At the regular meeting of the Coupland City Council on August 22, the majority of the meeting was an informal question and answer session with Attorney Barney Knight. Here are the highlights:
- The meeting was attended by the Mayor, all five Aldermen, the City Secretary (yours truly), one citizen, and one guest.
- No citizens signed up to address the council.
- The council approved an agreement with the legal firm of McKamie Krueger & Knight, LLP for legal services to the city.
- A previous resolution appointing Barbara Bulware-Wells as the primary attorney representing the city from the the legal firm was amended to replace Ms. Wells with Jeff Ulmann from the same firm.
- Two tax ordinances were passed. Ordinance No. 2013-8-22-01 ordered a special election on November 5, imposing a one percent sales tax within the city limits. Ordinance No. 2013-8-22-02 ordered a special election on the same date, imposing a one-quarter percent sales tax within the city limits to provide revenue for maintenance and repair on the city streets.
- Barney Knight donated his time to answer questions from the council. Several questions were related to subdivision and zoning ordinances and Mr. Knight gave detailed an extensive responses providing the council with a variety of options. He especially addressed the process of establishing zoning ordinances and how existing property is affected by new zoning. There were questions about fireworks, mobile homes, junk vehicles, unkempt properties, right of way, local enforcement, and agricultural property. Public hearings will be held before any zoning ordinances are established.
- Mr. Knight shared a few other tidbits of interest:
- In the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ), the only ordinances the city can pass are sign and subdivision ordinances.
- The city would have no realistic influence over the establishment of a new rail line in the ETJ.
- Some ordinances can be adopted on one reading, others require more.
- He learned early on that the first rule of public administration is to move slowly and take one step at a time.
Mr. Knight has extensive experience in representing municipalities and although he rarely works directly with cities these days, he said he would keep a close eye on the work his firm does for Coupland and that he would return for another question and answer period, if requested, at no charge to the city. He said he has a soft spot in his heart for Coupland because he used to pass through it regularly as a child when his family traveled to visit other family back in the days before Interstate 35 was built.
The next regular meeting of the city council will be on September 12 at the fire station.