The real highlight of this meeting was a custom gavel made and donated by Eldridge Tidwell to Mayor Jack Piper.
The entire City Council was present along with the City Secretary. One citizen attended the meeting.
Prior to the regular meeting, a public hearing was conducted on the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins on October 1. Mayor Piper reviewed the budget (see the story from September 3 for details on the budget). The only question from the public was related to road maintenance. Becky Sutton wanted to know whether or not Williamson County will take over maintenance on Pflugerville-Berkman Road (CR 459). Barbara Piper said that the council has not yet heard back from the county on this matter. There were no other questions or comments from the public. The budget will be formally adopted at the next regular meeting.
After the public hearing was closed, the regular meeting of the City Council began. Here are the highlights:
- Mayor Piper presented a financial report to the Aldermen. The beginning bank balance was $1,935.64 on June 26. Income was $1,415.93 (Liquor Tax Allocation). Expenses totaled $583.33 (checks, office supplies & equipment, Texas Municipal League Risk Pool). The ending balance as of August 30 was $2,768.24.
- Oncor expects to provide the information needed to establish an agreement for franchise fee revenue by October.
- Mayor Piper provided information on expected sales tax revenue in the event that the sales tax propositions are passed by the voters in November. Based on figures provided by the State Comptroller’s office, average state taxable sales within the City of Coupland during the period of July 2012 – June 2013 were $51,358 per month. This would result in general sales tax revenue of $629 per month ($503 for regular sales tax, $126 for road maintenance tax).
- During the Citizen Communication portion of the meeting, Becky Sutton asked a general question about how many readings are required for ordinances before they can be adopted. Mayor Piper responded that it depends upon the type of ordinance. He also noted that an extensive ordinance would not have to be read in it’s entirety but would be summarized and copies would be available to the public in advance. Ms. Sutton also asked how much Oncor will pay in franchise fee per meter. Mayor Piper that this figure is not yet known but that it will be in the contract with Oncor.
- Another citizen, Stewart Dale Spencer (City Secretary and yours truly) read a prepared statement. He advised the City Council that considering his position as City Secretary, the best way for him to express his opinion on City Council matters was during the Citizen Communication portion of the meeting. He spoke about the issue of zoning, reminding the Aldermen that they had all run on a platform of “Keeping Coupland, Coupland.” He noted that Coupland has never had zoning and that he felt that existing state and county laws and regulations were sufficient to ensure the safety and well-being of the general community. Click here to see the full text of his comments.*
The next regular meeting of the City Council will be on September 26. However, Mayor Piper has set a special work session for the Council to review and possibly revise a draft of a subdivision ordinance. This meeting will be on September 18 and will be open to the public.
*[Publisher’s Note: It is admittedly somewhat uncomfortable to be in the position of serving the community as City Secretary while also reporting on City Council activities and decisions and then, as in this story, reporting on my concerns about the same. It’s a small community and many Couplanders serve in multiple functions. It can’t be avoided and, in my opinion, should not result in the loss of anyone’s rights to express their opinions. Nevertheless, I wish to make it clear to our readers that it is the policy of the Coupland Times to clearly separate objective reports upon City Council meetings from opinions and/or concerns that I or others may have about the activities and decisions of the City Council. As City Secretary, I am the servant of the City Council. As private citizen and publisher of the Coupland Times, I am a watchman who stands ready to praise and admonish the City Council as circumstances warrant. This is the essence of a democratic republic and I encourage all Couplanders to attend City Council meetings and be involved in the process of governing this wonderful community. This forum will be equally available to all respectful expressions of personal opinions about city government and other community matters.]