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Council considers park paving, more

Council considers park paving, more
Members of the La Vernia City Council and city employees discuss budget issues July 25 during the first of three workshops to plan the city’s 2013-14 budget. / NANCY PAVLICH

La Vernia city council members and city employees met July 25 in the first of three workshops to discuss the 2013-14 budget.

Council members Marie Gerlich, Eloi Cormier, Jennifer Moczygemba, and John Richter were present, along with Mayor Robert Gregory, Police Chief Bruce Ritchey, Public Works Director Jason Mills, Code Enforcement Officer Janet Thelen, and City Secretary/Treasurer Angela Cantu.

Among the items discussed were improvements to the city park. Gregory said that at some point, he would like to see the park enhanced. The council previously has discussed repaving the parking lot at the city park. Estimated costs for repaving are around $750,000.

Every year, the Greater La Vernia Parks Foundation and the La Vernia Little League raise funds to go toward the upkeep and beautification of the park. According to Gregory, the city ultimately owns it.

Each year, the city allocates around $15,000 in the budget for park maintenance and other costs. Gregory said the city should start investing more in the park and consider the paving.

“It’s not anything we can solve this minute, but something we need to keep in mind,” Gerlich said,

Discussion also included information from the police chief about upcoming needs for the police department, and possibly budgeting for these.

According to Ritchey, the department is reaching the point of needing a full-time investigator who can also handle traffic and warrants.

He suggested budgeting to allow for the department to buy a used Ford Crown Victoria, a weapon, and other equipment for the department and proposed investigator.

Ritchey also suggested the city should consider buying Tasers for the department. These cost around $1,000 each. He suggested buying two per year; in three years, the department would have one for each officer.

No actions were taken, as this was strictly a workshop. The council will hold a second budget workshop Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the La Vernia City Hall.

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