You can see the agenda on the City’s website by clicking here.
You can see the minutes from the November meeting by clicking here.
Minutes from the December meeting will be posted on the City website after they are approved by the Aldermen in the January meeting.
If you just can’t wait a month or more to find out what happens at the regular meeting this week, you can attend the meeting.
The Coupland City Council will meet on Thursday, October 9 at the Fire Station.
Get the details on this link:
L-R: Susan Garry, Barbara Piper, Jack Piper, Karen Marosko, Eldridge Tidwell, Susan Schmidt
(September 12, 2013)
The Coupland City Council held a public hearing on the proposed 2015 budget, followed by its regular monthly meeting on September 11. Three citizens attended the meeting. Here are the highlights:
- During the public hearing on the budget, Mayor Jack Piper summarized the main revenue and expense line items. There were questions and short discussions about election costs, franchise fees, and the condition of County Road 458 as well as options for mitigating future maintenance costs of that road.
- Moving on to the regular meeting, the Mayor reported that the City had $36,989 in the bank as of August 31. He noted that the financial report showed that the City was $200 over budget in the engineering line item because of issues with the proposed plat for the Prinz Estates, which resulted in additional reviews by the City Engineer.
- The previous election order was cancelled because only three persons filed for the three open Alderman positions. Barbara Piper, Susan Schmidt, and Sarah Torluemke submitted applications to appear on the ballot. Ms. Piper and Ms. Schmidt will remain on the Board of Aldermen. Ms. Torluemke will replace Eldridge Tidwell, who decided not to run for re-election.
- An ordinance adopting the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015 (October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015) was passed unanimously.
- An ordinance adopting an ad valorem taxation rate of $0.25 per $100 of property valuation for taxes due in January was passed unanimously. The rate is unchanged from the current rate but because property values have increased somewhat, the City will collect about $2,000 more in property taxes next year. [Publisher’s Note: The 2015 budget is available for download from www.cityofcouplandtx.us.]
- The Mayor reported that the City’s portion of the Right of Way acquisition for TXDOT’s improvement project along FM 1660 has not been paid as authorized in the previous meeting because the agreement sent to the City by TXDOT was incorrect. Once again, TXDOT seems to not be aware that Coupland is an incorporated city within Williamson County. The agreement names the City as Williamson County with Jack Piper as the Mayor of Williamson County. They also listed an incorrect amount. The Mayor said no payment will be sent until we have a proper, signed agreement. The City had previously selected the option of making three equal payments, spread out over three fiscal years, with the first payment due before the end of FY 2014. Because the current fiscal year ends on September 30, TXDOT may not submit a corrected agreement in time to allow the City to make a payment during FY 2014, thereby pushing the entire arrangement back by one year. Mayor Piper said that there were personnel changes at TXDOT and he is dealing with different people than those who approached the City earlier in the year.
- There was a discussion about Bastrop Road in Coupland, a portion of which has become a bit of a ghost road. You have to look closely to see where it used to be as most of it fell into disuse decades in the past. Apparently it was part of the original plat for “Coupland City” in the 1800’s but most of it was never developed. The Mayor said that Martha Poldrack is developing a plot of land along that road and behind the Stock Up Food Mart for a new food establishment. No formal action was taken but by consensus, the Aldermen authorized the Mayor to negotiate with Ms. Poldrack on behalf of the City to help with the cost of clearing and leveling the old road bed but not absorbing future maintenance costs. Ms. Piper said they had contacted the Texas Municipal League and the City Attorney, both of whom said that the City is under no legal obligation to maintain any specific section of city roads. The consensus of the Aldermen was that the City can only maintain roads currently in use.
- With regard to mowing along those existing roads, the Mayor reported that he is still looking for someone to mow along CR 458.
- There was also a discussion about snakes coming from a property on Broad Street and near the school. The Mayor said he contacted the owner, who is a reputable businessman in Fredericksburg. The owner asked that City arrange to mow the property and send a bill for reimbursement. The Mayor also reported on recent road work work done by Naivar Construction (see earlier story).
- The Mayor reported that the state has been notified about two different sinkholes along Spur 277.
- Ms. Garry reported that the state is upgrading culverts along SH 95, evidently in response to a lawsuit. She also commented that even though Tesla Motors has elected to build its new battery plant in Nevada instead of Hutto, recent national exposure of that site (which happens to be in Frame Switch, the birthplace of Karen Marosko) will likely result in future development of that 1200 acre site between Hutto and Taylor and south of US Highway 79.
- There was a comment during the meeting about the need to have someone do some shredding in some overgrown portions of the City.
- With regard to a future Community Development Block Grant from Williamson County, the Mayor reported that Wilco is waiting for a copy of the August minutes to verify that he had the authority to enter the City into an agreement regarding future applications.
- Mayor Piper said future activity related to the Prinz Estates is awaiting the probate of Mr. Prinz’ will.
- During the recognition portion of the meeting, Ms. Schmidt mentioned the successful Choo Choo Fest in August. Ms. Marosko talked about efforts to save the old iron bridge on CR 456, which is currently closed and pending a decision by Wilco and the state whether they will repair or replace it. Finally, Mayor Piper recognized Edridge Tidwell for his role in serving on the inaugural Coupland City Council.
- For the Citizen’s Communcation portion of the meeting, Torsten Wabbel told the Council that in the near future he will be working a Boy Scout project which will involve the City Council.
The next meeting of the Coupland City Council will be on October 9.
The Coupland City Council will hold a public hearing at 6:45 PM to get input from the public on the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015. The regular City Council meeting will follow the public hearing. Get the details from the link below.
City Council Public Hearing& Regular Meeting, 9-11-14
L-R: Susan Garry, Barbara Piper, Jack Piper, Karen Marosko, Eldridge Tidwell, Susan Schmidt
(September 12, 2013)
The City Council meeting of August 14 covered a wide variety of topics. All of the Aldermen and the Mayor were in attendance but no other citizens attended this meeting. Here are the highlights:
- Mayor Piper reported that the city has $37,731 in the bank.
- Susan Garry addressed the Council in the citizen communication portion of the meeting because she was recusing herself from discussion and voting about issues related to the Texas Department of Transportation project on FM 1660. She said this was because she and her husband own property that is affected by the project. She said that she appreciated the mayor’s efforts with regard to dealing with the situation but since the City of Coupland was not included in the planning of the project, that if there was not going to be a benefit to the community them we should not spend funds on it.
- Mayor Piper reported that the long pending Prinz Estates final plat was okayed by the city engineer.
- A resolution ordering an election in November was passed unanimously. The mayor noted that if only three people run for the three positions they will cancel the order for election. At the time of the meeting, only one application for a place on the ballot had been received.
- Moving on to the TxDOT situation and the FM 1660 project, the Mayor said that state law gave us no choice in the matter and that we had to pay our share of the project which was related to right-of-way acquisition. He described the different options available to the city to pay, recommending that the amount be paid over three different fiscal years including a payment now, a payment sometime during the next fiscal year, and a final payment in the fiscal year after that. Barbara Piper said that she felt this was the best way to get off on the right foot with TxDOT. With Susan Gary recusing herself, the remainder of the Aldermen voted unanimously to approve the resolution to make the payments to TxDOT. The total of all payments would be $13,930.
- The mayor directed the Aldermen to the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015. He said that he had notified the City Secretary (Yours Truly) with regard to how the budget affects the ad valorem tax rate. He said that this notice and the proposed budget are on the City’s website. The Mayor highlighted some of the budget line items, noting some minor changes from the current budget but also a few other things such as adding funds to provide for training for city officials and increased street maintenance. The Mayor said he had asked Naivar Construction to look at city roads with him, make recommendations, and provide an estimate for maintenance costs. It was noted that County Road 458 (which is no longer a County Road) probably will need more work before winter. There was consensus among the Aldermen that heavy grain trucks and driving school trucks from Austin Community College were exacerbating the situation. The Mayor said that he would contact ACC to ask them to change their route. Karen Marosko noted that the south side of town had never had any maintenance done on the roads. Getting back to the proposed budget, Mayor Piper noted that engineering costs were increased slightly in hopes that this will support a future Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application that could help with major infrastructure projects in the city. The line item for attorney’s fees were reduced. A new item was the addition of a capital improvement fund for the long-term needs of the community. Right-of-way acquisition for the FM 1660 project was also included. All total, the budget is about $20,000 over last year’s total. The anticipated income from all revenue sources is estimated to increase from $39,000-$60,000. Barbara Piper noted that an increase in ad valorem taxes was based on an increase in assessed value and that we would have to decrease the tax rate to keep the amount the same as this year. She recommended that we keep the rate at $0.25 per hundred dollars of valuation because of increases in expenses. The Mayor noted the the total appraised value of all property in Coupland was $14,680,841. Karen Marosko recommended that we leave the rate as it is and that we could lower it later after the City has a good fund built up. The Mayor noted that he had done a “truth in taxation” form for the County regarding ad valorem tax rates that a notice will be posted in the Taylor paper. There will also be a notice regarding a required public hearing on the budget before the next City Council meeting and that this will be posted in the Taylor paper on August 22.
- There was a discussion about mowing within city limits. The mayor noted that streets looked much better after the recent mowing was completed. There was a discussion about the stretch of land between Commerce Street in the railroad. The Mayor said that letters had been sent to some property owners and that the City had gotten positive responses from two owners. He said he would continue efforts to encourage residents to work to improve properties that are overgrown. Barbara Piper said that she had contacted Lee Ortiz regarding the repair and replacement of street signs within the city limits. Eldridge Tidwell wondered if the State would be doing city limit signs. The Mayor said the State has been contacted regarding problems on the loop and on the 277 spur, where another sinkhole has appeared. There was a discussion about attempts to contact the owner of a specific property that is in need of attention. Barbara Piper said that environmental officers in the County have been contacted.
- There was a discussion about aggressive dogs and what options the city has for dealing with such animals. The mayor noted that the City does not have the authority to enforce animal control regulations — that only the County has that authority. Barbara Piper said that it is important to make a report to Animal Control and to try to get pictures showing violations. She said that with adequate proof, the owner of the animal would be cited by Williamson County Animal Control. The City Secretary noted that a letter to dog owners from the City citing the state law might be helpful.
- The mayor provided an update to the possibility of acquiring a CDBG grant in the future. Apparently there was some confusion about HUD requirements in the CDBG office at the County. At first HUD wanted proof that Coupland was an incorporated city and now they want proof that the Mayor had authority to commit the City to an agreement that was executed with Williamson County. Although it’s clear from the previous meeting that it was the intent of the Council to authorize the submission of a letter stating our intent to be a part of the CBDG process, it did not specifically address the issue of an agreement, which the Council was not aware of at the time. Now that the Alderman have seen the agreement and discussed the matter and expressed their full support, it remains to be seen if this will be acceptable to HUD.
- With regard to events in the City, Barbara Piper mentioned the upcoming Choo Choo Fest and Susan Schmidt said that National Night Out was a success with lots of young children present. Mayor Piper talked about the closure of the old bridge on County Road 456. He summarized the repairs that have been made on the bridge in the last decade. Apparently there is some Federal government money that will become available in November and the County is requesting that the State lower the condition rating of the bridge so that it will qualify for assistance. Susan Garry noted that this bridge is one of only a few historic bridges of that specific type. Karen Marosko noted that the Wilco Historical Society helped save the bridge in the past. Mayor Piper said that the County reported that an average of 17 vehicles a day use the bridge. Susan Schmidt said that they have followed people in the past to stop them from dumping trash near the bridge. Karen Marosko suggested that a petition to save the bridge might help and said that she would contact the Historical Society. On another matter, Ms. Marosko said that the Post Office is bringing in more money apparently because local citizens are using it more. She said that the Taylor Postmaster told her that as long as Manville Water Supply stays in Coupland and uses the Coupland Post Office, that they would be likely to maintain that location. Ms. Marosko said that according to staff at the Post Office, previous efforts to encourage people to use it seem to have helped because more people are buying boxes and stamps there.
The next meeting of the Coupland City Council will be on September 11 at the Fire Station and will be preceded by a public hearing at 6:45 PM on the proposed budget.