 5:53 p.m. and asked for anyone speaking for or against the request to do so. Terry Johnson spoke in favor of the request. Martin Lawrence spoke against the request. With no one else speaking, Mayor Presley closed the public hearing at 5:58 p.m.
             
G. MAYOR'S REPORT
Mayor Presley thanked City staff for working together during storms. He spoke about the Census, reminding everyone to respond. Also, he spoke about the Coronavirous and spoke of ways to slow the spread.
             
H. ITEMS FROM COUNCIL
Council Member Jordan thanked the Police Department for taking time to play with football with the children in the community.

Council Member Chivers thanked every one that participated in the Black History Month Program last month.
             
I. CITY MANAGER'S REPORT
City Manager Cloer thanked everyone who attended the State of the City address last month. She provided an update on the sale of the Palestine Mall; the City is under contract to sell to the Christon Company. City staff has been working diligently with SSE Development for the re-zoning project in the McFarlane Estates located directly across from Wal-Mart. We are coordinating the finalization of plans with the engineering firms for both Tidal Wave Auto Spa and Panda Express which will be built by their own individual companies. SSE Development will handle the development of Starbucks. The other additional property will be a sit-down restaurant, Council will vote on that property on March 23rd. She provided an update of the City pool. Also, she extended thoughts and prayers to Tennessee as the various communities begin their recovery efforts from the March 3rd tornado. She thanked the public works staff who continuously monitored throughout the storms and worked to barricade areas with flooding, removed debris from areas that might block drainage, remove fallen trees from the roadways, and a variety of other tasks. Connected Nation Texas Public Meeting will be held on March 12th to move forward on obtaining free broadband mapping and data analysis. She reminded everyone to register with Rave Mobile Safety to receive mass notifications alerts based on the weather in the area and reminded everyone to complete the Census.

City Manager Cloer informed that department directors were present to address questions from Council regarding reports.

The following departmental reports were provided:
             
1. City Manager's Office
             
2. Public Works February Monthly Report
 
             
J. BOARD APPOINTMENTS
             
1. Consider the appointment with term to expire on September 30, 2020, Ernesto Hernandez to Place 5 replacing Richard Bishop on Parks Advisory Board.
             
2. Consider the appointment with term to expire on September 30, 2021, Martha Hunt to Place 3 replacing John Lamb on Main Street Advisory Board.
 
  Motion by Council Member Larissa Loveless, seconded by Council Member Mitchell Jordan to approve items 1 and 2 as presented.
  Vote: 6 - 0 - Unanimously
             
K. OPEN BIDS
             
1. Open Sealed Bids for RFP 2020-007 Commercial Real Estate Broker Services.
One bid was received and opened for RFP 2020-007 Commercial Real Estate Broker Services as follows:
Edge Capital Markets Dallas, TX
             
L. CONSENT AGENDA
The following items may be acted upon in one motion. No separate discussion or action is necessary unless requested by the Mayor or a Council Member, in which event those items will be pulled for separate consideration. Approval of the consent agenda authorizes the City Manager to implement each item in accordance with staff recommendations.
             
1. Consider approval of minutes of the Special Meeting and Work Session of December 17, 2019.
             
2. Consider a resolution to amend the Authorized Signers on the TexStar Investment Pool Account. Interim Finance Director, Andrew Sibai
             
3. Consider a resolution amending TexPool Authorized Representatives. Interim Finance Director, Andrew Sibai
             
4. Consider approval of invoice over $25,000. Interim Finance Director, Andrew Sibai
             
5. Consider approval of a rear covered porch addition to the existing Animal Shelter building located at 335 Armory Road. Development Services Director, Mark Miears
             
6. Consider approval of a resolution for the Palestine Police Department on submission of a grant application for the Safety and Accessories Project to the Office of the DJ-Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Division.
  Motion by Council Member Mitchell Jordan, seconded by Council Member Larissa Loveless to approve Consent Agenda Items 1 through 6; adopting Resolution No. R-07-20, Resolution No. R-08-20, and Resolution No. R-09-20, as presented.
  Vote: 6 - 0 - Unanimously
             
7. Consider approval of Edena Atmore as Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer. City Manager, Leslie Cloer
Item moved to Regular Agenda.
             
M. REGULAR AGENDA
Consider approval of Edena Atmore as Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer. City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer introduced Edena Atmore. She added that Edena is familiar with Incode Technologies. Ms. Atmore thanked Council for the opportunity to be in Palestine.

Motion by Council Member Dana Goolsby, seconded by Council Member Larissa
Loveless to approve the item as presented.
Vote: 6 - 0 - Unanimously
             
1. Consider awarding RFP 2020-006 Tree Removal to Felipe's Yard & Tree Service in the amount of $18,200.00 for the tree removal at the Water Treatment Plant. Utilities Director, Felipe Garcia
Utilities Director Garcia provided a summary.
  Motion by Council Member Larissa Loveless, seconded by Council Member Vickey L. Chivers to award RFP 2020-006 Tree Removal to Felipe's Yard & Tree Service in the amount of $18,200.00 as presented. Council Member Jordan not present for the vote.
  Vote: 5 - 0 - Unanimously
 
Other: Council Member Mitchell Jordan (ABSENT)
             
2. Consider and take action on the replacement of the Palestine Municipal Airport Automated Airport Weather Station (AWOS) with TXDOT RAMP Grant funding. Streets Director, Mark Fletcher
Streets Director Fletcher provided a summary. The City will only have to pay 25% of the matching funds. This project was budgeted. The AWOS at the Palestine Municipal Airport is approximately twenty years old.
  Motion by Council Member Larissa Loveless, seconded by Council Member Vickey L. Chivers to approve Resolution No. R-10-20 as presented.
  Vote: 5 - 0 - Unanimously
 
Other: Council Member Mitchell Jordan (ABSENT)
             
3. Consider and if deemed appropriate approve a resolution ratifying the prior establishment and adoption of guidelines and criteria for granting tax abatement relief by Resolution R-23-19 on November 25, 2019, and ratifying the prior approval of a tax abatement agreement by Resolution R-05-20 on February 10, 2020, pursuant to Chapter 312 and the Texas Tax Code. City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer provided a summary. This is to formally adopt the Tax Abatement with Fikes Wholesale, Inc.
  Motion by Council Member Dana Goolsby, seconded by Council Member Mitchell Jordan to approve as presented adopting Resolution No. R-11-20.
  Vote: 6 - 0 - Unanimously
             
4. Discuss and take action on proposals received for RFP 2020-005 for City Attorney Services. City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer provided a summary. Discussion was held. City Manager will have Mr. Herrington reach out to Bojorquez Law Firm. Council thanked Mr. Herrington for helping out when needed.
  Motion by Mayor Steve Presley, seconded by Council Member Larissa Loveless to award RFP 2020-005 City Attorney Services to Bojorquez Law Firm, PC.
  Vote: 6 - 0 - Unanimously
             
5. Discuss and take action on the potential need for Narcan/Naloxone for drug overdose reversal in Palestine. Mayor Steve Presley
Mayor Presley informed that additional research will be done on this item.
             
N. CLOSED SESSION
Mayor Presley announced that Council would go into Closed Session pursuant to Section 551.071 consultation with attorney: pending or contemplated litigation or a settlement offer and Section 551.074 personnel matters. The time was 6:34 p.m.
             
1. Discussion and update regarding City of Palestine v. LS Equipment Company, Inc. - Case Number DCCV17-003-3.
             
2. Discussion and update regarding Baze Chemical, Inc. v. City of Palestine, Texas, Case No. DCCV20-1523-3.
             
3. Discussion and update regarding Union Pacific Railroad Company v. City of Palestine, Texas, Case 6:19-cv-00574-JDK.
             
4. Discussion and update regarding City of Palestine v. Jerry Laza, Cause No. DCCV 16-359-349, 349th District Court, Anderson County; and Jerry Laza v. City of Palestine, Cause No. 6:17-CV-00533-RWS in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas.
             
5. Discuss the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of the City Manager.
             
O. RECONVENE IN REGULAR SESSION
Mayor Presley reconvened Council into open session at 8:39 p.m.
             
1. Take any action regarding City of Palestine v. LS Equipment Company, Inc. - Case Number DCCV17-003-3.
No action was taken.
             
2. Take any action necessary regarding Baze Chemical, Inc. v. City of Palestine, Texas, Case No. DCCV20-1523-3.
No action was taken.
             
3. Take any action necessary regarding Union Pacific Railroad Company v. City of Palestine, Texas, Case 6:19-cv-00574-JDK.
No action was taken.
             
4. Take any action necessary regarding City of Palestine v. Jerry Laza, Cause No. DCCV 16-359-349, 349th District Court, Anderson County; and Jerry Laza v. City of Palestine, Cause No. 6:17-CV-00533-RWS in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas.
No action was taken.
             
5. Take any action regarding the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of the City Manager.
No action was taken.
             
P. ADJOURNMENT
With no other business to come before Council the meeting was adjourned at 8:39 p.m.
PASSED AND APPROVED THIS 27TH DAY OF APRIL 2020.

Steve Presley, Mayor

ATTEST:

Teresa Herrera, City Secretary

    

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