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The City Council of the City of Palestine, Texas convened in a Regular Teleconference Meeting on Monday, June 8, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. for the Work Session, 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; Joe Baxter, Council Member; Dana Goolsby, Council Member
Staff Present: Leslie Cloer, City Manager; Edena Atmore, Assistant City Manager/CFO; Teresa Herrera, City Secretary; Gary Landers, City Attorney; Patsy Smith, Parks & Recreation Director
The following Staff participated via Zoom: Felipe Garcia, Utilities Director; Mark Harcrow, Police Chief; Shannon Davis, Fire Chief; Theresa Holden, Library Director; Mary Raum, Tourism Marketing Manager

Mayor Pro Tem Ann Connor arrived at 3:55 for the work session. Council Member Dana Goolsby, Council Member Mitchell Jordan, and Council Member Vickey L. Chivers were absent for the work session; Council Member Chivers participated during the Regular and Closed Session via Zoom.

Mayor Presley called the work session to order at 3:35 p.m. A quorum was not present until 3:55 p.m.
1. Discuss RFQ 2020-001 Engineering Services. Patsy Smith, Parks and Recreation Director
Patsy Smith, Parks and Recreation Director, explained that both engineering companies answered the following questions:
  • How much time will it take you to provide a written proposal to City Council for total cost to create the timeline for resolving the ADA issues at our athletic fields? (There are 12 fields)
Brannon Corp: 2-3 days to create a proposal back to the City Council.
RLG: It would take approximately 2 weeks for us to provide a written proposal back to City Council. Our scope of work would exclude any work in the restrooms, the concessions stands, and any architectural elements. We can however team with an architectural firm in order to provide a turn-key package.
  • If you are selected as the engineering firm, when will you be able to begin working on the timeline?
Brannon Corp: Immediately
RLG: We would be able to start work as soon as the contract is approved by Council.
  • Would it be a better option to look at opening one or two ballfields at either Mitchell Campbell or Calhoun Parks first and allow people to use them by next spring rather than immediately tackling all of the Palestine Athletic Complex?
Brannon Corp: Possibly, but we won’t know for sure until more data is gathered. The more expensive improvements may need to be phased in order to meet budget. We could also ask for variances from TDLR, no guarantees, but it may be an option.
RLG: We believe the contractor will stage the construction. We can phase the documents in a manner where Mitchel Campbell/Calhoun Parks are first to be constructed so that the public can utilize them as soon as possible.
  • Would it be cheaper to just make the call to not re-open some of the more expensive fields to renovate to ADA compliance? Are there any fields you would recommend that we just not reopen?
Brannon Corp: Yes
RLG: There are certainly ways to save money on the overall project by not reopening some of the fields. Council could consider closing fields 3 and 11. Fields 6-8 will be complex, but doable.
  • Who would be your assigned floodplain manager who would be able to assist us with evaluating safety and ADA issues at Steven Bennett Park?
Brannon Corp: Bob Breedlove, PE. All of the ADA compliance issues at the 3 small parks (not including the Athletic Complex) could be designed and constructed by the end of 2020 if we get started soon. The Athletic Complex will take a major surveying effort to gather the necessary data we need to design the improvements. Once data is gathered, we would complete the overall design, opinions of cost, and work with staff on a phasing plan.
RLG: We would partner with Cardinal Strategies out of Dallas.

Casey Coley, P.E., Project Manager, with Brannon Corp provided a summary of their proposal. They are recommending to permanently close the ball fields and park at Steven Bennett. The cost of design, construction, and regular maintenance in and near the flood plan and flood way would be very significant. The light poles and lights could be salvaged and used elsewhere. Also, Mitchell-Campbell and Calhoun should be designed first because they are smaller projects.

RGL representative was not present.

Council asked Staff to look into CARES Grant funds to pay for some of these repairs due to Coronavirus.
2. Review CGI Communications, Inc. videos and authorize the posting of the videos on the City's website. Mary Raum, Tourism Marketing Manager
Mary Raum, Tourism Marketing Manager, explained that City Manager Hornes signed the contract. The City of Palestine is excited to share its partnership with CGI Communications, Inc. to create a series of professionally produced online videos to highlight everything our community offers residents, visitors, and business owners. This contract was not approved by Council and it is a multi-year contract.  The videos were viewed by Council. This item will be presented for approval at the next meeting.
3. Discuss water usage for splash pad and cost of water. Patsy Smith, Parks and Recreation Director
Patsy Smith, Parks and Recreation Director, explained that the Splash Pad is not on re-circulated water; there is no filtration system. The water usage was provided. There are three 2,000 gallons tanks; connected to capture overflow from the Splash Pad and utilized with the sprinkler system to water Reagan Park. Craftsman provided a $160,000 quote to add a filtration system for the Splash Pad.  Also, the filtration system will be added cost to maintain. Mayor Presley asked about the marginal cost to produce the extra water at the treatment plant. The marginal cost will be provided at the next meeting.

Council recommends that the Splash Pad be sanitized about every six weeks. New signs to encourage social distancing and no pets allowed will be placed before the Splash Pad is opened.

With no other business to come before Council the work session was adjourned at 4:37 p.m.
Mayor Presley called the Regular Meeting to order at 5:40 p.m.
The invocation was given by Rev. Roy Duncan and was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
There were no proposed changes.
Members of the public may submit their comments by completing the required Request to Speak form by using the web-link 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.

The following comments were submitted and read aloud by Mayor Presley:
  • Jack Coleman submitted comments regarding Council Member Dana Goolsby.
  • Jonathan Cary submitted comments regarding Black Lives Matter.
No action was taken.
Mayor Presley spoke regarding the new COVID-19 cases in the county. He encouraged everyone to continue wearing a mask in public and to wash and sanitize one’s hands frequently to slow the spread of the virus.
Council Member Chivers reminded everyone that Rev. Duncan’s 32nd Anniversary “Making a Difference Celebration” will be on June 14th at 10:30 a.m. and the parade will be at 1:30 p.m.

Council Member Jordan thanked the group who put together the vigil at Reagan Park; and informed everyone that an open forum will take place at Palestine ISD on June 16th regarding race and policing issues at 6:00 p.m.
City Manager Cloer reported on the following: the number of COVID-19 cases; Connected Nations Texas update; Census 2020 and the importance of completing the Census data; and she thanked all City employees for thinking outside the box during the time City offices were closed to the public.

Council Member Loveless stated that she thought she received an email stating that Connected Nations surveys were completed for the educators. City Manager Cloer answered no; she still needs nine educators to complete the survey.

City Manager Cloer informed that department directors were present to address questions from Council regarding reports.
1. City Manager's Office
2. Parks and Recreation Monthly Report
3. Fire Monthly Report and Emergency Management Update: The City must pay 100% upfront on all the grants. The City was awarded some money on all the grants. Interim Emergency Management Coordinator Chambers explained that she was not applying for the CARES Act Grant, instead she is applying for ETCOG Supplemental Reimbursement. The CARES Grant is a 25% match and ETCOG is 100% match. Mayor Presley explained that he was under the understanding that CARES Grant would pay at 100% and asked Staff to investigate it. Council asked that a response by Staff be submitted in writing to Council.
4. Tourism March/April Report including the return to travel forecast was provided.
5. Public Works Monthly Report: Council Member Jordan asked regarding a pothole that was patched and has now sunk in near the railroad tracks on S. Royall Street. Utilities Director Garcia explained that several potholes had settled after they were patched, and streets crews will go back to re-patch.
6. Library Monthly Report and Opening Plan
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 Work Session and Regular Meeting of May 26, 2020. Teresa Herrera, City Secretary
2. Consider the approval of invoices over $25,000. Edena Atmore, Assistant City Manager/CFO
  Motion by Council Member Larissa Loveless, seconded by Council Member Mitchell Jordan to approve the Consent Agenda as presented.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously
1. Consider authorizing City Manager to seek sealed bids for the Palestine Municipal Airport Automated Weather Observation System. Felipe Garcia, Utilities Director
City Manager Cloer explained that there had been some confusion regarding if the City would be required to seek bids.  She added that the City is responsible to solicit the bids.
  Motion by Council Member Larissa Loveless, seconded by Council Member Joe Baxter to authorize the City Manager to seek sealed bids as presented.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously
2. Discuss and take action on the library's application for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission CARES grant. Theresa Holden, Library Director
Theresa Holden, Library Director is requesting approval to complete the grant. The application for the Texas State Library CARES grant. The TSLAC CARES Grant Program is a reimbursement grant program which funds operating expenditures such as library supplies and materials, technology, furniture, and contractual services. All grant expenses must be designed to respond directly to the COVID-19 emergency. The total amount of the grant is for $2,475.82.
  Motion by Council Member Mitchell Jordan, seconded by Council Member Dana Goolsby to authorize the library's application for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission CARES grant as presented.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously
3. Discussion and first reading of a resolution approving funding by the Palestine EDC for infrastructure grant of up to $70,000.00 in Sales Tax Rebates to New Urban Development. Leslie Cloer, City Manager
Leslies Cloer, City Manager, explained that this is for infrastructure cost for the Chick-Fil-A project.

Mayor Presley conducted the first reading of the resolution.
4. Consider the approval of the 2020 Pool Schedule for the Steven Bennett Pool.
Patsy Smith, Parks and Recreation Director, explained that the Parks Advisory Board approved the 2020 Pool Schedule. The proposed schedule was presented to accommodate the changes with COVID-19 to sanitize restrooms, sitting areas, and maintain social distancing to open the pool at 25% capacity was presented. The following were discussed:
  • There will be a one-time waiver for adults and for minors to complete, maintained by the YMCA.
  • A 25% capacity should be kept for the entire season. 25% capacity is calculated to 37 people. 
  • Swim time will be limited to 1 hour and 15-minute intervals with online booking system. Lifeguards will sanitize between intervals.
  • Health screening to check temperatures before entering pool will be conducted.
  • All minors 16 years of age or younger must be accompanied by adult.
  • Water aerobics will be free to public.
  • Lap swim will be allowed during swim team schedule.
  • Lifeguards will wear PPE at check in only.

Jeremy Janz was present to answer questions.
  Motion by Council Member Mitchell Jordan, seconded by Council Member Joe Baxter to approve as presented subject to review of the contract by City Manager and City Attorney.
  Vote: 7 - 0 - Unanimously
Mayor Presley announced that Council would go into Closed Session pursuant to Texas Government Code, Chapter 551, Subchapter D. The time was 6:44 p.m.
1. Section 551.072 deliberation regarding real property: the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property. Discussion and update on City-owned properties including Palestine Mall, Civic Center, and Palestine Athletic Complex.
2. Section 551.087 deliberation regarding Economic Development negotiations. Discussion and update on Chick Fil-A (Mall Pad Site 2).
3. Section 551.087 deliberation regarding Economic Development negotiations. Discussion and update on Magnum Opus Ventures.
4. Section 551.087 deliberation regarding Economic Development negotiations:  discussion and update regarding Project Mash.

Council Member Jordan left at 7:44 p.m.
Mayor Presley reconvened Council into open session at 8:08 p.m.
1. Discussion and possible action regarding real property including:  Palestine Mall, Civic Center, and Palestine Athletic Complex.
No action was taken.
2. Discussion and possible action regarding an economic development incentive for New Urban Development Corporation, LLC in an amount not to exceed $40,000 to reimburse the developer its infrastructure costs associated with the Chick-Fil-A (Mall Pad Site 2) project.
No action was taken.
3. Discussion and possible action on Project Mash.
No action was taken.
With no other business to come before Council the meeting was adjourned at 8:08 p.m.

Steve Presley, Mayor


Teresa Herrera, City Secretary


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