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Council ponders parks wish list


Providing amenities for La Vernia residents to enhance their enjoyment of the city park has been the subject of many La Vernia City Council meetings.

What would citizens most like to see in the city’s recreational spaces?

During the Sept. 10 City Council meeting, city council members and several Boy Scouts discussed ideas for the city’s parks during a public hearing, said City Administrator Yvonne Griffin. Among the suggestions were parking lot improvements, a skate park, soccer fields, Frisbee golf, a pool, splash pad, swings, and horseshoes, to name a few.

Improvements to drainage in the park and lighting the walking trail there also were discussed.

The city is pursuing a $75,000 matching grant from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to benefit the community, said Mayor Robert Gregory after the meeting. As the city explores this and other opportunities, the council addressed several items, including a resolution “prohibiting drilling and mining, or the reopening of any abandoned well or mine” in public parks in the city.

For grant purposes, the council also approved:

¢Establishing a historic commercial district

¢A resolution to submit an application to the Texas Department of Agriculture for a 2015 Texas Capital Fund Downtown Revitalization Program grant, with funds to be designated for sidewalk, lighting, and handicap-accessibility improvements in the historic commercial district.

If the city is successful in obtaining the grant, Gregory said, “We hope to hold a town-hall type meeting to get public input and invite comments from community members.”

Public hearings on the city’s proposed tax rate and budget for the new fiscal year also were held. No one from the public addressed these; both were approved.

The city council adopted a budget of approximately $2.5 million, inclusive of all funds. Ad valorem, or property taxes, will help fund the budget. The tax rate approved by the council is 19.99 cents per $100 of taxable value.

The council discussed the performance of the city administrator and police Chief Bruce Ritchey during closed session, for their annual job evaluations. Griffin said that, upon returning to the regular meeting, a motion was made to approve items as discussed in executive session; this was approved.

“In general, the council is very, very pleased with the job performance of our police chief and city administrator,” Gregory said after the meeting.

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