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Council talks trash, considers smoking ban

Council talks trash, considers smoking ban
La Vernia City councilmen (from left) D. Bradford Beck and Rady Leonard and Mayor Robert Gregory listen to a presentation from IESI regarding a recycling program during the Oct. 11 council meeting.

La Vernia residents will see a slight increase in the fees for solid waste collection and disposal after the La Vernia City Council passed an ordinance to do so at its Oct. 11 regular meeting.

The ordinance, which allows for a 1.7-percent increase, is based on the consumer price index (CPI) and will take effect Dec. 1.

“The increase comes from the price increase which is passed on to us by the company,” said City Secretary Angela Cantu after the meeting. “The increase is then passed on to the residents through this ordinance.”

The new residential rate is $12.52.

The city council also discussed the possibility of a smoking ordinance within certain enclosed public areas.

City Councilman D. Bradford Beck voiced support for such an ordinance, stating that new businesses interested in opening in La Vernia had been inquiring about it.

“The dangers of second-hand smoke are real,” Beck said. “This is something that would be good for the city.”

La Vernia Greater Chamber of Commerce President Wes Becknell, speaking as a citizen, was in favor of allowing businesses to choose their own policies, rather than to have a city ordinance.

“Personally, I am opposed to smoking and have seen the effects it has done to my own loved ones,” Becknell said. “But ultimately, it is each person’s choice to smoke or not and it should be the choice of a business owner to allow it or not.”

The council will hold two workshops to discuss the possibility of a smoking ordinance and an ordinance to increase the masonry requirements on Oct. 22 and 24, with a special meeting to take place on Oct. 25. The ordinance for the masonry requirements is intended to increase the amount of masonry for new buildings in La Vernia.

“This is something that the new businesses coming in to La Vernia are serious about,” Beck said. “I’m not talking about small businesses either. I’m talking big corporations.”

Discussion during the meeting led to the recommendation by Mayor Robert Gregory to send the masonry ordinance to the Planning and Zoning Committee for further review.

During the meeting, the council also:

¢Discussed a proposed 2013 Texas Capital Fund project to benefit Cub Country Child Care Center and Mesquite Bean Coffee Shop, by allowing them to utilize the city’s sewer system instead of their current septic systems.

¢Heard a presentation from Royce Gray of IESI regarding a recycling program for the city.

¢Approved an ordinance prohibiting parking, except for emergency vehicles, in the designated emergency-vehicle parking spaces in the La Vernia City Park.

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