The question of what the city of Glen Rose will or won’t do about the heavy transport truck traffic passing through town remains up in the air following a discussion during Monday’s City Council meeting.
City leaders did, however, settle some unfinished business by appointing Jack Johnson to the one vacant seat on the five-member at-large City Council. He was selected by vote of the Council from among three residents who came forward offering to fill the position that had been left vacant by the resignation Robert Marquez.
First, candidate Richard Vaughn came to the podium and told the Council that he moved here 2-1/2 years ago, was a former Marine who has a master’s degree in public administration and is a member of the Lions Club and the American Legion.
Second was Johnson, who works at the Glen Rose Senior Center. He told the Council that he is a former earthquake engineer who was born in Glen Rose and moved back here five years ago.
“Public service is the highest calling,” Johnson told the Council.
Tom Osborn is a local businessman and longtime resident.
Council members Julia Douglas and Hawthorne voted for Jack Johnson, while Chris Bryant and Martin voted for Osborn.
In order to break that 2-2 tie, Miller cast her vote for Jack Johnson.
“My core values are here in Glen Rose,” Johnson told the Council after he was appointed. “I’m a Christian, and I believe in serving my fellow man. My main focus is going to be serving our senior citizens.”
Johnson will be sworn in on May 28.
Also during Monday’s meeting, Council member Johnny Martin was unanimously voted (4-0) to be the new mayor pro tem. Martin had previously been appointed to fill the void left by the resignation of Linda James, then officially became a Council member for a full two-year term when he was unopposed in the most recent election cycle.
Dennis Moore, who had been serving on the Council and decided not to seek reelection, was the previous mayor pro tem.
Monday was the first full official meeting with new Mayor Pam Miller in charge of the proceedings. Miller was appointed in March to fill the role until she was officially sworn in last Friday for her two-year term starting this month. Miller had been unable to attend the previous meeting in April.
In addition, it was the first meeting for new Council member Rhonda Hawthorne, who gained the seat when she also was unopposed in the last election cycle.
Miller, Martin and Hawthorne were sworn in by City Secretary Stephanie Ritchie during a ceremony at City Hall last Friday.
As a result of the election results that were held, city residents decided by a voting margin of 51 to 35 to eliminate the 1/2 percent 4B Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sales tax, and at the same time to increase the municipal sales tax from one percent to 1-1/2 percent.
City Administrator Michael Leamons said during Monday’s meeting that the result of that vote was “a net change of zero.” The Council then voted, 4-0, to dissolve the EDC, effective Oct. 1, 2019.
Multiple residents and downtown business owners addressed the Council on their concerns about heavy trucks, many transporting loads of rock from quarries south of town, traveling through Glen Rose. It has been said that as many as 300 such commercial transport trucks are driven through Glen Rose each day.
Leamons said he had learned that the Council could designate an official truck route that would require the truck drivers to take an alternate route to avoid the problematic right turns from Elm Street onto NE Barnard Street heading toward U.S. Highway 67.
Leamons suggested that it’s “primarily to improve the flow of traffic," but the first resident to come to the podium said, “It’s also a pedestrian issue.”
But the next speaker said, “This has nothing to do with safety,” noting that it seemed the complaints he heard were more about noise and inconvenience.
A woman who owns a business downtown told the Council, “I see our little town becoming a freeway.”
The next speaker was a man who stated, “These trucks are killing this city. It’s going to have to be stopped.”
He suggested making part of the primary path taken by the trucks designated as a school zone with a slower speed limit, making it a less desirable path for the time-conscious drivers.
“I think you can make it happen pretty quick,” he said of his suggestion.
No vote was taken, but Leamons said he will be researching more options, to be discussed during the next meeting.
TRES RIOS ANNEXATION
The Council voted 4-0 to approve the annexation of 47.565 acres of land in the Three Rivers Addition, Milam County School Land commonly know at OCP-Tres Rios RV Resort, LLC. That includes approximately 2,660 feet of Somervell County Road 312 leading from the described property to the Glen Rose city limits line at the west side of Outlaw Station Street.
The Council unanimously approved Hotel Occupancy Tax grant applications for the All-Around Ranch Rodeo ($7,000), Holland Racing Texas Time Trials ($3,500) and a proposed family-friendly two-day singer-songwriter music festival put on by Phil Hamilton ($7,000).
The All-Around Ranch Rodeo had been held in Glen Rose from 2010-2012 before moving to Fort Worth, to move the event back here.
This July will mark the first time for Hamilton to put on the singer-songwriter festival in Glen Rose.