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LV gets new police chief, inks gas agreement

 
LV gets new police chief, inks gas agreement
BAIN SERNA Members of the La Vernia Police Department are present Dec. 8 as the La Vernia City Council approves Sgt. Bruce Ritchey as the department’s new chief, following the retirement in November of former Chief Bobby Hyatt.

LA VERNIA -- Issues such as hiring a new police chief, gas utilities, and improvement and expansion to the parking lot of the La Vernia City Park were all addressed in the productive Dec. 8 meeting of the La Vernia City Council.

The council approved the appointment of Bruce Ritchey as the new chief of the La Vernia Police Department, replacing Bobby Hyatt, who retired last month. Ritchey was sworn in during the meeting with La Vernia police officers and family in attendance. Learn more about the new chief in a coming issue of the Wilson County News.

Also during the meeting, council members heard a presentation by David Mueller of the West Texas Gas Co. (WTGC) regarding a possible franchise agreement with the company that would provide piped natural gas utilities to the city.

The WTGC is a privately owned business that operates 28 city systems, and serves 35,000 customers across Texas. The company has proposed to build natural gas pipelines alongside new development in La Vernia and to add existing structures where it is economically feasible to do so. The natural gas pipelines would be more efficient and economically sound than the existing and more expensive propane gas, Mueller said.

The pipeline gas would provide incentive for new businesses to locate in the city and be beneficial to new residential development, as it would bring more cost-effective and more convenient gas utilities, according to Mueller. No longer will propane gas have to be trucked in. The pipelines would improve and cut expenses for heating, hot water, manufacturing machinery, cooking systems, and more, and would be more practical with the ongoing economic growth and development of the city, he said.

The council unanimously approved the proposal and pipe will be laid in the coming months, as soon as all documents are signed and all compliances and details worked out.

Continuing with the now-common theme of city growth, the council heard another presentation by Robert Friesenhahn of the Greater La Vernia Parks Foundation, requesting a variance to expand and improve the city park’s parking lot. Friesenhahn presented a preliminary drawing showing the prospective goals in terms of paving an existing dirt parking area, which would make the lot more structured and organized, improving the overall quality of the park itself.

Discussed and explained were details of zoning, landscaping, code compliance, efficient exits and entrances, lighting, and efficiency for bigger vehicles and trailers, as well as hosting large community events.

The council unanimously approved the variance request.

In other matters, the council:

•Approved the appointment of Robert Gregory to the Wilson County Appraisal District Board to represent the city of La Vernia and the La Vernia Independent School District.

•Approved the Greater La Vernia Parks Foundation’s annual budget.

 
 
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