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MINUTES
The City Council of the City of Palestine convened in telephone/video conference regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 11, 2020, 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; Joe Baxter, Council Member; Dana Goolsby, Council Member
Staff Present: Leslie Cloer, City Manager; Edena Atmore, Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer; Teresa Herrera, City Secretary; Gary Landers, City Attorney; Felipe Garcia, Utilities Director; Mark Harcrow, Interim Police Chief; Patsy Smith, Parks & Recreation Director; Shannon Davis, Fire Chief; Theresa Holden, Library Director
             
REGULAR MEETING
             
A.
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Presley called the Regular Meeting to order at 5:32 p.m.
             
B.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The invocation was given by Pastor Alex Lupo, First United Methodist Church, 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
Members of the public may submit their comments by completing the required Request to Speak form by using the weblink below. All comments submitted by 5:00 p.m., the day of the meeting will be read during the meeting. All comments must be no more than five minutes in length.
http://cityofpalestinetx.com/government/city-secretary/policies-forms/request-to-speak/
  • Casey Bryant submitted comments to be read regarding limited numbers allowed at the ER due to COVID-19.
  • Halely Schoolcraft submitted comments to be read regarding COVID-19 and the full opening of the county.
  • AD Etheridge submitted comments to be read regarding the City Manager item on the agenda.
             
1. Mayor Presley read a proclamation declaring Monday, May 11, 2020; Jeffery Gerritt Day in Palestine, Texas; the proclamation was accepted by Jeff Gerritt.
 
             
E. CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
No action was taken.
             
F. MAYOR'S REPORT
Mayor Presley informed everyone that the COVID-19 orders that came from the City or the County are no longer in effect. All the rules that are currently in effect are from the Governor or the President. The City nor the County has the authority to supersede their orders.
             
G. ITEMS FROM COUNCIL
Council Member Jordan wished all the mothers a Happy Mother's Day.
             
H. CITY MANAGER'S REPORT
City Manager Cloer reported on the following: 50 positive COVID-19 cases in Anderson County, nine confirmed recovered testing; restaurants are currently operating under Phase I with the “Open Texas” plan with limited seating to 25% of capacity; the Texas Workforce Commission is experiencing extremely high volume via telephone and internet; they have set up a new website to provide information for those impacted by COVID-19; the local Workforce Solutions East Texas has a free daily webinar for job seekers; Connected Nation Texas is still collecting data for Anderson County from homeowners and business owners; 2020 Census; City offices will be closed through May 31st with a tentative date to re-open on June 1st; she thanked the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce for featuring a Restaurant of the Day on Facebook, encouraging resident to pick up to-go food; and she thanked the Public Works Streets Department staff for getting a section of North Jackson repaved last week.

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 Report
             
2. Parks and Recreation's Report: Council Member Jordan asked how often the cemeteries were mowed. He asked that staff keep in mind holidays when there will be a lot of visitors at the cemeteries and try to keep them mowed. Parks and Rec. Director Smith answered that it was last month; crews are only able to mow the locations once a month to try to keep up with all the mowing. d it was last month can only cut about once a month to keep up. Mayor Presley thanked the Parks and Rec. Department for keeping up with the mowing despite losing inmate labor due to COVID-19.
             
3. Fire Department's Report: Mayor Presley asked for a report from the Fire Department on cost recovery for the deployment of emergency and non-emergency service for services provided to non-residents of the City. Fire Chief Davis will provide a report at the next meeting.
             
4. Public Works' Report: Mayor Presley asked that Public Works Streets Department make sure they compact each pothole they repair properly. He had a complaint about a pothole that was not compacted properly.
             
I. 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 the minutes from March 30, 2020, Special Meeting. City Secretary Teresa Herrera
             
2. Consider approval of the minutes from April 6, 2020, Special Meeting. City Secretary Teresa Herrera
             
3. Consider the approval of invoices over $25,000.00. Asst. City Manager/CFO Edena Atmore
             
4. Consider a resolution finding that Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC's application for approval to amend its distribution cost recovery factor to increase distribution rates within the City should be denied. City Secretary Teresa Herrera
 
  Motion by Council Member Mitchell Jordan, seconded by Council Member Vickey L. Chivers to approve the Consent Agenda as presented, adopting Resolution No. R-16-20.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously
             
J. REGULAR AGENDA
             
1. Consider approval to seek proposals to replace a water line located at the Palestine Municipal Airport.  Utilities Director, Felipe Garcia
Utilities Director Garcia provided staff comments. They want to seek proposals to replace 10-inch cast-iron water main with a 6-inch C900 water main. The 10-inch cast-iron water main is approximately 25 years old. The cost will be over $25,000.00.
  Motion by Council Member Dana Goolsby, seconded by Council Member Larissa Loveless to authorize the City Manager to seek proposals to replace a water line located at the Palestine Municipal Airport.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously
             
2. Discuss and take action on Utility billing response to COVID-19.  Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer, Edena Atmore
Asst. City Manager/CFO Edena Atmore provided staff comments. During the pandemic, each cycle was given two free passes from disconnections. Staff is transitioning back to regular business, and wanting to resume disconnects on May 27, 2020, which is during Cycle III or wait until June 24, 2020. She explained that the Council’s decision will be communicated to the residents in advance. A discussion was held. Council wants staff to communicate with the residents. Customers who need to make payment arrangements need to call customer service to set up a payment plan.
  Motion by Council Member Larissa Loveless, seconded by Council Member Vickey L. Chivers to authorize disconnects of utility accounts as of May 27, 2020.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously
             
3. Consider confirmation of Lisa Denton as Economic Development Director.  City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer recommends confirmation of Lisa Denton as the Economic Development Director. Ms. Denton's start date will be Friday, May 22, 2020.
  Motion by Council Member Larissa Loveless, seconded by Council Member Dana Goolsby to confirm Lisa Denton as Economic Development Director.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously
             
4. Consider and take action on a resolution amending authorized representatives for TexPool. City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer explained that amending the resolution will allow the City to add Edena Atmore to the accounts.
  Motion by Council Member Mitchell Jordan, seconded by Council Member Dana Goolsby to approve Resolution No. R-17-20 amending authorized representatives for TexPool.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously
             
5. Consider and take action on resolution amending authorized representatives for TexSTAR.  City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer explained that amending the resolution will allow the City to add Edena Atmore to the accounts.
  Motion by Council Member Mitchell Jordan, seconded by Council Member Dana Goolsby to approve Resolution No. R-18-20 amending authorized representatives for TexSTAR.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously
             
6. Discussion and update from City Attorney on current projects. City Attorney Gary Landers
City Attorney Landers emailed the Mayor and City Council a report on pending or possible City projects needing legal review to enable prioritization. He asked that Council review the list of projects and determine what is a priority for them in order for him to work on the projects.

Council expressed that the list was lengthy, and it did not include pending litigation. Council is concerned with the number of billable hours.

Council directed the city manager to work with the city attorney to prioritize the items with a timeline on the estimated time of completion and the number of hours it will take to complete, then bring them back to Council for review at the May 26th meeting.
             
7. Discuss and take action for response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).  City Manager, Leslie Cloer
City Manager Cloer provided an update. Dr. Jose Tovar is working to have drive-thru clinics at his office. Also, we have had increased testing for Anderson County. She asked the Council if any citizens had reached out to them regarding opening the Library. Council answered no.

Mayor Presley informed the public that businesses control their own rules. Hospitals are limiting one adult per patient and visitors are limited, too due to COVID-19. The City cannot make them change their rules. Also, he was on the Governor’s call and there will be funds available for cities to recover COVID-19 expenses, and TDCJ will begin more extensive testing for the Correctional Officers and inmates.
             
K. CLOSED SESSION
Mayor Presley announced that Council would go into Closed Session pursuant to Texas Government Code, Chapter 551, Subchapter D. The time was 6:31 p.m.
             
1. Section 551.074 personnel matters, to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee; specifically of the city manager.
             
2. Section 551.071, discussion and update with City Attorney regarding pending or contemplated litigation or a settlement offer.
             
3. Section 551.072, deliberation regarding real property: the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property.
             
L. RECONVENE IN REGULAR SESSION
Mayor Presley reconvened Council into open session at 8:21 p.m.
             
1. Take any action necessary regarding the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee; specifically of the city manager.
  Motion by Mayor Steve Presley, seconded by Council Member Dana Goolsby to appoint a sub-committee of two Council Members; Council Member Loveless and Council Member Goolsby to work in conjunction with the city manager to develop a list of achievement goals to be reviewed in six months based on her six-month performance evaluation.
  Vote: 6 - 1
 
NAY: Council Member Mitchell Jordan
             
2. Take any action necessary regarding pending or contemplated litigation or a settlement offer.
No action was taken.
             
3. Take any action necessary regarding the deliberation regarding real property: the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property.
No action was taken.

Mayor Presley announced that the next City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, May 26, 2020; there will not be a meeting on Monday, May 18, 2020.
             
M. ADJOURNMENT
With no other business to come before Council the meeting was adjourned at 8:23 p.m.
PASSED AND APPROVED THIS 26TH DAY OF MAY 2020.

Steve Presley, Mayor

ATTEST:

Teresa Herrera, City Secretary

    

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