Glen Rose City Council OKs interlocal agreements for tourism services, effluent water usage
The Glen Rose City Council met in regular session on Tuesday and after some lengthy discussions, passed some items and tabled others until more information can be gathered.
Most notably, the council approved an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement between the city and Somervell County regarding the Convention and Visitors Bureau and tourism services.
Coucilwoman Demetra Conrad presented the agreement that had been worked out between the two entities to the council for review and questions.
Councilwoman Kelly Harris, who is also an employee of the Glen Rose Convention & Visitors Bureau, recused herself from the discussion and voting.
Conrad said the potential agreement with the county includes a governing board of nine members. One member would be from the city council, one from the Somervell County Commissioners Court, and the others would include hoteliers and various business owners whose business is impacted significantly by the local tourism industry.
"Most importantly to me is that right now, it's just a two-year agreement," Conrad said. "We could implement this and it could be amazing or it could not work at all."
Conrad added that instead of duplicating efforts to attract tourists to the area, by combining efforts with the county, money can be saved.
Mayor Julia Douglas asked Conrad about oversight on how the money is spent, noting that the city's HOT (Hotel Occupancy Tax) dollars would be made available to the new combined entity.
"The county will have main oversight," Conrad said. "If they don't function in a way that is beneficial to the city, they will lose the HOT funds and personnel ... that all comes back to the city."
Officials said the new combined tourism entity would be located in the current CVB building, which is owned by the city. According to the interlocal agreement, the county would be responsible for minor repairs and utilities, while the city would be responsible for keeping an insurance policy on the building and responsible for major repairs, such as those caused by natural disasters.
Conrad noted that either the city or county, if they feel the agreement is not working, could give a 90-day notice of such, allowing time for the county to move out of the CVB facility and other situations to revert back to how they currently are.
After much discussion, the city council agreed to the interlocal agreement with the following changes:
• Any current outstanding contractual obligations with vendors, etc., for the CVB will be taken care of by the county.
• The city will receive a monthly report from the county concerning funds and projects.
• Major/minor repairs need to be more specifically defined so each entity knows what it is responsible for.
• Agreement needs to include more specific information on how the HOT funds would be redistributed with termination of the agreement.
• Employees of the CVB, who are considered city employees, would become county employees. However, the county requires 8 years of service to be fully vested in its retirement plan, while the city only requires 5 years of service. The document will include a guarantee that the employees' time is honored and retirement protected.
County Judge Danny L. Chambers was on hand to answer questions concerning the county's involvement in the agreement and said he would present the city's version, with changes, to the commissioners court at its next meeting.
Effluent water interlocal agreement
In another agreement with Somervell County, the council discussed the Interlocal Cooperation Agreement for providing and use of sewage plant effluent water.
Conrad presented the agreement for council consideration and discussion, noting that the water would be used to help water the city golf course, keeping it green during the hot summer and appealing to tourists. She noted that if the water needs to be used elsewhere, the city would have the discretion to do so.
The agreement is for five years, after which time it automatically renews if both parties are still satisfied.
After a lengthy discussion, the council approved the agreement with the following changes:
• Adding a line to state that either party may give 90 days written notice for review to end the agreement.
• Adding verbiage indicating the agreement is "given in consideration of other interlocal agreements."
In other business, Councilwoman Harris presented the concept of making the city's animal control its own department with the head of the department reporting to the city administrator.
Currently, Police Chief Buck Martin is dealing with animal control issues and Harris said creating an animal control department would take those duties off of Martin's plate and free up his time to do regular police work.
After discussion, it was agreed to table the item with Harris working on job descriptions, etc., for an animal control director and department personnel and present it at the next council meeting.
Transfer station interlocal agreement
The council considered a third interlocal agreement with Somervell County that would provide an easement between the city and county for access to the county's transfer station.
After some discussion, the item was tabled with Conrad agreeing to meet with the commissioners court and present a report at the next council meeting.
The council discussed the city's currently vacant building official position, pay rate and possibility of contracting for those services.
City Administrator Michael Leamons presented information from two companies that provide contract service for building services.
The first company stated it would provide services of three days per week at eight hours per day for $187,000. For five days a week, the cost would rise to $260,000. He noted this price includes just services and not inspections, which has a separate pricing schedule.
The second company stated it would only be on hand once a month for Planning and Zoning meetings and would not provide office hours on a regular basis.
Leamons noted that with the rate of building growth across the region and state, there is a shortage of building inspectors. He stated that one company he spoke with was short five inspectors.
"This is critical for the city to fill this (position)," said Councilman Chip Joslin. "This isn't something we can put off any longer."
Leamons noted that he has one individual who is interested in the position, but not for the pay that the city is offering. The current salary for the position is listed at $63,000 to $65,000. The interested individual said the position should pay $75,000 to $80,000. He noted the individual is fully qualified and has all the proper certifications.
After hearing the fees for contract services, the council reached the consensus that hiring someone to fill the position is the best option.
"I don't have a problem with raising the salary if the individual is fully qualified," said Councilwoman Harris.
The council approved a motion to hire for the position at a salary not to exceed $75,000 without council approval.
In addition to the interested candidate, the city will advertise on various platforms for additional candidates for the position.