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Police accept patrol rifle donation

Police accept patrol rifle donation
NANNETTE KILBEY-SMITH Josh Felker of the LoneStar Handgun Shooting Range presents La Vernia police Chief Bruce Ritchey with an M4 patrol rifle Dec.10 during the La Vernia City Council meeting. The rifle is one of five Felker and the Sons of Liberty Gun Works have donated to the department through the Arming Heroes program.

The La Vernia Police Department, the first law-enforcement agency in Wilson County to deploy body cameras, has added more to its crime-fighting capability.

Chief Bruce Ritchey, on behalf of the department, accepted a donation of five M4 patrol rifles from Josh Felker, owner and operator of LoneStar Handgun Shooting Range, and the Sons of Liberty Gun Works. The donation, presented during the Dec. 10 La Vernia City Council meeting, was made through the Arming Heroes program.

“We are grateful for the service that our Law Enforcement provide and we back the Blue whenever we can,” Felker told Ritchey in an email prior to the presentation.

The donation was approved by city council members Eloi Cormier, Jennifer Moczygemba, Harold Schott, and Mark Doege.

The council also approved a temporary certificate of occupancy for The Den Restaurant on Bluebonnet Road (F.M. 775), for six months. The restaurant, due to open Dec. 21, must comply with parking lot requirements within the specified time; owners Levi and Jacob McBee advised the council that rainfall in November had adversely affected work on the restaurant’s parking lot.

“All our other permits are in place,” Jacob told the council.

“We’re ready to train, and we’ll be ready to open,” Levi said.

The city got great news from bond counsel Victor Quiroga Jr. of Frost Banking Investments Insurance.

Quiroga told the council and Mayor Robert Gregory that Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has given La Vernia a rating of AA/stable, the third-highest rating possible, exceeded only by AA+ and AAA. This helped the city secure a locked-in, fixed interest rate of 3.23 percent on its $3.18 million in combination tax and revenue certificates of obligation to fund water infrastructure improvements. The debt was approved 4-0 by the council.

La Vernia, population 1,231, has a higher rating than Floresville, the Wilson County seat, which has a population 6,782; Floresville’s credit rating is A+, two steps below La Vernia. La Vernia’s rating also exceeds that of Seguin, population 26,660, which has a rating of AA-, Quiroga said.

“We’re very excited about the rating of AA,” Quiroga said. “Your ratings are based on what you’re doing as a council and what your staff are doing regarding your finances.”

“That’s great for a city our size,” Mayor Robert Gregory said.

The $3 million for water infrastructure improvements will be paid over 20 years, with a projected end date of 2036; $180,000 for water meters will be repaid over three years.

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