A proposed pay raise for city council members was voted down by a 3-2 vote at Monday night’s regular city council meeting.
Councilman Ricky Villa said the proposed raise, which included the mayor, had not been a part of the initial budget, but he felt there was enough wiggle room in the budget since the city would be trading in one of their police vehicles.
With the estimated $10,000 from the trade-in, taxes would not be raised and the budget would not need to be amended to make room for a moderate pay raise.
Council members Bob Stricklin and Barbara Mitchell both voiced their opposition to the raise, stating that anyone interested in running for the council should not be persuaded by the money involved.
City Council member Chris Bryant suggested a pay raise for the mayor and council members at the Oct. 13 city council meeting.
Bryant said the $10 council members are currently paid does not cover many of the expenses members incur, including gas, phone bills and time invested.
He proposed $250 a month for council members and $350 a month for the mayor.
The mayor is allotted $150 a month.
Bryant had a letter from a citizen who opposed the raise, but did not want to step forward for fear of repercussions.
Bryant assured those at Monday’s meeting that anyone who spoke out against the raise would not suffer any harassment or consequence for their opinion.
A few citizens did speak out at the meeting for and against the pay raise. Ultimately, the council members had to vote and the panel was split.
Stricklin, Mitchell and Councilman Rocky Terry voted against the raise. Bryant and Villa voted in favor of it. Mayor Pam Miller was not at the meeting.
The motion was denied.
Other business covered during Monday’s meeting included a report for County Judge Walter Maynard regarding groundwater districts. He advised the city council that the county has been placed into a Priority Groundwater Management Area (PGMA) by the Texas Water Board (TWB) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The county has approximately two years to form a district or join an existing one or they will stay in the PGMA with McLennan County.
“Last month they put us in a PGMA,” Maynard said. “We have started talks with Johnson, Ellis, Hill and possible Navarro County.”
The Ellis County Commissioner’s Court passed a resolution Monday in support of creating a five-county district, to include Somervell.
Maynard said the county would prefer to join a fee-based district over a tax-based district. Fee-based districts assess fees for commercially used wells that pump 25,000 gallons or more a day. Wells are metered to keep track of usage.
Joining a fee-based district means large consumers such as the city of Glen Rose would be charged for water usage through well production fees.
Maynard added the county’s deadline is Oct. 31, 2010.
Diane Gruber was appointed as the alternate member for the Board of Adjustments.
Council members also approved a resolution in support of Raise Your Hand Texas.
Raise Your Hand Texas is a bipartisan group of business and community leaders, parents and tax payers dedicated to strengthening and improving our public schools.
They also withdrew letter of confirmation regarding water and sewer lines for a development project on East Highway 67. The developer has postponed his building plans.
A bid to install sewer lines at Hwy 67 and 144 was denied. City superintendent Ronald Bruce said the bid came in significantly higher than expected and the city simply did not have the money to complete the project at this time. He suggested breaking the project up into a series of smaller ones, allowing the city to pay a little at a time until the lines are complete.
Margaret Drake reported that the revised Riverwalk drawings should be completed soon, along with new cost estimates. The plans and associated costs will be discussed at the next Riverwalk Committee meeting set for December 1.