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Council makes zoning board changes, discusses tax rate


LA VERNIA The city of La Vernia will again participate in National Night Out, after Mayor Robert Gregory signed a proclamation to that effect Sept. 17 during a special city council meeting. The Monday night meeting was the second in less than a week; during the regular council meeting Sept. 13, the council approved the appointment of two alternates to the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustments.

Sept. 13

Mayor Robert Gregory said the alternates, Marie Gerlich and Chester Kolodziej, will serve to avoid another situation similar to what the city experienced over the summer.

“We had a situation where the Chevrolet dealership needed some changes per General Motors (GM),” Gregory said. “The dealership was given a timeline from GM, but during that time one member of the board was absent and another had to recuse himself due to his involvement with the issue.”

With the appointment of the alternates, the Zoning Board of Adjustments can continue to operate smoothly in the event of any future similar situations, Gregory said.

Gerlich, a former councilman, and Kolodziej, formerly a member of the La Vernia Planning and Zoning Commission, both have experience with local government.

“I think they will be great alternates,” Gregory said. “They have shown a willingness to be involved with the community.”

Also at the meeting, the city council approved a lease agreement with the La Vernia Historical Association for the property located at 13136 U.S. 87.

“That is the old fire station, which the historical association operates as a museum,” Gregory said. “The lease agreement was more of a formality, which was recommended by our attorney. The historical association is a service to our community, so we did not really want to charge them much for the lease agreement since we hadn’t been charging them anything up until now. We agreed to charge them a rate of $1 per month.”

In other business, the council:

¢Passed an ordinance to amend the organized sports fees, increasing the cost per team for recreation and competitive volleyball teams from $100 to $120 to utilize the city park.

¢Recognized Sgt. Danny Pitts of the La Vernia Police Department for attaining his bachelor’s degree from Ashford University.

Following the meeting, the council held a budget workshop for the fiscal year 2012-13 budget.

Sept. 17

During Monday evening’s meeting, the council and several members of the public met McGruff, the crime dog, and the Knight, the mascot for the National Association of Town Watch, as the council approved the city’s participation in National Night Out, an event that encourages people to get to know their neighbors and participate in “America’s Night Out Against Crime.” La Vernia’s event will be Tuesday, Oct. 2.

The meeting was preceded by a public hearing on the city’s proposed 2012-13 fiscal year budget and the proposed tax rate of 20.08 cents per $100 of valuation. This is comprised of 17.74 cents for maintenance and operation and 2.34 cents for debt service. No members of the public addressed the council during the hearing, according to City Secretary/Treasurer Angela Cantu, who added that no changes were made to the budget. This will be the budget council members will vote on during a special council meeting Friday, Sept. 21, Cantu said.

In other business, the council approved placing $20,000 budgeted for the current fiscal year for the city park into a savings account for the Greater La Vernia Parks Foundation to use at a later date.

Also set aside was the sum of $225,000 $118,000 in proceeds from a CD that matured in May of this year, along with an additional $107,000 from the water checking account into a six-month CD for the water account with a “bank that gives the best interest rate,” Cantu said.

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