• February 12th, 2014 Minutes

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    City of Alpine
    Regular City Council Meeting
    February 12th, 2014
    6:00 P.M.
    Minutes

    1. Call to Order, Invocation and Pledge of allegiance to the flag – Mayor
    Rangra called the City Council meeting to order.

    2. Determination of a quorum and proof of notice of the meeting – There was
    a quorum present. Mayor Rangra, Councilors Bermudez,
    Davidson, Fitzgerald, Gonzales and Castelli were present. The City
    Secretary said the notice had been posted at 5:00 P.M. on February 7th,
    2014. City Manager Zimmer, City Attorney William “Mick” McKamie (by
    teleprompter) and City Secretary Taylor were also present.

    3. Presentations, recognitions and proclamations – None
    4. Reports –
    City Mayor’s Report –
    City Attorney Report –

    City Manager Report –
    City Staff Updates –
    5. Citizens Comments (on agenda items) –
    Judge Schlosser – said she wanted to speak on the item placed on the
    agenda by your city manager, #10. She said she did inform the City
    Manager that her second term would be ending in March of 2014 and that it
    was time to renew. She said typically when we renew it goes on the agenda
    and the council votes. She said her comment about this item is that you
    really don’t have an opening until you vote and if you don’t vote she is
    automatically renewed. She said her suggestion to the council is to put off
    posting any job until you know if you are going to have an opening or not.
    She said she is in the process of preparing a report to come to council. She
    said it is not ready today and she would like the council to have that when
    the council reviews her because they have been doing a lot of really great
    things over in the court and they went online with credit card payments
    today. She said they had their first payment online today. She said in the
    next few days there will be a link on the Alpine Web Page showing that
    online payments and credit card payments are available both by phone at a
    1-800 number and also online. Mayor Rangra asked if Mayor Schlosser was
    talking about item 10. Judge Schlosser said yes, she was talking about
    item 10. Mayor Rangra said this does not have anything about what you are
    talking about. Judge Schlosser said she was suggesting that the Council
    might want to put this item off because there are a lot of things that she
    would like to report to the Council on and she gave one example and it is
    really premature to vote on advertising a position that there is no opening
    for. She said she does realize that you will want to and she did suggest to
    Mr. Zimmer that the council might not want to wait until March, if the
    council is not going to renew her, to advertise because you do not want to
    have a vacancy there. She said it will automatically renew her if you have
    not voted by then. She said what really needs to go on the agenda is a
    renewal. Mayor Rangra said he hates to interfere but this is not about
    Judge Schlosser or anybody but we just authorize the city manager to
    advertise for the position. Mayor Rangra said it is not about Judge
    Schlosser. Judge Schlosser said she was sorry but it was about her. Mayor
    Rangra said we need to stick to the item. Judge Schlosser said she was
    sticking to the item and it was relevant. Mayor Rangra said he had to stick
    to the wording. Judge Schlosser said she assured him that it was within
    the purview of this item because it is frankly illegal for you to advertise a
    position that is not open or that is not going to be open and you do not
    know if it is going to be open until you vote. She said she is suggesting to
    the Council that you might want to put that on before you vote on this.

    6. Public Hearings – None
    7. Consent Agenda – (Minutes, Financial reports, Department Written
    Reports, board appointments, etc.) – None

    8. Information or Discussion items – None

    Action Items to be accompanied by a brief statement of facts, including
    where funds are coming from, if applicable. (Action items limited to 15 per
    meeting.) –
    9. Discuss and Consider approving the first reading of Ordinance 2014-02-01,
    an Ordinance of the City Council, of the City of Alpine, Texas amending the
    FY 2013-2014 Budget for the City of Alpine, Texas. (E. Zimmer, CM) – City
    Manager Zimmer said with regards to our last Council meeting on February
    4th, we reviewed the budget at that time with our revisions and from the
    public we received a valuable comment that discussed going through the
    ordinance process as indicated by our charter so we set up this meeting to
    basically to have the first reading of the ordinance. He said those have
    been provided to the council, the ordinance along with all of the revisions
    that were in the council’s packet. He said we have also provided copies to
    website as well. He said if the council would like he could read the
    ordinance so it would be read into record from this meeting. Councilor
    Fitzgerald asked if we actually had to read the ordinance. He asked Mick,
    the City Attorney if reading it was necessary. Mick McKamie, the City
    Attorney (who was present by teleprompter) said reading the caption of the
    ordinance was sufficient. City Manager Zimmer said Ordinance 2014-02-01,
    amending Fiscal Year 2013/2014 Budget for the City of Alpine, Texas. He
    said it was an Ordinance of the City Council of the City Council of the City
    of Alpine, Texas amending the Fiscal year 2013/2014 Budget for the City of
    Alpine, Texas. Motion was made by Councilor Davidson, by Resolution
    2014-02-07, to approve the first reading of the Ordinance. Motion was
    seconded by Councilor Bermudez. There was no discussion from the
    audience on the amendment. Motion carried unanimously.
    10. Discuss and Consider authorizing the City Manager to advertise for the
    position of Municipal Judge for the City of Alpine. (E. Zimmer, CM) – City
    Manager Zimmer said the reason for the item on the agenda is because as
    we were putting together the agenda, for this special meeting, there was
    some discussion between the city secretary and himself on the term as it
    related to our existing Municipal Judge and whether it expired in March of
    2014 or as the charter indicates, the Judge’s term would run consecutive
    with the term of the Mayor. He said with that being said, last fall the Council
    had requested the Interim City Manager who was Molly Taylor at the time,
    to advertise for the City Attorney position when there was an opening. He
    said his thought on putting this on the agenda was to ask the Council
    whether they wanted the City manager to post this position in the
    newspaper and post it publically, reading specifically in the charter, 4.05 –
    c, it indicates that the Mayor would nominate and the Council would
    approve the Municipal Judge for a two year term to run consecutively with
    the Mayor. He said the charter does not specifically outline how the
    advertising is to take place or how those nominations would come forward
    so merely here, he is just suggesting that if the Council would like the City
    Manager to advertise for this position, we certainly would do so on behalf
    of the Mayor and the Council. He said that is the reason for this item. Mayor
    Rangra asked the Council if they had any questions. Councilor Fitzgerald
    said he could appreciate the City Manager trying to pro act on this so that
    we don’t have a gap in who is Municipal Judge but he can see Judge
    Schlosser’s point too. He said it could be a little bit “the cart before the
    horse”. He said maybe we ought to just keep her on the agenda and
    evaluate her and then if there is one we still have time between now and
    then if we don’t vote to keep her, we still have time until the end of her term
    to advertise. He said she makes a good point that there is no opening.
    Mayor Rangra asked what the charter said. The City Manager said the
    Charter states that the Mayor nominates and the Council approves for a
    two year term to run consecutive with the Mayor’s term. Mayor Rangra said
    that would mean that May, 2014 of this year, after the election, the Mayor
    will nominate. City Manager Zimmer said it does not state whether it is
    done prior to or post election but in talking with Barbara with Mick
    McKamie’s office, she had indicated that it is important that the Council
    just be consistent on this. He said he also spoke about this with Mick
    McKamie as well. He said if you are nominating and then approving prior to
    a new Mayor going in then you would keep consistent on that or if you
    were waiting until a new Mayor came in and did it afterwards, that you kept
    consistent every two years. He said he did not know if Mick would like to
    make any further statement on that. Mick McKamie, City Attorney said he
    thought you could nominate and approve the term of appointment on either
    side of the term of office date and that does not change the date of the term
    of office. He said for instance, if it is concurrent with the Mayor’s term, that
    date would be the start of the term of office regardless of when the position
    was filled, because at the end of the term there is a vacancy. He said it
    could be filled on an interim basis, of course, but he thinks the council
    should just adopt a policy. He said the council may have some other
    appointments as well that are Mayoral appointments approved by the
    Council that have similar issues. He said it is just a matter of being
    consistent. Mayor Rangra asked when this appointment started. The City
    Manager said Judge Schlosser’s current appointment started in March of
    2012. Mayor Rangra said the Mayor comes in, in May. The City Manager
    said the Mayor comes in, in May. Mayor Rangra said the new Mayor. The
    City Manager said correct. Mayor Rangra said the question is that this
    would only be for March and April and May until the Mayor appoints one or
    nominates one? The City Manager said if you don’t and you take no action
    on it, then you would basically reappoint Judge Schlosser. He said he is
    not the lawyer in this and Mick would answer the question more than him
    but in May of 2012, with no action, because there was no further action
    basically saying that Judge Schlosser was appointed through May of 2014.
    He said you were two months off cycle in March of 2012. Councilor
    Bermudez said at their meeting that they just came back from this
    weekend, they were talking about the Municipal Judge who is over the
    court. She said they asked the question because they were kind of
    confused. She said they told them if there is a vacancy which is what there
    was when Judge Schlosser came in, before the election in May, from that
    March to May, she is allowed to stay and then if there is no vote to keep her
    or not, she is automatically in, but if there is a nomination and vote, he or
    she may or may not be appointed. She said the Mayor has the power to
    nominate and then the council approves and appoints. She said in other
    words, they told the instructors at the meeting that there was going to be a
    council meeting where we might advertise for the position. She said you
    can do that. She said the Judge could send in her resume for this position.
    Councilor Gonzales said that is what he heard too. Councilor Bermudez
    said that is exactly what the City Manager was saying right now. City
    Manager Zimmer said he was also thinking that the period of time in hiring
    of the City Manager and the period of time of hiring of the City Attorney
    was approximately three months for the City Manager and the City Attorney
    was approximately three and one half months and so if the Council was
    going to take any action proactively they would want to start considering at
    this point. He said as far as Judge Schlosser, he was not making any sort
    of any negative connotation towards her but what he would tell the council
    was that our court session in January, the docket, went very well. He said it
    has nothing to do with how the court is running. He said he was just trying
    to give the council the opportunity to say as we are working to get
    everything back in alignment, here is an item to consider. He said he was
    also not going to take this to the council or to the Mayor individually. He
    said he felt like it would be healthy to discuss this in a session like this and
    that was why he put it on the agenda. Councilor Gonzales said he was
    reading 4.05 – c and it talks about compensation. He said his
    understanding is that now we have a different system that is going to
    require a lawyer to be the Municipal Judge and asked if that was correct.
    The City Manager said because we are a court of record, yes, it does have
    to be an attorney, as the Municipal Judge. Councilor Gonzales asked if the
    City Manager was also going to advertise how much compensation
    would be offered. The City Manager said he would not make that
    determination. He said that would be determined by the Council as to the
    level of compensation. He said you can always put commensurate with
    expectations and experience and that leaves it very open. Councilor
    Bermudez said one of the things that she was wanting to put on the next
    agenda. She said it was one of the things they learned. She said they were
    told that small cities do not really need a court of record. She said it costs
    money to have a court of record. She said they were told that big cities do
    need one. She said she was thinking that maybe we could bring this back
    to the council to reverse this court of record ordinance. She said then we
    would not need a lawyer to be Municipal Judge. The City Manager said that
    would impact the advertising. Councilor Davidson was laughing and said
    he thought it was funny to have a Municipal Judge who is not an attorney.
    Councilor Gonzales said we have had one before. Councilor Fitzgerald said
    the last one was Judge Blackley. It was mentioned that the Judge before
    that one was not an attorney. Mayor Rangra said Judge Schlosser stated
    that “there is no vacancy”. He said he wanted to pursue that. He said if
    there is not a vacancy there is no need to advertise. He said the question is
    when you read the charter it says that it starts with the Mayor’s term. He
    asked when the vacancy took place. The City Manager said the charter
    states that the Mayor would nominate and the Council would approve to
    run a term consecutively with the Mayor. He said so reading that, knowing
    that the Mayors term starts in the even numbered years, in May of the even
    numbered years (he asked Mick to correct him if he was wrong), but it
    would be safe to say that the term for the Municipal Judge would run in
    May of 2014 to May of 2016. Mayor Rangra said when Councilor Bermudez
    and Gonzales were at the meeting, and they told the instructors that our
    Municipal Judge was appointed in March and no action is taken, it will
    automatically renew the Judge for two years, which would be March of
    2016. The City Manager said what he would explain as far as is there a
    vacancy or not, he has not been a City Manager up until this point. He said
    he has never been a Municipal Judge but he has worked in organizations
    where he has had to reapply for a job every year to three years and so
    depending on the requirements of the organization it is not uncommon for
    people to reapply for positions. He said he is not stating that is what our
    charter in Alpine says. He said our charter says that the Municipal Judge is
    nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the Council to run at a term
    consecutive with the Mayor’s term. Councilor Davidson said to clarify this
    in his mind, what he is hearing is that although the City Charter of the City
    of Alpine is not the highest law of the land and does not supersede other
    laws but what he has seen is that in March of 2010 the City Council
    interviewed any number of people and whether any of those people there
    knew it or not, what they were doing was indeed hiring a municipal judge to
    serve the unfilled term of the previous one that had resigned. He said
    whether that was on the agenda and they knew it or not. He asked the City
    Attorney if that was right since we had a charter that dictated how this
    works. He said what the city did, was to hire a municipal judge to serve out
    the remainder of that term and then therefore by not taking any further
    steps defacto appointed the standing judge for the two year term that
    began in May of 2010. Mick said he would be happy to research that issue.
    He said he had not researched the appointment dates or anything like that
    but he can tell the council that both the Charter and the City Ordinance that
    created a court of record specified two year terms and that means two
    years. He said there is of course a hold over provision in the State
    Constitution that an officer serves as a holdover until their successor is
    appointed and qualified to fill the position but nonetheless the term expires
    after two years. He said you are correct that there are some higher laws
    than the City Charter but not many. He said state statutes are not unless
    they clearly indicate so. He said the home rule city charter is on the same
    level of dignity as a state law. He said in this case there is a general statute
    for cities to use to create a Municipal Court of Record. He said it prescribes
    that you have to create a two or four year term. He said in our ordinance
    created a two year term for a court of record. He said the rest of the
    provisions in the city ordinance are similar to the state law. He said there is
    no conflict with the state law so he believes that the charter provisions
    apply and you can read in harmony, the state law and the city charter so
    that the two year term is concurrent with that of the Mayor. He said when
    that is used in the City Charter that means the regular office of Mayor. He
    said so that if the Mayor is elected according to the Charter in even
    numbered years, that would also serve as the period of the term for the
    Judge. He said it would be most appropriate for there to be a

     reappointment every two years because the term expires. He said if there
    were an appointment in March, which he believed they just referred to, then
    it would be an interim appointment until the May term began, the May two
    year term under the city charter and then it would continue for two years.
    He said if no new appointment is made at the end of the two years than that
    judge or officer would continue to perform the duties of the job but would
    be beyond their term of office. He said there will be a vacancy, under the
    terms of the charter at the end of the two year term, whenever that is. He
    said in this case he believes the charter makes it very clear that the end of
    the two year term will be when the new Mayor’s term begins. He said he
    thinks it would be most appropriate to reappoint or appoint a new officer,
    whatever the council’s wish is, at that time. He said and again, an
    appointment in this case, out of the charter, is by the Mayor with the
    approval by the Council. He said he did not know if he had answered that
    question adequately but that is what he thinks. He said he has not seen the
    original appointment dates, but in general that is the way it works.
    Councilor Fitzgerald said when he came on the Council the first time, after
    Gerald Raun died, he fulfilled the rest of his first term, but that did not alter
    the election cycle of Ward 3 council race. He said the election was always
    in May. Councilor Bermudez said right now the Council does not have
    anything to do with it. She asked the Mayor if he was going to appoint or
    bring someone before us. Mayor Rangra said the election is coming and we
    do not know what will happen in the Mayor election. He asked if we could
    just go ahead and not take any action on this item. Mick said it was up to
    the Council. He said it was like any other agenda item. He said the City
    Manager put this on the agenda for the Council’s information. Mayor said if
    we do not take any action on this item then the new Mayor in May still has
    the flexibility to nominate a new person or re-nominate the current judge.
    Mick said that was the way the charter reads. The Mayor said the reason
    the City Manager has this item on the agenda is so that there is a list of
    candidates for the new Mayor in May. He asked if that is why the City
    Manager put this item on the agenda. The City Manager said he put this
    item on the agenda for two reasons. He said number one was so that we
    would have this discussion. He said so we walk out of this room with
    clarity. He said he feels good that we have had a healthy discussion. He
    said number two was based on the outcome of the discussion if there was
    a need to advertise, which he is not feeling like, based on this discussion
    there is, that would have been part two. He said most importantly it was to
    have this discussion in an open council meeting and not people thinking or
    having some idea of what needs to happen. He said we have the attorney,
    all the council, the mayor and the city manager and the standing municipal
    judge is here. He said he thinks it has been a healthy and transparent
    discussion. He said he thinks it is important for the Judge too to have this
    dialogue and understand this. Councilor Gonzales asked if there was a
    time period after the Mayor has been elected that we need to do this. Mick
    said not really. He said you know this is a pretty common issue in all home
    rule cities where you have these kinds of terms that come up when the new
    mayor comes on board. He said it is just a matter of custom. He said your
    officers are appointed in the way that the municipal court judge would be
    here, would hold over until their successor is appointed and qualified. He
    said it is just a matter of as soon as you feel comfortable doing that. He
    said some cities do it for the first meeting after the new Mayor is sworn in.
    He said some do it in different ways. He said it is up to the council to set
    that policy. Councilor Gonzales said he is referring to the time when it
    becomes automatic and she or he becomes the Municipal Judge if they
    chose not to do anything. Mick said there is no automatic reappointment
    when there is a definite term of office. He said the term is two years,
    clearly, under the charter and under the ordinance. He said it expires at the
    end of two years. He said there must be a reappointment for another two
    year term. He said it is not a continuing appointment. Mayor Rangra asked
    if we needed to reappoint, again going back and rehashing it. He said this
    term is over, as he is saying, and the two year appointment started in
    March of 2012. Mayor Rangra said it is over in March of 2014. He asked if
    we needed to reappoint in March of 2014 to fill the incomplete term or just
    leave it at that and let the new Mayor worry about it. Mick said he thought it
    was pointed out earlier that from March until May of 2012, it was an interim
    appointment, because it was not concurrent with the Mayor’s term. He said
    there would be a need for a reappointment when the new Mayor’s term
    starts in May of 2014. Mayor Rangra asked if everyone understood. Motion
    was made by Councilor Fitzgerald to table this item. Motion was seconded
    by Councilor Bermudez. Dale Christopherson said he was very interested
    in the discussion that we had. Judge Schlosser said she researched this
    issue when the Mayor brought it up the last time he and she spoke about it.
    She said with all due respect a term is a term and the state statutes can
    conflict with the charter. She said in this case the term begins the day she
    takes office. She said she was voted in to a term in March of 2010 and it
    expired two years later, it was renewed and that one will expire in March of
    2014. She said every bit of research that she has, and she has a whole
    folder on it, indicates that she needs to be reappointed in March of 2014 or
    she will have a two year term. She said the council is getting two different
    legal opinions. She said she did research this thoroughly when the Mayor
    asked her about it six months or a year ago. She said the council might
    want to take a look at the case law and might want to take a look at what
    has been written out there. She said she thinks there is a way to reconcile
    your conflict with your charter and the statute which says the term begins
    when you are appointed and it runs for two years. She said that would
    mean that you would probably need to rewrite the charter to say that when
    the term begins the Mayor will nominate and the Council will vote on it. She
    said the issue is when does the term begin and that is a legal definition.
    She said in all of the Municipal Court Records and cases that she has
    pulled off Municipal Education for education site and all the cases she has
    pulled indicate that you cannot contravene with that two year statute. She
    said since the statute says it has to be two or four years then you get
    appointed and it goes to the end of that two years. She said that is the
    interpretation that the Municipal Court Education Center has taken and they
    have spoken out on it verbally and in writing. She said she does not want
    there to be any confusion when it comes up in May. She said her position
    will be that she was renewed in March. She said the opportunity occurs in
    March and not in May. She said maybe you should get something in writing
    from the Attorney and she will be glad to forward to Mr. Zimmer all of the
    cases and opinions on this issue but it looks as if your charter is in direct
    conflict with the statute which says that terms last two years. She said there
    is no interim term in the statute. She said there is nothing to allow an
    interim term. She said her interpretation of the statute is that every two
    years from the time that she is appointed to the end of that two year period
    you need to appoint her and here is the danger. She said if you do not
    reappoint her in March and you let it sit until May what could happen is with
    all the cases that are decided between March and May, someone could
    come in and say you have no authorized sitting judge at that time and they
    could have all of that set aside. She said she has to tell the Council that the
    March docket looks like they are going to have several thousand cases on it
    and she would hate to redo them because they are going back on the
    docket and picking up 5,000 pending cases that have been left and
    mismanaged by the prior judge and the prior clerks. She said they are going
    to get all of those cases taken care of and closed in the next couple of
    months. She said she did about 300 of them today and put them in the
    system and they are going to be heard at the March docket. She said by the
    time the March docket occurs they will probably have a couple of thousand
    cases on that docket. She said her concern is that if she is correct and your
    attorney is wrong and you don’t appoint her in March what could happen is
    that she could be sitting there until May and things could be happening and
    you would have no legal judge presiding and that is her concern. She said
    she is not worried about the council doing the right thing but she is really
    worried about that interpretation. She said of course someone would have
    to raise it and she will not do it. She said she will wait until May and do
    whatever they wish. She said her concern is that someone will say that you
    do not have a legal sitting judge. She said she thinks a written opinion on
    this would be advisable. Mayor Rangra said the Council is constantly told
    that they need to listen to their lawyer and he is sure that the new Mayor will
    keep that in mind. He said you have heard the comments from Judge
    Schlosser and he is sure that he will do some research on that and help the
    new Mayor whoever he or she will be. Motion carried unanimously.

    11. Citizens Comments (limit 3 minutes) – none
    12. Council Member’s Comments and Answers – none
    13. Executive Session – none
    14. Action – Executive Session – none
    15. Adjournment – Meeting was adjourned upon the motion of Councilor
    Davidson and seconded by Councilor Fitzgerald. Motion carried
    unanimously and meeting was adjourned.

    I certify that this notice was posted at 5:00 P.M. on February 7th, 2014, pursuant to Texas
    Open Meetings Act. (Texas Vernon’s Annotated Civil statutes, section 551.043 Texas Government
    Code.) This facility is wheelchair accessible and accessible parking space is available. Requests for
    accommodations or interpretive services must be made 48 hours prior to this meeting. Please
    Contact the city secretary’s office at (432) 837-3301 or fax (432) 837-2044 for further information.
    _________________________________________________
    Dr. Avinash Rangra, Mayor
    Attest:
    _______________________________
    Margaret “Molly” Taylor, City Secretary
    I, Margaret “Molly’ Taylor, City Secretary, do certify that this notice was posted at 5:00 P.M on February
    7th, 2014, and remained so posted continuously for at least 72 hours preceding the scheduled time of
    said meeting.
    Margaret “Molly” Taylor, City Secretary

  • February 4th, 2014

    Click Here for print friendly version

    City of Alpine
    Regular City Council Meeting
    February 4th, 2014
    6:00 P.M.
    Minutes

    1. Call to Order, Invocation and Pledge of allegiance to the flag – Mayor
    Rangra called the meeting to order. The invocation was given by Damien
    Grout with Holy Cross Anglican Church. The Pledge of allegiance to the flags
    was led by Mayor Rangra.

    2. Determination of a quorum and proof of notice of the meeting – Mayor
    Rangra and Councilors Bermudez, Fitzgerald, Gonzales and Castelli were
    present. Councilor Davidson was absent. The meeting notice had been
    posted at 3:00 P.M. on January 31st, 2014.

    3. Presentations, recognitions and proclamations –
    A. Proclamation for American Cancer Society proclaiming February as
    National Cancer Prevention month. (A Rangra, Mayor) – Mayor Rangra
    presented a Proclamation to the American Cancer Society proclaiming
    February as National Cancer Prevention month.

    4. Reports –
    City Mayor’s Report – Mayor Rangra said Sul Ross is looking for a new
    President. He said he met with Vice Chancellor Dr. Perry Moore and other
    officials for an hour and one half and they talked about issues about the
    community. He said Sul Ross is important for us. He said not only for Alpine
    but for all the outlying areas. He said that was very fruitful.

    City Attorney Report – Mick McKamie met with the council remotely. He said
    his firm has met with the City Manager and they have received assignments
    from the staff and their attorneys are engaged on working on some of those
    projects. He said they hoped to have some results by the next meeting.

    City Manager Report – The City Manager said a lot of our focus has been with
    the finances and the budget as well as the audit. He said he did want to report
    on our bulk trash pickup that occurred over a three week period in January.
    He said it was very well advertised. He said the first week we picked up 7.87
    tons of bulky material, the second week we picked up 5.39 tons of brush and
    the third week 2.28 tons of metal. He said we worked with the staff and Ron
    Poor who is with TDS, and who is here tonight, to really work back the
    community on the schedule and pickup. He said a lot of calls came in to both the city and TDS. He said they put out their stuff on Sunday night and come
    Tuesday or Wednesday it still had not been picked up. He said what we are
    really engaging on for our April pickup is to focus on getting that pickup
    schedule out there so that people know when Ron and their team are going to
    be by. He said it was a very much successful bulky trash pickup. He said at
    the last Council meeting we talked about the Governor’s Community
    Achievement Award. He said the final proposal was submitted this last week.
    He said he provided a copy for the council to see what that finished product
    looked like. He said notification to recipients is due by March 4th of this year.
    He said we feel like we have a good shot at receiving this award. He said the
    anticipated award amount would be $130,000 in landscaping here in Alpine.
    He said that would be a real shot in the arm for us and we cannot go on
    enough about the work that Martha did in putting that proposal together.
    He said concerning Code Enforcement, we had 26 code violations this week,
    8 investigations initiated and 9 court cases are pending. He said 6 building
    permits, 7 plumbing permits and 6 electrical permits were issued. He said we
    are continuing to see increased usage of the website that Mr. Polanco
    constructed this last year. He said he is also posting history of code
    violations, permits issued and Q and A’s for residents. He said it is not only a
    great asset and a great site to go to, a lot of questions that residents have
    can be answered simply by going to that website.
    He said concerning law enforcement, the big note here is we completed a
    traffic study. He said Councilor Castelli had requested it last fall and it was on
    the 1100 Block of East Avenue B. He said for those of you who do not know
    the area it is up there adjacent to the University. He said it is kind of a
    downhill run so there is definitely a concern there as far as speed goes. He
    said we focused the study from January 24th through January 28th and felt like
    SRSU was in session and we would collect the best data. He said mean speed
    varied daily between 20 to 23 miles per hour in a 20 mph zone. He said the
    average speed was over the posted speed limit. He said in that span we did
    record 4 vehicles over 40 mph. He said Chief Scown put some additional
    patrols there issuing warnings and citations as appropriate and did provide
    copies of the detailed data for councilors to read through. He said to please
    feel free to ask questions.
    He said last council meeting we committed to providing the full construction
    list for our road projects this year. He said we are targeting 38 streets in the
    city. He said these are what Hector and his team decided, and also he went
    out with them and gave his opinion, and input from other departments, as
    well as community residents have expressed their opinion as far as our key
    needs in the city. He said he would be posting this on our city of Alpine
    website so residents can look in. He said he always welcomes phone calls or
    visits if people feel like maybe there is a road that we possibly missed. He
    said he knows a lot of residents will also talk to their councilor about this. He
    said we feel like this is an aggressive push to get 38 roads done this year and
    we are very excited about the progress there. He said we have to get the list
    out early so that we can have our gas company and water company go through and really look at the infrastructure. He said we got initial feedback
    from our gas company outlining where the infrastructure is and their needs
    are concerned. He said obviously with a project like this the last thing we
    want to do is cut the water or gas and make somebody out for a day or two.
    He said TCEQ was scheduled to come out this past week to provide a follow
    up for our sanitation facility, our wastewater treatment plant. He said they had
    some illnesses within their staff and had to push their visits out. He said we
    were hoping that later on this week or next week they will come and based on
    Virgil’s analysis last fall, we had some key initiatives we were working on at
    the wastewater treatment plant and so this is TCEQ coming back with a
    follow up visit. He said he has also reached out to Pamela Aguirre there and it
    looks like she will come down in a couple of weeks and visit with him and the
    water department too. He said we feel like we are on track with making any
    additional corrections or modifications.
    He said the water department has been hit hard with illnesses across town
    and we have a lot of people sick in the water department, especially. He said
    it has slowed us down a little bit on some of our proactive initiatives. He said
    one of the things we are targeting is how to reinstate the affluent water usage
    to the area between East Brown, Fighting Buck Avenue and Loop Road. He
    said you are looking at the golf course, Kokernot Park area. He said right now
    we are pushing affluent water down the creek outside the wastewater
    treatment plant. He said once we get in compliance of what we can push back
    into the community area we are going to do that. He said we think that is a
    great way to green up Alpine. He said we are dispensing the water anyway.
    He said it is only the power, cost of energy, to get it back here which is very
    minimal.
    He said concerning the finance department, a lot of audit questions continue
    to come in. He said Megan told him today for every 20 they answer, it seems
    like they get 40 more. He said initially we were targeting for Craig Gibson to
    present the audit to us at the next council meeting but they have asked to
    move that out to the first week of March. He said the inclination there is to get
    this one right. He said it has been a lot of information from the past
    management of the bookkeeping and accounting to the conversion to a new
    system and the audit in 2013 is very important to the city. He said we need to
    make sure we get it right and that it is accurate, and that the action plan is a
    good robust plan. He said W-2’s and 1099’s went out this past week and we
    have developed our equipment disposal forms and process of our purchase
    order forms. He said he is listing these things because he is continually
    amazed at how much our finance department is getting accomplished right
    now. He said our new finance director Megan is doing a wonderful job and
    inspiring her team as well as the budget revisit that we will review this
    evening. He said we have a lot of tasks coming out of the holidays and they
    are executing very well in getting things started. He said we also distributed
    budget variance reports to our department heads this morning. He said
    another commitment we made is on the second meeting of every month to go
    through our budget variance and show how we are doing according to the adopted budget. He said working on that, to be ready for the meeting in two
    weeks. He said there is a super effort by our finance team over the last
    several weeks. He said they are doing a great job. He said in the midst of
    some of the challenges that we have had here in Alpine when folks step up to
    the plate they really produce great work and he thinks it is important that we
    recognize them. He said thank you to Megan and her team. Councilor
    Fitzgerald asked if there was anything new that he could share with the
    Council and with the public on the status of the investigations. The City
    Manager said as far as individual employees, we cannot share anything from
    a privacy standpoint. He said we continue to make progress each week on
    defining what he would categorize as all of the repayments based on any
    payroll loans or payroll advances with an anticipated date of completion of
    that by the middle of February. Bob Litton asked if there were 38 streets or
    blocks that the city was going to start working on. The City Manager said
    blocks. Manfred Fritsche said he wanted to point out that effluent was spelled
    wrong. Mayor Rangra asked if any staff members were going to speak. The
    City Manager said we asked a couple of staff members to be here this
    evening based on what is on the agenda. He said we covered everything.

    City Staff Updates –
    Megan Antrim, Interim Finance Director
    Robert Polanco, Code Enforcement
    Judge Schlosser, Municipal Judge
    Russell Scown, Chief of Police
    Virgil Clark, Interim Utilities Director
    Randy Guzman, Gas Department Manager
    Martha Latta, Recycling Coordinator
    Hector Ramirez, Director of Public Works
    Johnny Galvan, Airport Manager

    5. Citizens Comments (on agenda items) – None

    6. Public Hearings –
    A. Public Hearing to obtain citizens comments and questions for zoning
    change requested from R-4 to C-1. Owner wants to open a
    restaurant/bakery on the corner of South 11th and Gallego. Property
    identification /street address is S. 11th and Gallego. Legal description is
    Gillis 3rd Addition, Block 9, Lot 1. Record owner is Rudy Baeza and Agent
    is Julian Baeza. (E. Zimmer, CM) – The City Manager said we had our
    Planning and Zoning meeting this past week and the Planning and
    Zoning Commission asked Mr. Baeza and Mr. Baeza to provide a more
    detailed plan of what they wanted to do at the next planning and zoning
    meeting but since we had already posted the public hearing we had to
    include it on the agenda this evening but it will come back to us next month. He said we should pass on this, this evening. Mayor Rangra
    asked for any public comment on this item but there was no public
    comment.
    B. Public Hearing to obtain citizens comments and questions concerning
    the replat of the North part of Block 6, Means A Addition. The property
    was initially platted as one complete block and submitted to the county
    in February of 2006. The proposed replat of the property is consistent
    with, and exceeds the requirements of the zoning related to the area, R-
    2. The owners intended use will be for single family residences, whose
    requirement of a 7,000 square foot lot minimum is easily met. (E.
    Zimmer, CM) – The City Manager said he would make some comments
    and the property owners are here, who might want to make additional
    comments. He said the Planning and Zoning Commission met on this
    item as well. He said it was also recommended for approval by our Code
    Enforcement Official, Mr. Polanco. He said we had a robust discussion
    at the Planning and Zoning meeting around what the property owners
    wanted to do and how infrastructure was being handled there and how
    our utilities were being delivered to the property. He said there is a new
    road or a road that is less than three years old that is in front of that
    property and we had some discussion about the impacts of moving
    water and sewer under the property. He said post the discussion the
    planning and zoning committee recommended it to be submitted to the
    City Council and they approved it. There was no other discussion on
    this item.
    C. Public Hearing to obtain citizens comments and questions for Home
    Occupation Permit Application for Shanna Cowell Hickle for White Crane
    Acupuncture Clinic. Residence and Clinic is located at 303 E. Sul Ross
    Avenue. This application is for a licensed professional. The request also
    contains a sign variance. (E. Zimmer, CM) – The City Manager said Ms.
    HIckle previously had the sign at a similarly zoned residence about two
    blocks to the East of where she moved to. He said upon discussion with
    Mick McKamie, our City Attorney, any time a resident wants to move or
    an office business wants to move from one location to the next if they
    have a variance, the variance does not trail them or follow them to the
    new residence. He said Ms. Hickle was asking for a couple of things. He
    said one was the home occupation permit application to be approved
    which our Code Enforcement Officer and he reviewed as well. He said
    both of them approved that there was one exception on that and that was
    the variance for the sign itself. He said by Ordinance the sign needs to
    be, on a home occupation, one foot by one foot, mounted on the side of
    the residence. He said this one is a sign that is in the front part of her
    yard. He said there was a large amount of support present at the
    Planning and Zoning Commission meeting for Ms. Hickle. He said the
    Planning and Zoning Commission talked about it and felt comfortable in recommending that the variance be granted and for this to be passed on
    to City Council. He said Ms. Hickle has provided documents for everyone
    and he believes that she is here and would be willing to say a couple of
    words. Shanna Hickle asked if anyone had any questions. Mayor Rangra
    said the Council cannot ask questions at the public hearing. Shanna said
    she would like to thank the Council for allowing her to be here today so
    that they could consider her application. She said she realizes her sign
    is in non-compliance. She said if the irregularity of her sign causes the
    City Council to vote against approval of her application, she said she
    would be perfectly willing to move her sign. She said she has been in
    residence and business on Sul Ross Avenue since January of 2006. She
    said in 2006 she met with the City Code Enforcement officer at the time
    and she does not remember his name. She said she was in an R-2
    location at 505 E. Sul Ross in 2006. She said the Code Enforcement
    Officer at that time stated that she could operate her business there with
    the condition that it was also her home. She said she placed her sign
    there believing it to be okay and did business there from 2006 to 2013.
    She said it is her understanding that at some point, during that time,
    after she had established her business at 505 E. Sul Ross, her sign was
    grandfathered in and adjustments were made to the zoning enforcement
    in the neighborhood. She said during 2012 she was informed by her
    landlord that the property at 505 E. Sul Ross was up for sale and that she
    would be forced either to purchase the property or to move. She said she
    did not wish to purchase the property so she waited and watched for an
    investment opportunity to appear before there was a contract on the
    house. She said in the fall of 2012, she was contacted by her current
    landlord who was in the process of purchasing the property two blocks
    away at 303 E. Sul Ross. She said that is two blocks closer to the
    business district than where she was previously. She said apparently her
    new landlord had been informed by the previous owners and someone at
    the County that the building was zoned commercial which led her to
    believe that neither the business or the sign would be an issue. She said
    however, they were obviously mistaken as she found out a few weeks
    ago. She said Robert Polanco came by and said the property was
    actually in an R-2 zoning status just like her last location was. She said
    she realized that it was her responsibility to contact the Code
    Enforcement Officer before she agreed to move. She said she is
    throwing herself on the mercy of this Council and ask for consideration
    of the following: A) according to the special exception clause in the
    appendix “c” of the zoning ordinance, under home occupation and
    signs, “A special exception is a use that would not be appropriate
    generally or without restriction throughout the zoning commission or
    district but which if controlled as to number, area, location or
    relationship of the neighborhood would promote the health, safety,
    welfare, goal, order, comfort, convenience, appearance, prosperity or
    general welfare. Such use may be permitted in such zoning commission or district as a special exception if the special exception is made in a
    zoning ordinance.” B) She said her sign was previously grandfathered
    in. C) None of her neighbors object to her sign or business as it stands
    now. She said it would be kind of a hardship for her to put acupuncture
    on a small sign because the word is eleven letters long. She said she
    sees between 5 and 10 patients every day, Monday through Friday, and
    she fears that some percentage of them may experience confusion and
    not be able to find her office and end up bothering her neighbors or end
    up knocking on the wrong door. She said this goes to order, safety and
    convenience under the special exceptions. She said her business brings
    in 5 to 20 people each week from the surrounding towns to bring sales
    tax revenue and business to our area. She said that goes to prosperity
    under special exceptions. She said the consensus that she has heard
    from the people that she has talked to is that they find the sign
    aesthetically pleasing and in keeping with a more artsy appearance here
    in our community which goes to appearance under special exceptions.
    She said she would be willing to make any kind of compromise to reduce
    the size of the sign a little bit in any way. She said she was currently in
    negotiations with the artist who did her original sign. She said the day
    before Robert visited her she was in negotiations with him. She said he
    lives in Mexico and he was coming here to work and she was going to
    get him to paint her a new sign. She said she is going to be making a
    new sign sometime this year but it will be something along the same
    lines or smaller but pretty much exactly like the old one. Rick Stephens
    said he is speaking in support on behalf of Shanna’s proposal. He said
    he is on the Board for the Regional Rehabilitation Institute in Chicago,
    the number one recognized neurological rehabilitation in the nation for
    the last 22 years. He said what Shanna is bringing to Alpine is pretty
    important and it is recognized by the medical communities as an
    important medical practice and he would urge the City Council to
    approve this. Carl Fleming said he would speak in support of Shanna’s
    proposal. He said Shanna’s sign does not stand out on Sul Ross
    Avenue. He said acupuncture is not main stream yet. He said it will not
    be long before people accept it.

    7. Consent Agenda – (Minutes, Financial reports, Department written reports,
    Board appointments, etc.) –
    A. Approve Accounts Payable (E. Zimmer, CM) – Motion was made by
    Councilor Gonzales to approve the accounts payable, by Resolution
    2014-02-01. Motion was seconded by Councilor Fitzgerald. Motion
    unanimously carried.

    8. Information or Discussion items –
    A. Karen Brown, Director of Alumni Affairs of Sul Ross State University to discuss upcoming events. (E. Zimmer, CM) – The City Manager said he
    had the pleasure this past week in speaking to Karen concerning an
    event that they are hosting at Sul Ross. Karen Brown said the Council
    may have seen the signs or the newspaper ads concerning the 5K run on
    February 15th. She said it is a collaboration between the Alumni
    Association and SRSU and Chamber of Commerce. She said that the
    Relay for Life, wanted to do something that was healthy and also would
    raise money for good projects here in town and in our community. She
    said also all proceeds would go to the Food Pantry and Sul Ross local
    scholarships. She said the money will be earmarked for kids from Jeff
    Davis, Brewster and Presidio Counties. She said donors have the option
    of choosing whether they want to make a donation to one or both causes.
    She said so far she believes they have about 100 participants. She said
    they are hoping for some more participants. She said if you are
    interested, it is really easy to sign up. She said the information is on the
    back of this card and you can always call the Alumni office. She said as
    soon as you are registered they set up a fund raising page for you. She
    said they have some great prizes. She said they are being sponsored by
    some generous sponsors, Big Bend Regional Medical Center, Tallent
    Roofing, Alpine Medical Center, West Texas National Bank, Aramark and
    Porter’s Thriftway. She said if for some reason on that day you cannot
    participate or walk or run, or you don’t want to, you can still participate
    as a virtual runner/walker and fundraiser. She said she thinks this is the
    right kind of thing to get involved in, getting the students from Sul Ross
    and everybody, including the students from the local High School
    involved in caring and sharing.
    B. Revisit FY 2013/2014 City of Alpine Budget. (E. Zimmer, CM) – The City
    Manager said a lot of time and effort went into this budget revisit and the
    Council and the Mayor were provided packets on Friday. He said there
    would not be enough time this evening to go through line item by line
    item. He said we worked very hard to get the Budget revisit in front of the
    Council, in outlining down to the level where the changes were. He said
    what he would like to do is talk through some of the significant changes
    that were made, the reasons we made them, and talk about what we
    believe will be a positive story for our budget this year. He said then we
    will answer any questions from that point. He said the budget revisit was
    done basically using two snapshots. He said we looked at it 80 days into
    this fiscal year cycle and then we looked at it again 115 days into the
    cycle. He said at the 80 day point, Deborah Pattison was still our interim
    finance director, so he and she went through all the items and then at the
    115 day point, Megan Antrim and he went through them. He said what
    they feel, is that taking this look twice at this, they understand the
    trending to spend, and they have been able to look at a lot of the details
    as far as what we are spending. He said we are curbing a lot of items
    right now, items that historically have been run rate spending. We are now asking our departments to go back and curtail some of that
    spending. He said the worksheets that were provided all showed our
    previous three year actual, FY 2011, FY 2012 and FY 2013. He said also
    what we had spent through January 29th of this fiscal year. He said we
    really looked at our unemployment claims. He said historically if an
    employee has been terminated for whatever reason, especially for last
    year, we have not challenged these unemployment claims and we
    continue to pay them out. He said we saw that in increased
    unemployment expenditures and the original budget had the higher level
    of unemployment claim dollar amounts. He said we went ahead and
    brought all that back and it is his opinion that if an employee is
    terminated, 9 times out of 10 it is for cause. He said we do not have an
    employee reduction plan going on right now. He said if we terminate an
    employee for cause and they file unemployment, then we challenge that
    claim. He said we definitely throttle back those. He said also, we got
    pretty strict on our salaries, overtime, social security and really pulled
    back a couple of the groups on their spending there. He said we still
    believe we can under run in the departments. He said right now what we
    are hoping to be able to do is any under runs on the salaries or overtime,
    social security and insurance that we would build those into a reserve
    account for our healthcare. He said we do utilize a partially self funded
    health care program and because of that the health care plan covers up
    to a certain dollar amount but then the city is liable, after that point, so we
    need to establish some monies in reserve and currently we have zero
    allocated in reserve, for health care. He said we want to utilize any excess
    to build up the reserve accounts there. He said that is a critical piece that
    we are looking at. He said we are also looking at, what he and Megan
    term methodology, that we will use on our enterprise departments where
    we have revenues that exceed our expenses. He said it appears that
    historically in the past they have just done budget transfers over to the
    general fund, or shown a transfer and have assigned it as a transfer in
    lieu of a franchise fee. He said what we are looking to really demonstrate
    is how each of our enterprise departments…how profitable are they? He
    said where our revenues exceed our expenses, then take that and
    move that into a reserve account. He said that is going to be important
    from a visibility perspective for the Council as we think about the future,
    what proactive projects we are wanting to do in the community and which
    particular enterprises are performing well and how they are performing.
    He said alongside that we are looking at cost allocations for our four city
    Staff members. He said for people who work here in City Hall, Texas
    Water Development Board has recommended that you take allocations of
    that cost against your different enterprise functions out there. He said we
    are working on what those allocation percentages would look like. He
    said that is not being presented this evening but within a couple of
    months Megan and he look to present what those allocation percentages
    will look like. He said we feel very comfortable with this budget revisit, what we are proposing to the council. He said it really sets us up to be
    able to have a very good budget process for the next fiscal year and we
    will start in June of this year. He said the other key thing to know which
    has caused a little bit of confusion with a couple of our departments, and
    that is on October 22nd at the City Council meeting there was
    authorization to set up separate accounts for each of these enterprise
    business units. He said that did not get executed on. He said currently all
    of our expenses are being paid out of our general fund. He said all of our
    revenues, with the exception of the gas department, come into the
    general fund. He said the gas department actually comes into its own
    checking account. He said ultimately by April 1st, which is our target date,
    we will be able to follow through with the council’s recommendation and
    resolution to set up the separate checking accounts. He said the reason
    why we are targeting April 1st is because it is the middle of the year in the
    financial cycle and if there is any fallout, it is easier for us to identify at a
    mid-year conversion, vs. a mid-month or a mid-quarter conversion. He
    said it also gives us an opportunity to get through this past year’s fiscal
    audit. He said we feel that getting into that environment will also help us
    from our reporting perspective, be more clear and transparent to the
    council and to the community as well. He said we are very committed to
    executing on that. Mike Perry asked when the resolution was passed. City
    Manager Zimmer said October 22, 2013 in a special council meeting. He
    said he cannot go without saying here is the good news. He said when
    we look at this budget revisit, we ask ourselves if the revenue going to
    exceed the expenses. He said the answer is absolutely yes. He said what
    we are targeting across the city is to have our revenues exceed our
    expenses by $644,000 this year, which is significant. He said he does
    have some risk there. He said we have a very aggressive street and
    maintenance program. He said we have asked our director of public
    works to be very tight on his salaries. He said we feel that we need to
    challenge ourselves as a city staff to run our expenses as low as possible
    this year and be able to run in the black and have some excess that we
    can start building up reserve accounts with. He said that will then allow
    our council to make some decisions positively on how we will spend
    money to improve our infrastructure. He said as he noted earlier, we have
    to build up some reserve in our healthcare. He said we have to build back
    some of our customer liability accounts for our water and gas
    department. He said we should be able to do that this year provided we
    do not have anything unforeseen. He said this is also making all of our
    debt obligations this year. He said the major risk is the unknown, but
    what we challenge ourselves from a staff perspective is to really be very
    careful on how we spend our money. He said part of rolling out a new
    purchase order to invoice process and part of rolling out this budget
    variance process and part of rolling out our asset control process is
    to be sure our department heads absolutely understand how they are
    spending money and they are absolutely accountable for that. He said our budget variance reports that went out today went to the department
    heads. He said they did not go to our finance department to figure it out,
    they went to our department heads, because they want the
    accountability. He said they want to know how much they have in their
    budget and if they are spending within those amounts. He said
    unforeseen things can hit us, but we still need to put a target up on the
    wall and shoot for it. He said with that being said, he would be glad to
    answer any questions. Councilor Fitzgerald asked if when he was going
    through this process if he had the opportunity to evaluate his suggestion
    of using some of the sales tax to fix the roads this fiscal year. The City
    Manager said first of all we went back up to $100,000 in road materials.
    He said it had been significantly cut for this fiscal year so we wanted to
    reinstate and that was about a sixteenth of a percent for what we
    reinstated. He said with what we anticipate running in the black this year,
    it will be an opportunity for the council, at their discretion, to say they
    would like to target some of these extra dollars at road projects. Manfred
    Fritsche said he and the Mayor served on a Charter Review Commission
    many years ago and they spent a lot of time on the financial and
    budgeting part of the City Charter. He asked the City Council and City
    Manager to refer to Article 5 of the City Charter. He said this required an
    Ordinance to amend the budget. The City Manager said the Council
    would only take action by means of a City Ordinance to amend the
    budget. He said we went ahead and went back to this past year what
    revenues we attained out of 2012/2013 and then put a little bit of stretch
    target on that. He said the reason we put stretch target on that is we did
    feel like there were some under billings going on. He said we had done
    some meter change outs with some folks that had zero billings and they
    would then start billing. He said we felt that there was an upside to it and
    that was a critical element in providing a stretch target there. Mayor
    Rangra said we also cut the expense account by $220,000. The City
    Manager said that was correct, to get more in alignment with our
    expenditures from the year before as well. Mayor Rangra said related to
    that is a question on water. He said we also projected increased revenues
    in water. The City Manager said the water revenues were kind of tricky for
    us because of the volatility from year to year. He said if you get into a
    water rationing environment too then all of a sudden that puts a real
    impact on your ability to bill revenue. He said we really looked at what
    that last three year average was and felt like that would be a solid
    projection to make. He said ultimately, what we want to get to is a month
    over month view and a quarter over quarter view. He said we think that
    will be the most healthy view to have as we extrapolate. He said if the
    council will have him work here for many years then that is his goal too,
    building that over time. He said that is really what we need to do. Mayor
    Rangra asked if money was transferred from the enterprise fund to the
    non-enterprise fund. The City Manager said this has been an evolving
    learning process for himself and for our finance team as we are trying to navigate through how the accounting and bookkeeping was handled in
    the past and how the interim team handled it and what was the right
    process moving forward. He said what had happened toward the tail end
    of this last fiscal year is the notion around how do we track budget
    transfers within the budget and make sure that we are making
    declarations and not just moving money around. He said and absolutely,
    the transfer requires council approval. He said as a City Manager or
    finance director you do not just go in there and start moving money from
    account to account. He said what we started seeing and what kind of
    came out this last week was that the gas company in particular, was set
    up awkwardly, in the sense that it had its own checking account to
    receive monies in, but all of our expenses were paid out of the general
    fund so all of a sudden we start building up this account here but we are
    not paying any bills out of it. He said then you have to make a transfer
    out of that account back into your general fund where you have set up
    paying all of your bills out of. He said because we were so concerned
    about showing the transfer and making sure that the transfer was
    documented because past practice was just to float money around, it got
    documented as an additional expense. He said you paid all of your
    expenses which showed in your income statements and then you did this
    budget transfer which was just taking money out of an account to cover
    these expenses and we showed it as an additional expense and so
    ultimately the councils notion of setting up the separate checking
    accounts for enterprise funds was really the absolute right guidance. He
    said doing that and allowing us to receive the monies in one account and
    then paying the expenses out of that account as they come in is really
    critical and that is why we are targeting trying to accomplish that by April
    1
    st. He said it has been a learning experience for his virtually and as he
    has shared with some folks the past kind of accounting and bookkeeping
    and cash flow was what he would call awkward at best. He said he has
    never seen anything like it and it does not make sense to him. He said we
    are making sense of it and so as we move into this budget cycle now we
    feel very good and very comfortable that we have a beat on these
    expenses and a beat on the movement of money and that we understand
    the elements in presenting it to the council so the council can make a
    good decision and authorize the spending as necessary. Mayor Rangra
    said money transfers sometimes are to take care of expenditures that
    should have actually have been deducted from the proper account. He
    said that was no amendment last year and that was the big issue. He said
    Texas Water Development Board was concerned about it and it was a
    question on how this was explained. He said he is glad that the City
    Manager is providing the explanation. Joseph Goldman said the City
    Manager mentioned the revenue over expenses in the amount of $644,000
    and asked what percent that was of the entire budget. The City Manager
    said it was about 6% of the budget. Mr. Goldman said maybe it is the next
    item that is going to be discussed but he wanted to know if he was tying any of the utility uses and expected revenue to the actual weather and
    climate conditions that have occurred in the last 3 to 4 years. The City
    Manager said that is why we look at 3 years plus how we are trending this
    year. He said we know we had very much of a drought and fire issues a
    couple of years ago and in the winter you have cold spells and we are
    really trying to look at that trending over a period of time. He said the
    goal is over the next several years to even narrow that down to a month
    over month so if we see an ice storm like we had in November we would
    anticipate a peak in gas sales and a reduction in water usage because we
    had so many people without power.
    C. Performance of gas department for the first four months of current fiscal
    year. (E. Zimmer, CM and J. Gonzales) – Councilor Gonzales said on
    January 22nd, 2014, we held a special meeting which was a training
    meeting which was to learn to read and better understand the Hill
    Country Software and the information it provides. He said he is looking
    for transparency. He said he wants to be able to determine what he is
    reading. He said the item on the gas expenditures spoken about was not
    on the agenda, alleging clear evidence of utility loss but with no proof. He
    said it is no longer known as Southwest Municipal Gas Corporation. He
    said it is the City of Alpine Gas Department as of February 22nd, 2012. He
    said he asked if we could review this subject and asked that it be placed
    on the agenda so that it could be discussed. He said we must follow the
    rules and keep from violating TOMA. He said we must follow the rules on
    how council members are to question items instead of using the media to
    make allegations and implications of loss. He said we must use the chain
    of command and ask the City Manager to talk to the financial director to
    find the facts. He said it should not be personal and downgrade fellow
    councilmen, councilwomen and the Mayor. He said it should not be
    grandstanding or political. He said our charter says that the City Council
    can investigate and that is in Section 3.11 of our charter but it does not
    single out one councilman to investigate information to be shared with all
    the city council enacted as a group. He said basically he thinks we need
    to follow the procedures that we have been trained on to do our job as
    city councilmen and not be trying to be a leader in the sense that they are
    the one who has the information and they want to share it with the rest of
    them. The City Manager said the performance of the gas department for
    the past four months, one of the things that he wants to try to go through,
    because there has been heightened visibility to it, the other element is
    that our spot rate came in a little higher so the community is
    experiencing a little bit of an increase. He said the spot rate came in
    higher prior to any of the recent conversations. He said increasing is
    going to happen regardless. He said the first quarter of our fiscal year is
    always going to be a slower quarter for us on the revenue perspective
    because we are basically looking at gas usage from September, October
    and November. He said we also try to do some of our proactive work during our off times so our expenses tend to be a little bit higher. He said
    with that being said we did operate at a negative in the first quarter. He
    said $18,000 in the negative in the first quarter for the gas department.
    He said we also had this thing that we talked about earlier, the budget
    transfer. He said that created a confusing piece in the sense that we
    were taking money out of this checking account to pay bills and so it
    adds to the expense and it really appears like we were running very
    poorly in the gas department. He said as we sorted that out and sorted
    through some of the, what he would categorize as poor ways, that our
    interim financial team had set up some of the procedures within our new
    software system, we found where these challenges had come from. He
    said what he can say is, when we move into our fourth month, our
    revenues did come in higher in January as we anticipated and our
    expenses were consistent to what we expected as well. He said with that
    being said, through January, we are $90,500 to the positive in our gas
    department. He said if you look at $18,000 negative to $90,000 positive
    we made a $108,000 turnaround in January. He said the gas company in
    that enterprise piece of the business was not one that he had on the 180
    day plan as far as a keep focus area. He said on the financial side we
    really focused on reconstructing the budget and understanding the
    budget and also understanding some of our previous obligations, the CO
    2011 and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant. He said the gas company
    also, as it was digested by the city and kind of split up a couple of years
    ago, as we are looking at budget and cash flow, it gets a little harder for
    us to even see the history because one company operated it and then we
    brought it in and then we updated the software program. He said that has
    caused a lot of different things for Megan and he to have to go through.
    He said they are very committed to going in and looking at the history of
    the gas company. He said four of the items that people point out are this
    kind of service delivery up charge that went from $5.00 per mcf to $8.00
    per mcf. He said it would appear that when that occurred we should be
    able to operate in a stronger profit mode in that enterprise unit. He said
    he cannot sit here and tell the council his opinion on it until he has a
    chance to go through that history from 2010 moving forward. He said he
    is very agreeable, if it is the council’s wish to add that to the 180 day
    plan. He said he would always ask that when we add something, we
    remove something too. He said that is a fair request. He said he thinks
    that is what is wrong with corporate America is that they continue to lob
    stuff on and they forget that you have to deselect something too. He said
    in life in general you can only do so much. He said we are very agreeable
    to replacing that and providing more of a focus. He said he and his staff
    want to feel like they are very available to the council and that we can sit
    down and visit and clear through some of these challenges. He said we
    knew it would be a bumpy road coming in. He said there are things that
    we learn every day. He said his goal is to provide everybody who sits up
    there with good information so you can make good decisions on a day to day basis. He said we strive to do that but we are not perfect. He said he
    thinks we are making some headway in that. He said he is very pleased
    with our performance out of our gas account or gas company over the
    last month. He said he thinks it is important to share that. He said Megan
    and he talked today about how do we make sure in the software if we do
    transfers that we have approved at the council level, how do we make
    sure it does not show a duplicative expense in the chart of accounts. He
    said she and I have some homework to do to figure this out. He said at
    the end of the day, the better information we provide to the council, the
    better decision making the council can make.

    Action Items to be accompanied by a brief statement of facts, including
    where funds are coming from, if applicable. (Action items limited to 15 per
    meeting.)

    9. Discuss and Consider approving replat of the North part of Block 6, Means
    A Addition in Alpine, Texas, as recommended by the Planning and Zoning
    Commission. (E. Zimmer, CM) – The City Manager said this is the property
    that Ms. Wimberly and Doctor Manning spoke earlier about. He said it was
    recommended by our Planning and Zoning Commission. He said we had a
    very healthy dialogue. He said our only concern from a city perspective
    was how we could minimize any cuts in the road and he felt that Ms.
    Wimberly and Dr. Manning would agree that as they sell off those plots of
    land to make sure that we really hold to the integrity of this recent
    ordinance. He said his recommendation was to approve this. Motion was
    made by Councilor Fitzgerald, by Resolution 2014-02-02 to approve the
    replat of the North part of Block 6, Means A Addition in Alpine, Texas as
    recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission. Motion
    unanimously carried.

    10. Discuss and Consider approving Home Occupation permit application
    and sign variance for Shanna Cowell Hickle, who operates White Crane
    Acupuncture Clinic, as recommended by the Planning and Zoning
    Commission. Residence and Clinic are located at 303 East Sul Ross
    Avenue in Alpine, Texas. (E. Zimmer, CM) – The City Manager said Shanna
    came up and spoke with us earlier today and shared with the council
    really almost the same comments that she had shared with the Planning
    and Zoning Commission. He said he spoke with Shanna before the
    Planning and Zoning meeting. He said he was very impressed with the
    diligence of going through and really looking at our city ordinance,
    looking at why she wanted to request the variance as well as the
    importance of the sign in the community. He said we should identify other
    similar areas within that ward that have similar type signs so it would be
    nothing of any major discourse in that area. He said also she did her
    homework in communicating with the residents adjacent to her. He
    thought it was very healthy so that there were no surprises and nobody coming in and saying “I absolutely hate this and I don’t want this”. He
    said he absolutely appreciates the diligence and he thinks that it does fall
    within the variance guidelines. He said most importantly he thinks her
    home occupation permit should be passed so he recommends that the
    council approve it. Motion was made by Councilor Gonzales by
    Resolution 2014-02-03 to approve the Home Occupation permit
    application and sign variance for Shanna Cowell Hickle, who operated
    White Crane Acupuncture Clinic, as recommended by the Planning and
    Zoning Commission. Motion was seconded by Councilor Fitzgerald.
    Councilor Fitzgerald said she has been in business a long time and the
    sign has been there and if none of the neighbors object to it, he thinks it
    should be approved. Motion unanimously carried.

    11. Discuss and Consider amending FY 2013/2014 City of Alpine Budget. (E.
    Zimmer, CM) – The City Manager said as we went through the information
    in the discussion item, the recommended changes to amend the FY
    2013/2014 City of Alpine Budget we feel it really falls in alignment of how
    we will spend and we also feel like we have done our diligence and we
    have been very assertive in working across our different departments to
    feel comfortable with the ability to hold in our expenses and provide a
    product that is really operating in the black for the community. Motion
    was made by Councilor Bermudez to amend FY 2013/2014 City of Alpine
    Budget. Motion was seconded by Councilor Fitzgerald. Councilor
    Bermudez said this budget was a lot better than the one that we have.
    Councilor Fitzgerald said the City Manager has obviously done a lot of
    work on this. He said this was not just haphazard. Councilor Gonzales
    said he would like to point out that the City Manager did maintain what we
    had before and obviously he studied it. Manfred Fritsche said he had
    before him the City Charter. He said in section 5.06 it talks about Budget
    amendments after adoption. He said an amendment is being offered and
    considered by the council. He said a motion has been made and
    seconded. He said the public has none of the details about what is being
    amended. He said as he pointed out in his earlier comments Section 5.06
    (d) calls for a city ordinance. He said it calls for a city ordinance during
    which the public gets a chance to look at what the details of the
    amendment are, make comments, publicize and none of this has been
    done. He said he does not know what the City Manager has in mind in the
    way of budget amendments but this appears to him to be a clear violation
    of the city charter. He said the council needs to consider that. Mayor
    Rangra asked the City Attorney, Mick McKamie for advice. Manfred
    Fritsche said he could not believe that the City Manager had not
    familiarized himself with the city charter. The City Attorney said he
    understands the question to be whether or not the charter requires an
    ordinance to amend the budget. He said the charter and state law both do
    require an ordinance to amend the budget. He said the budget can only be
    adopted by ordinance and amended by ordinance. He said he understood from the discussion tonight was to allow the City Manager to make any
    changes to the budget and we can certainly have an ordinance drafted for
    the next meeting to be approved by the council. Councilor Gonzales said
    he had before him the charter and it says that any time during the fiscal
    year the manager may transfer part or all of any unencumbered
    appropriation balance among programs within his departments. He said
    we still have an opportunity to create an ordinance. The City Attorney
    said yes, it can happen any time during the year. Councilor Gonzales said
    since we are still in discussion maybe we can make an amendment to
    allow the City Manager to create an ordinance to amend the budget. The
    City Attorney said any change to the budget that constitutes an
    amendment would need to be done by ordinance. He said it appears that
    after the discussion tonight there are items that need to be transferred
    and it would require an amendment so we need an ordinance at the next
    meeting. He said the council can determine tonight the items that need to
    be included in the ordinance. Councilor Bermudez made an amended
    motion, by Resolution 2014-02-04, to allow the City Manager to create an
    ordinance to amend the budget as reflected in his presentation at
    tonight’s meeting. Councilor Castelli said he had a question along those
    lines. He said Manfred Fritsche made a big point about information for
    the public. He asked if this was something that we could put on the
    website in a reasonable fashion so that it could be reviewed. He asked if
    it was reasonable that we could do that. The City Manager said we
    created an electronic copy to send to the City Attorney and we can
    definitely post that to the website as well. He said it is close to 100 pages.
    Motion was seconded by Councilor Gonzales. Motion carried
    unanimously.

    12. Discuss and Consider setting reserve level for Hotel/Motel funds
    recommended level is $80,000. (E. Zimmer, CM) – The City Manager said
    as we
    look at the hotel/motel funds, this year we enter the year with $100,000 in
    reserve and a $380,000 projection of revenue into that hotel fund. He said
    currently we have allocated about $405,000. He said in in the council’s
    packet he provided some background information on the overview that we had done
    on the hotel funding usage and some deeper background in history. He said
    what we are trying to do right now is understand if there is a reserve level that
    the council would like to manage to so that we do not overallocate from this
    account. He said as we exit one year and move into the next year, we have
    some early year expenditures that typically hit, like the funding of our tourism
    adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce. He said what we are envisioning is setting our reserve level so that we do not over allocate from that fund during the year and that was the thought at recommending $80,000. He said the
    idea around this was to set a reserve level of about $80,000 and we really
    wanted to understand if the Council is comfortable with that or if there is a different
    level that the council wanted to set. He said the reason why this is important to
    us on the city administration side is throughout the course of the year we will
    continue to get requests that will come in for events and if we hit that threshold we
    want to make sure that the council understands where we are at in our
    projected status so we do not over allocate. Motion was made by Councilor
    Gonzales by Resolution 2014-02-05, to approve setting the reserve level for the
    Hotel/Motel funds at $80,000. Motion was seconded by Councilor Fitzgerald. Councilor
    Gonzales said going through the list he saw a lot of people who barely
    qualified. He said we need to address that and probably let everybody know that
    this is what is happening. The City Manager said Beth Nobles is hosting a
    conference here at the Civic Center at the end of this month that is more of a regional
    conference talking about promoting tourism in Southwest Texas, Big
    Bend Region, but we have invited everybody that has received an allocation and
    the real idea is to talk to them like Councilor Gonzales recommended, on the
    usage of the fund, to make sure that they are submitting receipts. He said we are
    setting up a booklet so that in the future if an auditor comes in and says
    how are you utilizing the hotel fund, we can basically hand them the booklet
    and say these are all the events that were awarded funding and here are the
    receipts of how they spent the money and ensure that it is within alignment of the
    guidelines. He said we are confident that we will have that whole book for
    this year’s fiscal budget. Councilor Gonzales said there is also an advertising percentage that we are supposed to spend and asked what the percentage was. The City Manager said 50% and 15% on the arts. Councilor Bermudez
    asked if the Council could attend the conference and if it was for everybody. The
    City Manager said he thought if we invited council we would need to post it as
    a meeting. Councilor Bermudez said she thought it would be helpful. The
    City Manager said we can and will do that. Motion unanimously carried.

    13. Citizen’s Comments (limit 3 minutes) –
    Dale Christopherson – said he thought this was a good meeting.
    14. Council Member’s Comments and Answers –
    Councilor Castelli – said once again the City Manager has taken us
    another step
    in the right direction and he does appreciate his service.
    Councilor Gonzales – said he really appreciates the City Manager’s hard
    work.
    Councilor Fitzgerald – said the City Manager also has good staff and good
    people too and he has good organization going on. He said it is a welcome
    change.
    Councilor Bermudez – thanked the City Manager for everything he is doing and has done.
    Mayor Rangra – Mayor Rangra said he had coffee with some people who said
    that the City Manager had attended a Planning and Zoning Commission
    meeting and they were so impressed with that. He said everything went smooth
    and the right questions were asked and they had all of the information. He said the
    City Manager and his staff provided the all the right information.
    Motion was made by Councilor Fitzgerald to enter into executive session.
    Motion was seconded by Councilor Gonzales. Motion unanimously carried. 15. Executive Session – Pursuant to Texas Government Code, Subsection
    551.074, Personnel Matters –
    A. Discuss and Consider pay raise for city employee. (E. Zimmer, CM)
    16. Action – Executive Session –
    A. Take Action, if any concerning pay raise for city employee. (E.
    Zimmer CM) – Motion was made by Councilor Fitzgerald, by Resolution
    2014-02-06 to accept the City Manager’s recommendation in respect
    to this employee. Motion was seconded by Councilor Bermudez. Motion
    unanimously carried.

    14. Adjournment– There being no further business, meeting was adjourned.
    I certify that this notice was posted at 3:00 P.M. on January 31st, 2014, pursuant to Texas
    Open Meetings Act. (Texas Vernon’s Annotated Civil statutes, section 551.043 Texas Government
    Code.) This facility is wheelchair accessible and accessible parking space is available. Requests for
    accommodations or interpretive services must be made 48 hours prior to this meeting. Please
    Contact the city secretary’s office at (432) 837-3301 or fax (432) 837-2044 for further information.
    _________________________________________________
    Dr. Avinash Rangra, Mayor
    Attest:
    _______________________________
    Margaret “Molly” Taylor, City Secretary
    I, Margaret “Molly’ Taylor, City Secretary, do certify that this notice was posted at 3:00 P.M. on January
    31st, 2014, and remained so posted continuously for at least 72 hours preceding the scheduled time of
    said meeting.
    Margaret “Molly” Taylor, City Secretary

  • January 22nd, 2014 Minutes

    Click Here for print friendly version

    City of Alpine
    Regular City Council Meeting
    January 22nd, 2014
    9:00 A.M.
    Minutes

    1. Call to Order, Invocation and Pledge of allegiance to the flag – Mayor
    Rangra called the City Council meeting to order.

    2. Determination of a quorum and proof of notice of the meeting – Mayor
    Rangra, Councilors Bermudez, Gonzales and Castelli were present.
    Councilors Davidson and Fitzgerald were absent. Notice had been posted
    at 11:45 A.M. on January 15th, 2014. Jim Stateczny with HCSS, Erik Zimmer,
    CM and Molly Taylor, CS were present.

    3. Presentations, recognitions and proclamations – None

    4. Reports – None
    City Mayor’s Report –
    City Attorney Report –

    City Manager Report –
    City Staff Updates –

    5. Citizens Comments (on agenda items) – None

    6. Public Hearings – None

    7. Consent Agenda – (Minutes, Financial reports, Department Written
    Reports, board appointments, etc.) – None

    8. Information or Discussion items –
    A. Workshop for Council to help understand how the new Hill Country
    Software System works by Jim Stateczny, Chairman of the Board of
    HCSS. (A. Bermudez) – Jim Stateczny said he wanted to give the Council
    some background about the system. He said the system was written
    initially in 1982 with the assistance of the Kendall County Auditor. He
    said he had back surgery for a ruptured disk and he was not going
    anywhere so computers saved his sanity. He said this software has
    evolved since 1982 and it is in probably 100 county offices and probably
    a dozen city offices in the state of Texas. He said when they initially
    wrote it, in 1982,1983, and 1984, the State of Texas at that time had what
    they called the Red Book. He said this book was recommended
    accounting procedures for Texas County Government. He said at the
    same time a few years later they came out with a Blue Book and that is
    what we would have here. He said it was about an inch thicker than the
    Red Book. He said it was suggested accounting procedures for
    Municipal Government. He said he worked with the people at the
    Comptroller’s office. He said Tom Nielsen was probably the main guy at
    that time. He said a team of people who helped write this book were
    county treasurers and county auditors and some city financial people.
    He said when the book was completed, all said and all done, we pretty
    much had an evaluation of the book being worthless. He said there were
    some things in the book that were good. He said there were some
    concepts that they came up with that HCSS followed since those days
    but a lot of the stuff that was in there does not mean much. He said
    basically the way the system works is that everything revolves around
    the general ledger. He said back in 1985, the City of Alpine would have
    wanted his accounting system. He said the State of Texas would have
    come out here and converted the city for free. He said that is how much
    they wanted people to use the system. He said that did not last too long
    and that kind of went away. He said the critical part of the system is the
    general ledger and it is getting the chart of accounts set up properly so
    that everything else can revolve around it. He said looking back at the
    time we spent converting from the old system to this system, most of the
    time was spent on the general ledger because your old general ledger, to
    be polite, was a shambles. He said it was the biggest mess ever known
    to man. He said an example was the 31 and ½ million that we were off
    and we were off inside of Fund 70 which is your capital assets fund and
    the only reason it was off was because the chart of accounts inside of
    Fund 70 was not set up properly. He said they were not categorized
    properly. He said as soon as we categorized the accounts properly, the
    31 and ½ million went away just that quick. He said everything that we do
    with this system is focused around the general ledger. He said the good
    thing about it is when you get the general ledger set up right as your
    people do their work, they very seldom work with the general ledger. He
    said the general ledger is updated constantly. He said if you were to sit
    at a screen today and look at your books and you wanted to see what a
    budget line item looked like, you would know that it is current as of this
    very minute. He said everything posts automatically to the general
    ledger. He said now as a Council what does this mean to you? He said
    this means that during the month the staff will perform their jobs and it is
    going to keep the general ledger updated currently so that when it
    comes time for a council meeting, the reports that the council will be
    provided, to evaluate, you will know that they are current reports. He
    said he thinks he asked a few council members about the previous
    system and how you folks could sit up here and make intelligent
    decisions when the reports you were being given, were at the very least
    45 days old and they were very confusing to read. He said the
    information the council was asked to work with, prior to that stuff that
    was awful. He said now, you will have up to the moment information and
    you are going to know that you can follow and ask for the status of any
    line item to Erik or any of his people and you will know that information
    is up to date. He said the thing the State of Texas did when they came
    out with the Red Book and the Blue Book, was that the payment of bills
    revolves around the city council meeting or the Commissioner’s Court
    meeting. He said theoretically, according to the red book, no bill can be
    paid without your approval. He said that does not mean you have to
    approve every check because payroll for instance, at the time you hired
    the employee, you have approved that employees benefit package. He
    said you do not have to approve every pay check that comes out. He
    said he actually had one account he went into years ago because the
    Commissioner’s felt that they had to look at every pay check and give it
    the official approval before they go out. He said the other bills have to be
    approved by the council and so the strategy that is going to be employed
    here, is when you receive your packet, 2 or three days prior to the
    Council meeting, it will include two things, 1 – a financial report that will
    show the council the budget and the things that Erik and his staff want
    them to see. He said the second thing that will be included is a list of all
    the claims that you are going to be asked to approve. He said the thing
    they need to get into the habit of doing. He said your council meetings
    are on a Tuesday night and it means you are getting your packet on
    Friday. Jim said at the council’s leisure during the weekend especially
    go over the list of cases and list your complaints and make sure
    everything looks right to you. The City manager said if something does
    not look right, don’t wait until the Council Meeting to bring up a question.
    He said come up before the council meeting so they can research it and
    give the right answer, and know if it is the right answer and if something
    was wrong they have the opportunity to fix it before the council meeting
    actually occurs and then after the council meeting they go back to the
    HCSS Software and tell the software in most cases that all claims were
    approved. He said then in a matter of minutes the checks were printed
    and the appropriate people began to start signing their names. He said
    that is the way the overall system is supposed to work. He said it is
    really pretty straight forward. He said he is here today to show the
    council and to answer questions. He said the conversion they previously
    went through did not occur at the best of times. He said there was a lot
    of sign activity going on that the folks have been asking questions
    about. He said that is what he wanted to show them today. He said what
    the accounting system is designed to do. He said we should expect that.
    He said if you look at some of the other surrounding systems you have
    your capital assets and that is pretty obvious. He said as of today we
    have not converted the capital assets from the old system to the new
    system. He said the reason we have not is we have started evaluating the
    capital assets. He said the priority was to get your cash under control.
    He said we have started to evaluate your capital assets as with the rest
    of the old software, the capital assets are not in that good of a shape and
    it is almost to the point where we may consider starting over to where we
    go on and get some good tags and just repeat the process. He said when
    he asks a question “Can you show me a list of tag numbers and what
    they represent so I can try to cross reference it into the capital asset data
    base?” we have not done that for quite a while. He said that project is
    pretty much being handled by your outside auditors. He said that is fund
    7 and that is where the large amount of capital assets is that this small
    city has. Jim said he was surprised at the large amount of capital assets.
    He said to have $70 million dollars in assets and to be a city of this size
    is quite amazing to him. He said when you look at the land and the
    buildings that the city owns, it all makes sense. Councilor Gonzales
    asked about the amount of Capital Assets. Jim said he believes it is up
    around there. He said that is not exact but around that amount. Mayor
    Rangra said that is probably the appraised or catalog value. Jim said
    then you have your depreciation too. Mayor Rangra said this building
    could be appraised at one million or one and one half million. Jim said
    the 70 million could be wrong. He said he had too many numbers floating
    around in his head. Jim said another contributing system is your
    accounts payable system. He said that is pretty obvious to everyone. He
    said that is where all of your bills are fed into. He said that is where they
    are prepared and processed and getting ready to be presented to the
    council for approval or disapproval. He said the payroll system handles
    your payroll. He said the big difference between the old software and the
    new software is that in the old software you had a fund 2 which was the
    payroll fund. He said that fund is gone away and now all of your payroll
    is departmentalized which means it is charged to the appropriate
    department so that you know how much payroll is coming from the gas
    company and how much payroll is coming from the sewer and your
    different departments. He said fund 2, the old payroll fund, is pretty
    much phased out. He said he thinks there are still numbers in there but
    they should be gone from there shortly. He said your receipt system is
    how we bring money into the system. He said whenever someone brings
    money to the city, a receipt is issued. He said the receipts that come in
    via the gas company, via utilities all come into the system via receipt. He
    said right now at the end of the day or first thing in the morning a receipt
    is issued into the system that represents the previous day’s activity so
    we know how much came in for this and how much came in for that. He
    said when we get around to redoing the utility system, and replacing it
    with another piece of software, that action will be automatic. He said you
    will get the flow directly from the utility systems into the general ledger.
    He said your financial people will have to oversee that. He said that is
    the way that the package wraps us. He said there are five systems that
    are working together. Councilor Gonzales said he would like to ask a
    question about the payroll system. He said he understands that there
    was a discrepancy in being able to tell vacation, sick leave or comp time.
    Jim said he thought we pretty much accounted for the difference
    between vacation, sick and comp. He said it took him a little while to
    figure it out but he thinks that was all accounted for properly. He said
    and then the one report that the Mayor asked him (Jim) to write, and it
    turns out that the timing of this report was pretty much perfect. He said
    he has to believe that these auditors who come in and audit you, whether
    they are auditing a city or they are auditing a county, have to be certified
    by the state of Texas to be able to do this. He said he has to believe that
    every year the state comes out with something that want them to focus
    on and for some reason the focus in the past year or two has been
    payroll and overtime. He said he took the report that he wrote for Mayor
    Rangra back to the users conference back in November. He said the rest
    of his customers saw it and it was like “where has this been?” and “why
    have we not had this before now?”. He said he told them that nobody
    had asked for it before. He said the Mayor of Alpine asked for it. He said
    apparently that has become a sensitive issue and the thing is it is
    attached to these homeland security grants. He said not that anybody
    here in Alpine would do it but these deputies, depending on how they
    work is charged, to the city or to a grant, it is a different way to pay. He
    said these guys will figure out how to make sure they are getting the
    higher rate of pay for the overtime. He said he thinks that is where the
    focus has come from, from the state of Texas. He said he thinks,
    Councilor Gonzales, in order to answer his original question, he thinks
    when it is all said and done, he thinks we had payroll, comp and
    overtime pretty well covered before. He said Megan can answer that
    question better than he can. He said he thinks we have it pretty well
    under control. Councilor Gonzales, said he understood that the previous
    audits did not include the payroll. He said they were not looking at that.
    Jim said he really did not know. He said he was sure they did because,
    especially Shaw’s group, his company audits around 20 or 30 of his
    customers and he is pretty thorough. He said he does not know for sure
    what he focused on here or what he did. Mayor Rangra said so what he
    hears from Jim is that the state directs the auditors to focus on certain
    things. Jim said that was his opinion, yes. Jim said another example of
    this came about 10 or 15 years ago. He said the state came down on
    counties and cities and said there were too many checking accounts. He
    said there were too many checking accounts being managed by people
    who should not be managing them. He said they were not focusing on
    one group in particular, but we can look at JP Court and Municipal Court.
    He said the JP’s had their own checking account and they were putting
    money in it and taking money out of it. He said the state said no, no, no.
    He said there is only one person in the county that manages the money
    and that is the treasurer. He said there is only one person in the city that
    manages the money and that is your finance people. He said to give an
    example to what has gone on in the county with Jerry Sotello, who is a
    big JP, he actually has his own checking account but all he can do is put
    money into it. He cannot reconcile it and he cannot write a check. He
    said he actually does write a check but the treasurer has to sign the
    check. He said about 5 years ago, the state issued one of these
    suggestions as he calls them, because the counties and cities were
    getting sloppy and were fading back to what they used to do. He said
    they were instructed to go in and clamp back down on this and get this
    back under control. He said that is why he thinks, he knows that
    happened, because Shaw told him that they had been asked to go in and
    do this. He said he has to believe that the state, since they pretty much
    control these outside auditors, because they have to certify them, give
    them focus points. Jim said again that is his opinion. He said another
    issue they have with the conversion is that the transaction history in the
    old software lacked a whole lot to be desired. He said there were areas
    where it was almost impossible to go back and figure out what was
    going on. He said what he did was set up a line item and it was called the
    conversion reconciliation account and what we did was things we
    couldn’t account for or explain, we posted that against that account, with
    the idea that as we moved forward, as time for more research became
    possible, that as we found out what these items were, we would then go
    back and un-post them against the account. He said this is a strategy
    that he used in some other places where they had to convert a mess,
    similar to what we had here. He said the whole idea is that when it was
    all said and done everything comes back to zero. He said in the other
    two places that he used them, that has occurred. He said he is not that
    optimistic here because he thinks there are things the way the
    transactions were kept. He said you had a self destructing accounting
    system and at the end of each month there was a reason they did not
    close the month until the 2nd or 3rd week because once you did, you lost
    it. He said there was a reason at the end of the year that they did not
    close the year until two or three weeks into the year because when you
    closed that year all the transactions went away. He said the thing we
    were never able to find was a backup somewhere that he still believes
    had to have been made, that would have had a copy of these files at the
    end of each fiscal year. He said having that and trying to decipher what
    was wrong was quite a challenge. Mayor Rangra asked if anyone had
    talked to Ricky to ask him to decipher some of these problems. Jim said
    indirectly. He said he never spoke to him directly but he did not figure
    that it was his place to confront him directly. He said then Chuck left and
    what happened after that he does not know. Mayor Rangra said Shaw
    Skinner was the city’s auditor for years using this system which you
    (Jim) said was a mess. Mayor Rangra asked if Shaw had any idea about
    this and some of these problems. Jim said yes. He said what happened
    was, when Shaw would get ready to audit the city, Ricky would go to his
    office and install the system on his computer, which had everything for
    the year, right there. He said that was part of what Shaw used to do the
    audit. He said whenever he was through with that, he destroyed that stuff
    because he figured it was over here. Mayor Rangra said “Shaw did
    that?” Jim said it was Shaw’s computer and he deleted it when he was
    through with it, because it was not his place to keep it. He said he
    assumed it was kept over here. He said looking back we wish he had not
    done that, but that is more water under the bridge. Jim said that is what
    that account is all about and he thinks that we have the money pretty
    much under control and he thinks Erik and Megan can show us that. He
    said we will never know for sure about everything that went on. He said
    Ricky was asked to help but was non-cooperative, and wanted to be paid
    for it. Erik said he thought, and this is just his opinion, if Ricky gave back
    information it could have made him more vulnerable in the future. He
    said he thought his non-cooperation was predicated on that. He said that
    is not based on fact. He said that is just based on why people do or don’t
    do the things that they do historically. He said the guy who held the keys
    to the bus and the only set of keys is not going to relinquish those when
    he is being indicted. Erik said Ricky was asked. Mayor Rangra said when
    he put Ricky on paid leave, he visited Shaw and Shaw said the Mayor
    had made a mistake to put Ricky on paid leave. The Mayor asked why
    and Shaw suggested to him that he should bring Ricky back to work. The
    Mayor said no, but Shaw had faith in Ricky. The Mayor said the whole
    system is bad. He said we had an auditor looking at and auditing our
    books and how was he able to look at all the numbers properly. Jim
    talked about the checks and the safety finish on the checks themselves.
    Jim said they use a magnetic toner so that we are actually putting the
    numbers along the bottom of the check. He said those numbers all have
    to check out. He said you do not go in and white out. Mayor Rangra said
    he had a question on duplication. He said he heard a person got two
    checks in refunds and a vendor got two checks. He said one was a
    $50,000 check to pay the fuel. He said it was the same invoice and same
    number. He said we should be able to flag that something is wrong. Jim
    said somebody can always find a way to try to slip something by you but
    eventually it is going to show up. Jim said it will show up. Erik said there
    are some key changes. He said number 1, in his opinion going to a
    vendor that is not a member of the city staff to provide software. He said
    the vendor before was Ricky and his partner Dearing. He said that would
    have been and was a red flag. He said the auditor who was used got into.
    the same cycle (he said he did not know Shaw Skinner but would
    recognize him if he walked into the room, but does not know him
    personally). He said it is healthy to take the auditing function and leave it
    to an outside entity. He said then it was migration to a budget variance
    methodology where every month we are looking at expenses, provides
    further checking at the department head, city manager, finance director
    etc. He said all those things combined really tightened up the process
    for us. Jim said another thing that this software does is that whenever
    money moves, whether it be entering an invoice or entering a check or
    entering a receipt, correcting an invoice or making a budget adjustment,
    a transaction is logged. He said it is logged on this date by this
    employee who caused this transaction to happen. He said once this
    transaction is in the system, it is there for the rest of time. He said you
    cannot delete it or alter it. He said you can enter another transaction to
    offset it but as he had years ago, a customer he just installed called him
    and said they had a big problem. He said she told him that they had a
    bad transaction. He said they had a transaction for a million and one half
    dollars. He said she put the invoice in and instead of putting in $1,500 it
    came out one million and one half dollars and then she went back and
    fixed it but the two transactions for a million and one half are still there.
    Jim said that is right. He said those two transactions are there for
    everybody to see for the rest of time. He said they do not go away. He
    said even in the court systems, whenever money moves, there is a
    transaction and you will not steal from his software. He said you might
    get away with something temporarily but they will catch you. He said that
    is how tight the system is. He said the other difference between HCSS
    and the system the city used to have is that the old system was written
    in what was called DB5 was which was an old general purpose data
    based system. He said the only problem was that you could go into the
    DB files and you could modify them. He said HCSS files are more
    proprietary which in some ways is good and in some ways is not but the
    good thing about it is that you cannot go in and mess with it. He said
    they are encrypted and you cannot go in and do that. He said they have
    gone into a lot of links to make sure that the system is as air tight as it
    can be. Jim said as Erik was saying, everything revolves around the
    budget. He said as he tells people there are only two things that count in
    government accounting, cash in the bank and the budget and nothing
    else matters. He said that is what it is all about. He said what they are
    trying to do is give the city better reporting to monitor the budget and
    monitor the cash flow. He said the other report that the city has given
    him the idea to write, the cash flow analysis report, has gone over really
    big with the rest of their customers as well. He said a lot of times, you
    guys that sit up here, are more interested in how much money do we
    have instead of how we stand with the budget. He said they are both
    equally important but sometimes it is just easier to look at what do we
    actually have in this checking account. He said they know what they
    have in the budget to spend but what do they actually have in their
    checking account. He said he thinks this system will give all of that
    information. He said the other trick is to make it as concise and brief as
    they can so the user does not wear themselves out trying to go through
    and figure something out and where the information you want is more
    readily available to you and you do not have to wade through a bunch of
    other paperwork to get it. The City Manager said that is part of the goal
    from Megan and himself. He said it is to take profit loss analysis and
    cash flow variances and provide that on the second Tuesday of every
    month but there will be a cover sheet or two with bullet points and
    highlights that will allow you to understand those pages. He said you
    can dig into these as much as you want. He said we need to be sure that
    we are giving you the bullet points and highlights. He said Jim has
    worked with them on the budget variance reports. He said if you had a
    duplicative $50,000 check, we would see that immediately from a budget
    variance perspective. Mayor Rangra said that is a big difference and we
    were negative at one point and the Council was asked to borrow money
    from the bank. The City Manager said in the Airport Enterprise Fund a
    $50,000 duplicate would put you from the black to the red. Mayor Rangra
    said we did not have to borrow money from the bank after all. Jim said
    now better things are going to happen. Mayor Rangra asked if we were
    now using the HCSS system exclusively or were we still working with the
    old system and this one. The City Manager said we will still go into the
    old system and pull data out as we have a need and we think we can find
    it. Mayor Rangra said we started with HCSS in 2013 in October. The City
    Manager said the old system conversion was in July of 2013. Jim said
    this fiscal year is totally in this system. He said 2012 and 2013 is split
    between the old and the new. Councilor Castelli asked how that would be
    reflected in the audit. Jim said they will have to audit both sets of books.
    Councilor Castelli said that won’t be an excuse for poor performance,
    will it? The City Manager said we sat down with Craig Gibson (our
    auditors) for about an hour and went over all of the things that we had
    gone through last summer, what we went through during conversions,
    where we had problems, where the issues came up and basically what
    we did and how we came up to where we are. He said he thought Craig
    basically understood everything. He said they have more questions
    every day but that is fine. He said he thinks they have it totally under
    control. Jim said they seem like a pretty nice group of people. The City
    Manager said Craig had three ladies here who were very sharp and very
    data detail oriented and they were hard diggers. He said they were really
    digging into this data. He said that is all they do, twelve months out of
    the year. Councilor Gonzales said he had a picture in his mind about
    what is going on here and he wanted to be corrected if he is wrong. He
    said there has been a group of expenditures and we have broken it down
    to actual accounts. He said he is assuming that over here in this group
    of payments that have been made, you cannot match them to the
    expenditures. He asked if that was correct. He said the reason he asked
    that is because here is money that has been directed to be spent for a
    certain purpose and over here you have another group of things that
    have been spent but we do not know where it fits on the overall picture.
    He asked if this was true and if it was true was this money equal to the
    amount of money that is missing over in the other column. He said Jim
    said something about that we do not have any money missing involving
    spending by the city. He asked if we were still trying to match. The City
    Manager said we have not uncovered anything that says the money was
    spent on anything other than the city. He said what we saw in 2011, not
    so much CO 2011 because that was just allocation dollars, but the 2011
    was pervasive through all the different funds out there, the lack of
    documentation. He said you may budget or allocate on paper dollars to
    certain line items but when the expenses actually come through, you
    may have no documentation or it may be partially allocated to one item
    or partially to another and they do not always match up. He said because
    when you close out a month and close out a year in the old software
    those transactions go poof! He said recreating them requires us to try to
    find paper documentation somewhere in our archives or go back to the
    bank and pull checks and then try to piece that back together about what
    seems logical. He said that is why in your packet you saw these checks
    that went out to the individual groups but not necessarily hard copies of
    what this invoice was for and the detail behind it because that was not
    kept in a clear concise filing manner and so you got the picture. He said
    you allocate over here and you budget over here and then spending over
    here is like a free for all with no documentation and then now we are
    trying to say that the furniture is really listed as a roof and where does it
    go to and literally there are hundreds if not thousands like that. He said
    he is not trying to embellish this. He said there are probably thousands
    of transactions like that. Mayor Rangra asked what we are doing to try to
    avoid this from happening in the future. The City Manager said now we
    have a stong finance director that is working with Abel and Grisell on
    items that are coming in, in categorization of the items plus the magic to
    it is when you get into the budget variance process where departments
    have their individual budgets and if you have material in a supply line
    item and you go over, now with the software here, Abel or Grisell will
    open up that line item and say “here are your twelve transactions” and if
    there was something that was miscoded they could go in and say “you
    know what, this really was an item that should have been coded over
    here”. He said Megan has to give approval on the re-categorizing of the
    expense and if it is a large dollar amount then she will come to the City
    Manager. He said we have this process of structure in place that is really
    looking at it. He said we are going through this process every month so
    that when we come to the end of the year we have a discussion with
    Craig Gibson, the auditor about the audit, he is getting much cleaner
    data. He said the good thing about this too is the on-site and the support
    from HCSS to ensure that we are entering the transactions correctly and
    that we are getting appropriate output. Mayor Rangra offered a
    suggestion. He asked if we could scan our checks and put them in the
    archives and in this way we can go back and forth to check them. He
    said we can look and see if they have been miscoded. The City Manager
    said the Mayor was talking about his utopian world and yes, he would
    like to get there. Mayor Rangra said when Chuck came on board that was
    one of the things that they talked about. He said he thought that might
    help us. He said the City can even scan checks and make a deposit from
    City Hall. The City Manager said he spoke with Linda Lassiter and we are
    going to enable that capability. He said what would be better for us is if
    they would deploy a drop box or a lock box program where people who
    are mailing in their checks, mail it to a PO Box and then the bank
    deposits it and provides us with a scan and then Jim writes the code that
    allows the lockbox up-code into the system. He said that way we save
    labor but West Texas National Bank does not do a lockbox product right
    now. He said he thinks the lockboxes will take a little longer. Mayor
    Rangra said he would talk to the bank. The City Manager said it is helpful
    for us to have a bank branch here because we need to have someone
    who has a branch here because we are in and out. Councilor Bermudez
    asked who signs checks now. The City Manager said primarily himself
    and Molly Taylor, the City Secretary. He said we still have four
    signatories on the checks, including Mayor Rangra and Mayor Pro Tem
    Davidson. Mayor Rangra said he does not have any problem signing
    checks now since the system is in good shape. He said he had a
    problem before when he tried to get information and it was not available.
    He said if he was needed to sign checks, he would be more than happy
    to. The City Manager said he reviews the payroll when we have the first
    run. Jim said HCSS can sign the checks for you. He said that function
    has been disabled as of now but it is still out there. He said right now
    you have a hodge podge of equipment in the City starting with the server
    that is actually on loan to us from Mark Hannan. He said once we can
    redo the hardware and put in a scanner or two, we can scan every
    invoice. He said you can attach an image to any kind of record inside of
    the software, be it a payroll record, check record, capital asset record
    and it is very simple to do if we have the super structure set up in place
    to handle it. He said then if you have a question on an invoice, instead of
    having to go back to the storage building and get it out it is ready and
    available to you on the screen. He said there are a lot of more things we
    are going to be able to do once we get the hardware situation under
    control. He said right now the network here is kind of weak. He said it
    goes down for no reason at all sometimes and it all needs to be redone.
    He said we have been visiting on how to get that done as well. He said
    there is a lot of potential in this software that we have down the road as
    soon as we have the proper facilities to use it. Councilor Gonzales said
    as far as items that are sitting in that special fund, we do not know where
    they go. He said you can come up with a number but Jim is saying that
    we are not missing any money and that it has all been spent but we just
    can’t put it in the right spot based on totals. He said in one place it looks
    like we are missing money and do not have money here. The City
    Manager said if you look back historically in the city you overspent your
    revenues. He said that money had to come from somewhere. He said the
    overspend was on city related items and when you ingest, like with the
    CO 2011, ingest 1.2 million in, and you take a budget of 10.5 million and
    spend 10.8 or 10.9 million and your revenue is only 10.2 you have to get
    that $600,000 from somewhere. He said the $600,000 came from CO 2011.
    He said you spent it on city items that were not categorized as CO 2011
    and that is where you saw that $500,000 delta in your sheets. He said
    that delta occurred because that money was spent using other things to
    operate the city. He said whether it was equipment purchases or
    something else. He said as you walk through the warehouse you see a
    lot of things that maybe we did not need but we spent $100,000 in
    equipment there. He said when he is digging through trying to figure out
    when was this purchased and why was this purchased and what account
    was it taken to, sometimes you are able to find them and you’ll see that it
    was taken to the water department material. He said it is a fact that your
    revenues were less than your expenses and the money had to come
    from somewhere. Mayor Rangra said the Council had information
    available in a timely fashion. He said an item came before the council to
    purchase something and what happened in the past is they looked at the
    manager and asked if they had the money and he said we had the
    money. Mayor Rangra said he would also take the responsibility. He said
    when we want to spend “x” number of dollars in the water department
    and we are looking at if we have the money in the water department. He
    said if we do not have the money in the water department we should
    transfer money from another account with permission from the council
    so the council will know what is going on. Mayor Rangra said we have
    not had that in the past. The City Manager said there will not be an
    approval without a specific line item that will be used to address that. He
    said 99% of the time it is going to be a required transfer. He said if a
    $7,000 expense comes up that is necessary in the public works
    department and we are running low on our expenses in the
    administrative fund so the council could vote on covering the expense
    out of the administrative fund. He said the council would be voting on if
    they wanted to transfer the money over to cover the expense. He said we
    will also be getting the budget variance every month that the council can
    look at and say the administrative fund is running light on their expenses
    in that line item so it does make sense. He said that is when, as a
    council, you have to be educated as to what is happening from the
    financial piece so that you can make a decision based on that
    information. He said that is his responsibility to deliver it that way. Mayor
    Rangra said he liked the wiring system. He said that is what he does in
    his business, transfer money from one account to the other. He said if he
    has to borrow money from his personal account for the business it goes
    there. He said how can the deposits exceed the revenues. The City
    Manager said there are fund sheets that will come out every month. He
    said some of that money is not ours, like hotel motel and INS. He said it
    is not ours theoretically but we are the guardian of it. He said the whole
    notion of throwing everything in the general fund, you cannot throw
    other people’s money into your own account. Mayor Rangra said this will
    be able to address quite a few concerns that the council has on what you
    saw when you were transferring the data from the old system to the new
    HCSS. He said nothing is perfect. Jim said what you are going to have
    now is equality in your chart of accounts which the City Manager can
    control and when you get these funding issues like a CO you can set up
    the chart of accounts properly to reflect the information. He said you did
    not have that before. He said before you just asked Chuy if we had the
    money, yes or no, and you had no clue. He said plus the reports that
    you were getting from them were at least 45 days old. He said so how
    you could sit up there and make a decision when all you had to rely on
    was, did you have the money, yes or no. He said that is all you had. He
    said the council has to approve every transfer and expenditure. He said
    that is your job. He said if he is going to be able to give you the
    information you need to look at to intelligently make that decision
    correctly plus the charter. The City Manager said there were transfers
    made consistently that did not have the approval of the Council. It was
    discussed that a few transfers occurred after Chuy. City Manager
    Zimmer came in 6 weeks into the fiscal year. He said this year is a good
    indication of where we will be. He said 2015 will be a much better
    reflection of where we are going. Councilor Gonzales said he had
    another question. He said we are four months into the new software. The
    City Manager said we are going to do a budget revisit but we put the
    brakes on even more as far as spending goes. He said there were a lot of
    expense line items that were trending much lower. He said looking into
    them and not being able to go back, we do not have the visibility to
    always go back. He said we will be building the budget from scratch. He
    said we will be looking at the trend but then saying what is it that we
    really need. He said we are putting the brakes on 2014. Councilor
    Gonzales said he understands that but we are using this year to
    determine what next year will look like. Councilor Gonzales asked what
    the repercussion would be if you exceeded your budget. The City
    Manager said if it was blatant mismanagement, they will be terminated
    for overspending their budget. He said if you are given $15,000 in a line
    item and you spend $28,000 and you spend $1,600 to buy sweet smelling
    perfumes to put into the sewer plant then we have a big problem. He said
    he is mixing some theories with some actual items. Councilor Bermudez
    said if they think they need to exceed their budget they need to come to
    the City Manager to be advised. The City Manager said that is the beauty
    of looking at their budget every month so they can understand where
    they are further out. He said we should not pay unemployment in most
    circumstances. He said the second thing is the purchase order process.
    He said there was not a purchase order process and people would just
    go to True Value and would call the office and get a purchase order
    number and buy a bunch of stuff. He said now department heads are
    authorizing purchase orders. He said then they have to bring in that
    authorization sheet with the invoice to our finance department. He said
    they also know what their line item is and they have to put the line item
    that is to be charged there. He said we are pushing more accountability
    with department heads instead of just calling and asking if they can
    spend money on something. He said really what you have done is that
    there is no level of accountability for department heads. He said now
    there is, which is why he was asking the question a few minutes ago.
    Councilor Castelli asked what we did when an enterprise fund loses
    revenue in the amount of $7,000 per quarter. The City Manager said we
    should see that happen but right now with our gas
    department…..Councilor Castelli said our new software cost quite a bit
    of money. He said we had received a report that we can talk about but if
    we do not do our jobs as council people and just look at that report and
    just pass it though and wait for our next trip to Austin, where is that
    going to take us? He said that is the situation that we have. He said we
    have had that report for two and one half weeks and not a word has been
    said. He said and here is the business that we took over because it was
    going to be a cash cow for the city and now we have lost $157,000 in a
    quarter and nobody on the council talks about it. The City Manager said
    systematically what he can see happening with the gas department is
    losing money. Councilor Castelli said this is our responsibility. The City
    Manager said he appreciates the comment. He said he sees that and he
    is concerned about the gas department. He said we are losing money at
    the gas department and we should be making money. He said what is
    going to happen over the next several months and what will absolutely
    happen in 2015 is there will be allocations of his, Molly’s and Megan’s
    wages to the enterprise fund department. He said we do not do that
    currently. He said what you see on paper from a profit and loss
    statement is actually a better representation of where we are at. He said
    because he makes decisions for the gas department and the water
    department, Molly has a certain amount of accountability and the finance
    director. He said he has reviewed that with Mick and he has always
    allocated the chief administrative salaries across the different
    departments. He said the city of Alpine has not done that. He said the
    profit looks higher than what it is or the loss is lower than what it is. He
    said when we start doing even more allocations we are going to see
    many of these enterprise departments maybe operating in the red. He
    said we have to correct that. He said the gas department has lower rates
    and whoever made the decision to go from where it was to down here
    where it is and you had several hundred thousand in reserve and had
    customer deposits that came in and they all got spent. He said we have
    $100,000 in reserve in the gas department and we have $160,000 in
    liabilities for customer deposits because we do not even have that in
    reserve. He said you’re operating in the red on top of it and that is not
    even taking all of your allocations of expense to that enterprise unit. He
    said the nice thing about working with Mick McKamie is that he has
    worked on these different kinds of rate increases in the past and we are
    buttoning down that information to come together and say what do we
    need to do. He said part of that also is tightening down expenses. He
    said some of your overage is also related to inappropriate spending.
    Mayor Rangra said when we approved this current year’s budget, monies
    from different departments were allocated for the purpose that Erik
    mentioned. He said it was for his salary and Molly’s salary and Megan’s
    salary. He said the salaries had to be proportionately allocated. He said
    they had discussed that at the Water Development Board and they had to
    assure the board that this would happen and that we were doing that. He
    said now actually what we have done is take “x” number of dollars from
    the police department, gas department, city hall and we have not done
    that. He said it is not the City Manager’s fault but that is the kind of thing
    that the council needs to be aware of. The City Manager said he would
    mention that in the gas department, the number one item in revisiting the
    budget is that there was a representation of a 13% increase in revenue.
    He said that stuck out to him like a sore thumb. He said how do you
    increase revenue in a stagnant account. He said that is what was
    presented and that is what was approved. He said there will be a
    retraction on that in what you see. He said you cannot fictitiously raise
    revenues and show this reallocation to cover police, public works and
    administration. He said you cannot do that. He said the revenue has to
    be real and it has to be real estimates. Councilor Bermudez said there
    were quite a few items. Mayor Rangra said look at the expenses and
    revenues. He said we are $100,000 in the red. The City Manager said that
    is to Michael’s point. He said it appeared on the budget that it was going
    to be positive but that was predicated on fictitious revenue assumptions.
    Mayor Rangra said if you look at the revenues and expenditures that
    were given to us and look at the budget critically, it is $100,000 already in
    the red. He said that is beside the point. Mayor Rangra asked when the
    council would be able to get the monthly statements and reports from
    the new software. The City Manager said we will be looking at the profit
    and loss statements and the budget variance on the second meeting of
    every month starting in February. He said that does not give him any
    time to close out January. He said that is why he will give a one or two
    page bullet summary up front because otherwise you will get 70 pages of
    back up. He said it is his job to narrow that down. Mayor Rangra said
    maybe we can use I-pads to have all of this information available to the
    Council. He said that would be wonderful because then the council
    would have the information and we would not have to make copies for
    everybody. The City Manager said nothing would please him more than
    to see the council members with I-pads. Mayor Rangra said he would
    rather have this electronically. He said he takes the information that the
    City Manager gives him and puts it in his own spreadsheet. Jim said we
    might want to look at things other than an I-pad. He said Microsoft
    surface, the way they structured it, is much easier to use. He said it has
    its own keyboard that can fold down. He said if you just want to use it as
    a tablet, you can pop the keyboard off and the price is probably less
    expensive than an I-pad. He said the I-pad is still the most expensive
    tablet you can buy. He said he has the new style that Microsoft
    introduced with the Microsoft Surface is far superior and you will like it a
    whole lot better. He said there are two versions of the Surface. He said
    one is a tablet and one is a full blown computer. He said with the
    computer you can put anything you want on it. He said with the tablet
    you are pretty much limited to what you can work through the internet.
    He said Microsoft has a new version of the office. Councilor Castelli said
    you need to have a personal computer and you need to have a city
    computer and you cannot mix the two. He said the city computer does
    not allow you to use it for personal uses. The City Manager said what we
    are looking at are overall networks right now. He said we have spent a lot
    of money over computer hardware and software over the last 3 or 4
    years and we really do not have anything to show for it. He said we need
    to have good network connections between our offices. He said we are
    right now addressing Google’s product suite for government. Scanning
    and archiving documents was discussed. The City Manager said the nice
    thing with Hill Country Software is that on invoices or checks or images
    tied to an invoice we can load it in to that item. He said the reason why
    that is critical is when we are looking for an overspend or under-spend
    to a particular line item we not only have the dollar amount and when the
    check was written but we also have the back-up invoice already in the
    software. Mayor Rangra asked about software for billing. The City
    Manager said as we integrate our water and gas we will address that. He
    said these projects take us time and money and right now there are just
    not enough hours in the day. Councilor Castelli said he wanted to make
    a point and he wished that all five council people were here. He said
    going back to when he sat out in the audience as a citizen, the red flags
    that he saw about Chuy and Ricky have not changed and we are still in
    the same position. He said he sat out there and nothing has changed and
    he cannot get anybody to hear him. He said there was an item on the
    agenda about Big Bend Softball league who wanted to put in some
    softball cages and they asked Chuy if we had the money. He said Chuy
    said we did have the money. He said Chuy did not know how much
    money it cost. He said there was no red flag. He said then the lady came
    to the podium from the Softball league and said the league was not
    asking for the Council to pay for this. She said they were only asking for
    permission to build it and that they were going to fund it themselves. He
    said the council said good and they just went on about their business.
    He said red flags and nobody asked Chuy why he said we had the money
    or did not have the money but nobody knew what it cost. He said the
    public is saying look at these idiots up there approving things and let’s
    go to the next thing on the agenda. Councilor Castelli said here we are
    today. He said the City Manager has been providing the council with an
    unpaid invoice report since July. He said this was under the new system.
    He said he is the only person who ever asks a question about an item on
    the report so what good does that report do? He said the City Manager
    provides us with a quarterly report that shows $157,000 loss to the gas
    company. He said the council members do not even ask a question. He
    said that is a red flag. He said all of these wonderful reports but as a
    council, the council is failing in their responsibility to the taxpayers to
    this city. He said he wants somebody to take responsibility for that and
    he does not want to be the only person time in and time out to ask about
    an invoice item and then have one or two denigrate him for asking the
    question. He said he is doing the job that they are not doing and he has
    been very frustrated listening to this today because the council keeps
    saying what else can you do for us? He said he is the citizen saying
    when are you going to do something for me? He thanked the council for
    hearing him out. Mayor Rangra said that is true. Councilor Castelli said
    he did not want a response from the Mayor. He said of all people he did
    not want a response from the Mayor. Councilor Castelli said what he
    would like is to not be the only person watching the city. Councilor
    Bermudez said as you know she is not an accountant and sometimes
    she looks at the reports and does not see everything. She said after the
    new reports are generated she hopes to be able to see things more
    clearly. She said the only thing is that no other members of the council
    ask questions either. She said none of the other council members ask
    questions about the unpaid invoices at council either. Councilor
    Bermudez said she knows other things that maybe the other council
    members do not know. Mayor Rangra said each council member is
    elected and represents a ward. He said each council member has the
    right to ask questions. He said if one person asks questions and the
    others don’t it doesn’t matter. He said when he was on the council he
    asked a lot of questions and he was accused of micromanaging. He said
    the Mayor does not have the authority to stop the process. He said the
    Mayor can give the chance to the council to speak and he never worried
    about other people asking questions. He said concerning the budget he
    was the only one who was prepared. He said he stayed up all night
    looking at the budget the night before. He said he has asked plenty of
    questions when he was a council member and now that he is Mayor. The
    City Manager said there are significant problems that have grown and
    significant issues that relate to how money has been spent and
    allocated. He said with a strong system we still have to have a strong
    output and people who are looking at it and giving an assessment. He
    said he has a trained eye but there are things that he will not pick up on.
    He said there are things that we need to challenge ourselves to push the
    City ahead. He said the notion about approving things without
    specifically understanding them has to stop. He said it is his
    responsibility to help the council understand what the expense is and
    validate it. He said sometimes he will not have a solution. Mayor Rangra
    said the council has to approve every expense above $500. The Council
    thanked Jim for his information and help.

    9. Action Items to be accompanied by a brief statement of facts, including
    where funds are coming from, if applicable. (Action items limited to 15 per
    meeting.) – None
    10. Citizens Comments (limit 3 minutes) – none

    11. Council Member’s Comments and Answers – none

    12. Executive Session – none

    13. Action – Executive Session – none

    14. Adjournment – Meeting was adjourned.

    I certify that this notice was posted at 11:45 A.M. on January 15th, 2014, pursuant to Texas
    Open Meetings Act. (Texas Vernon’s Annotated Civil statutes, section 551.043 Texas Government
    Code.) This facility is wheelchair accessible and accessible parking space is available. Requests for
    accommodations or interpretive services must be made 48 hours prior to this meeting. Please
    Contact the city secretary’s office at (432) 837-3301 or fax (432) 837-2044 for further information.
    _________________________________________________
    Dr. Avinash Rangra, Mayor
    Attest:
    _______________________________
    Margaret “Molly” Taylor, City Secretary
    I, Margaret “Molly’ Taylor, City Secretary, do certify that this notice was posted at 11:45 A.M. on January
    15th, 2014, and remained so posted continuously for at least 72 hours preceding the scheduled time of
    said meeting.
    Margaret “Molly” Taylor, City Secretary

  • January 21, 2014 Minutes

    Click Here for print friendly version

    City of Alpine
    Regular City Council Meeting
    January 21st, 2014
    6:00 P.M.
    Minutes

    1. Call to Order, Invocation and Pledge of allegiance to the flag – Mayor
    Rangra called the meeting to order. The invocation was given by Brad
    McGuire. Pledge of allegiance to the flags was led by Mayor Rangra.

    2. Determination of a quorum and proof of notice of the meeting – Mayor
    Rangra and Councilors Bermudez, Davidson, Fitzgerald, Gonzales and
    Castelli were present. The meeting notice had been posted at 5:15 P.M. on
    January 17th, 2014.

    3. Presentations, recognitions and proclamations –
    A. Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest Junior Troop 333 will be observing
    the council meeting with their troop leader Lizette Holguin. (E. Zimmer,
    CM) – City Manager Zimmer said he wanted to welcome Mrs. Holguin
    and the girls from troop 333. A picture of the group was taken by the
    Avalanche newspaper. The City Manager said part of our scouting
    organizations need to observe different community and government
    meetings and this gives these young ladies the opportunity to observe
    and understand the process. He said there is our future. Mayor Rangra
    said he hoped they learned something.
    B. Recognize four recent retirees from the City of Alpine – Joel ‘Pee Wee”
    Muniz, Joe Luis Ramirez, Rodolfo Monclova and Ramon Lujan. (A.
    Rangra, Mayor) – Mayor Rangra said these are four employees who have
    retired over the last seven months. He said among these four there is a
    total of 95 years of experience. He said he is going to recognize each one
    of them and he understands that later on the City Secretary is preparing
    some sort of reception for them. He presented certificates to Ramon
    Lujan (13 years-street department), Rodolfo Monclova (21 years-parks
    department) and Joe Luis Ramirez (25 years-street department). Joel
    “Pee-Wee Muniz” was not present. Mayor Rangra said Pee-Wee had
    worked for 36 years for the city.

    4. Reports –
    City Mayor’s Report – Mayor Rangra said he wanted to welcome everyone in
    this new year and he wanted to thank the Mayor Pro Tem for the last
    meeting. He said he did a wonderful job. Mayor Rangra also introduced Mick McKamie to the audience, who is our new City Attorney.
    City Attorney Report – The City Manager said tonight we have William “Mick”
    McKamie here. He said McKamie’s firm is representing the City of Alpine and
    we had discussed that at the last Council meeting in Executive Session and
    selected Mr. McKamie and his firm based on their experience in representing
    other cities across Texas as well as a lot of deep experience in the current
    matters that are important to Alpine, from water to our streets and roads. He
    said with Bob Steele, the interim city attorney leaving, November 25th, we
    have had kind of a gap of time. He said Mr. McKamie’s office is out of San
    Antonio. He said he has a full firm of attorney’s that will back him up. He said
    he will be our main point of contact. He said we appreciate his attendance at
    this particular meeting. He said in the future we will be doing more streaming
    video and audio so he can attend that way. He said we are extremely pleased
    with Mr. McKamie’s background and with his firm’s background in
    representing Alpine. He said Mick spent his morning in our staff meeting
    getting to know all of our different department heads and coming up to speed
    very quick on some of our pressing legal issues. Mr. McKamie thanked
    everyone for inviting him and for selecting their firm to assist Alpine as City
    Attorney. He spoke about his History. He said they had four lawyers in the
    San Antonio office and five in the Austin office. He said Barbara had a lot of
    water and sewer experience. He said he personally looked forward to working
    with the Mayor and the Council. He said the staff he met this morning was
    delightful. He said we have a lot of work to do and they are anxious to get
    started. He said they will get started tomorrow. He said they have arranged
    for the City Manager to be the liaison for his office. He said anytime anyone
    needs anything they can call him. He said they are currently city attorney for
    35 cities in Texas. He said some of them are fairly larger and they also have
    smaller cities. He said they do a lot of litigation for cities. He said he looked
    forward to working with everyone. He said they do almost everything by email
    nowadays. He said they will be here when they need to be here.
    City Manager Report – City Manager Zimmer said he has had a busy couple of
    weeks. He said he wanted to start with our recycling and Keep Alpine
    Beautiful. He said last week we had electronic recycling and we collected 60
    Pallets. -He said that is up from 50 pallets last year. He said we had the event
    from Monday through Friday. He said last year we had it from Monday
    through Saturday. He said we cut off a day and increased our pickup by 20%.
    He said we had a good response by the community. He said we also had
    good representation by our media partners in getting the word out. He said
    we had 15 volunteers put in 52 hours of volunteer time. He said we did have
    three employees who worked in and out of the project for a total of 92 hours
    and two of our departments pitched in equipment to help, from a fork lift to
    power jacks and we really had a great turnout. He said along with that we are
    also finalizing our application for a Governor’s Achievement Award. He said
    Martha Latta is spearheading that for us. He said “knock-on-wood” we feel very
    confident that based on our recycling and Keep Alpine Beautiful and

    some of the other key projects that she and the City are working on, we hope
    to be successful in achieving that award. He showed the Council a couple of
    images from the electronic recycling week. He said there were two eighteen
    wheelers worth of material.
    He said regarding Code Enforcement, we had 44 code violations, 6
    investigations initiated, 28 court cases pending and we have a docket later
    this month and jury trial during the last week of January. He said code issues
    or ordinance violations are the number one item that comes into his office.
    He said as part of our new website launch, we are working to make a form
    available to our residents to fill out with their code violation concerns. He
    said we are also going to move into logging that into the system. He said the
    form will be available on line or people can come into City Hall if they do not
    have access to the web. He said we are really trying to be very open and
    listen and log the complaints that the folks have in relation to our code and
    our ordinances.
    He said concerning our law enforcement and fire department, most of us
    know that the County issued a burn ban effective this past week for the
    county. He said in our staff meeting this morning, Chief Scown had indicated
    that here in the city we do allow people to burn within a fire pit. He said it is
    something that we are going to address as far as that ordinance and the
    compliance of that ordinance. He said we just want to make sure that we are
    safe and we are not causing fires in the area. He said back up a slide, most of
    our code violations that come in are brush related violations where people
    are letting their yards get too high. He said with this being the dry season and
    windy season it really has to be top of mind for all of us. He said we are also
    addressing the graffiti on Kokernot Bridge for those of you who have been
    through that area recently have seen some of that. He said our public works
    department are working together on cleaning that up. He said we have a
    pretty good line of sight and know who some of the perpetrators are. He said
    we always ask the citizens that if you see anything to please let us know as
    quickly as possible.
    City Manager Zimmer said we are glad to have Mick McKamie, our City
    Attorney, with us this evening. He said we are working through a list of
    outstanding items which will provide some additional output in agenda items
    for the next 60 to 90 days.
    He said we are almost there with the new website. He said the projected day
    to launch is January 31st
    . He said we were able to get the domain name City
    of Alpine.com which he thought was pretty cool. He said it was available and
    the one item that we still have to upload is our agenda and our meeting
    minutes. He said he knows that has been a topic of conversation for a lot of
    our residents who want to make sure that we get it updated on the site. He
    said we will also have imbedded pages that will give us current information
    on who our Mayor and elected officials are and who our Administrative Staff
    is and how to get hold of them quickly. He said it will have forms that you can
    download and is really an easy to use site. He said he has to say that we are using an existing employee to build this site and that provided us with a nice
    cost savings as a city. He said we will also have multiple people trained here
    on the City Administrative staff to do updates. He said as different
    emergencies or things come up, we want to be able to direct people to the
    City website to get the information that they need to understand about what
    is going on. He said he just showed the council a couple of sites. He said
    there is no harm in going to it right now.
    He said concerning Public Works we are making a list of targeted streets for
    repair this year and they will be available by the end of January. He said we
    are also doing some ranking of those right now as to what type of priority and
    what needs to be done and what are some of the lower priority streets. He
    said we have also ordered our material and posted our 2014 budget revisit
    which we are getting ready to present at the next Council meeting.
    He said one of the other items that he thinks is import is to address dead tree
    issues at our local parks right now. He sad through some of the most recent
    wind storms they have seen some of the older trees and this has caused
    concern. He said they will have to look at replacing a few trees.
    The City Manager said Virgil Clark and an employee went up to Lubbock this
    past week and they are working on testing our water capabilities. He said we
    have an e-coli test that has a six hour time line that requires us to go to
    Midland-Odessa and drop that off. He said it becomes somewhat of an
    expense drain on the organization, not just the cost to get it up there but also
    the time away from the job for each employee. He said we are going to be
    able to set that testing up and perform that in Alpine in the not too distant
    future. He said the significance of that is not only we will be able to do that
    for our own good but some of the neighboring communities that are having to
    drive their samples up to Midland-Odessa right now will be able to redirect
    here. He said we feel like we are being a good partner in the greater Big Bend
    Region with being able to do this. He said we are also looking at a couple of
    other tasks that we can bring back in house as well.
    He said concerning our tourism and hotel fund, on the tourism side we are
    reshooting the videos for those of you who have gone to the old web site. He
    said we are refreshing and updating those and we will get them out on the
    new website. He said our face book page for Alpine has just passed 10,000
    likes. He said it has been a continued slow growth but a positive
    representation. He said this issue of the Texas Highway Magazine titled the
    Big Bend Issue devotes about 10 pages to Alpine. He said five of those pages
    are focused on the Cowboy Poetry Gathering. He said if we were to go out
    and pay for this advertising, it would cost us about $75,000. He said we gave
    them photos, the photos you will see in the Texas Highway spread. He said
    these were provided as part of our photography contests of recent past. He
    said this is really neat the way that Texas Highway Magazine utilized the
    information that Chris Ruggia and Stewart Ramser had provided. He said it is
    probably $75,000 worth of value that we did not have to pay for.
    He said we have a regional planning meeting scheduled here in Alpine for
    Thursday, February 27th. He said all recipients of the hotel fund are invited to attend. He said the goal of that is some way to fill in gaps on weeks and
    weekends that currently don’t have events but also how do we get better
    media vibe by working more collectively as a group, lowering our overall
    costs and stretching the dollars out even farther. He said we are also nearing
    the completion of our hotel fund audit. He said he had targeted the end of
    January to finish that. He said most importantly what we are looking at is the
    administration of that fund to make sure that we are in compliance within the
    letter of the law and how we are administrating it. He said we are
    communicating to the recipients. He said we are sharing a form with them
    and guidelines to begin with but it is important that we also provide them with
    gentle reminders and help. He said that will be addressed at the Thursday,
    February 27th meeting as well.
    He said concerning the finance department, our auditors were on site the first
    half of last week. We had a very good session on Monday, Tuesday and
    Wednesday. He said we anticipate completion and presentation of the audit
    by the second meeting in February. He said we have to have it done before
    March 1st
    . He said many of our reporting guidelines require us to have it done
    by that time frame. He said we will have plenty of action items that will come
    from this audit but as Megan Antrim and he are kind of moving forward they
    are thinking a lot about the internal controls and how we are putting some
    policies in place to manage internal controls, anticipating that next year that
    will be a focus of the audit as well. He said we are compiling a list of older
    assets for sell off. He said we have older assets that still have material
    value to them. He said we are trying to repurpose those dollars as we sell
    them off into some other capital needs in the city. He said at the same time
    we are also building our current asset list as part of the 180 day plan. He said
    he is certain that will be an output from our audit as well and that is a
    requirement. He said as he said earlier we are targeting our 2014 budget
    revisit for Council and we will be looking for approval on that by the next
    council meeting. He said he also met with our health care vendor this past
    Friday. He said the city is partially self funded and we discussed plans and
    rates. He said the high bar item there is developing some reserves when you
    have a self funded account that is an important element to it.
    He said for those of you who have seen the media lately about Beijing, he is
    very glad we are not in that part of the world but here in Alpine, Texas.
    Councilor Davidson said the City Manager said the council would have a list
    of property as part of the 180 day plan and wanted to know if that would
    include real property. The City Manager said it would. Councilor Gonzales
    said he liked the way the City Manager was explaining it so that the council
    could visualize it too. Councilor Fitzgerald asked if the council was going to
    get an up to date asset list. The City Manager said yes, he said part of that is
    looking at what our acquisition cost is, what the life of the asset is, whether
    we depreciated it on the spot or whether we are depreciating it over a period
    of time. He said then we will move forward with tagging the assets. Mayor
    Rangra thanked the City Manager and said it looked like he had earned his
    pay. He said the presentation was not only impressive but was also intuitive with a lot of information and the city, council and audience can see where we
    are going.
    City Staff Updates – The City Manager said there were no reports from
    anyone on the list below.
    Megan Antrim, Interim Finance Director
    Robert Polanco, Code Enforcement
    Judge Schlosser, Municipal Judge
    Russell Scown, Chief of Police
    Virgil Clark, Interim Utilities Director
    Randy Guzman, Gas Department Manager
    Martha Latta, Recycling Coordinator
    Hector Ramirez, Director of Public Works
    Johnny Galvan, Airport Manager

    5. Citizens Comments (on agenda items) –
    Manfred Fritsche said he wanted to talk about item #12 in Executive Session.
    He said he noted that the new attorney was present and welcomed him. He
    said the item reads to review the City Manager’s visit with the City Manager.
    He said he is inclined to believe that no representative of the Attorney
    General is going to make any meetings and comment with regards to the
    ongoing investigation. He said beyond that, the Texas Open Meetings Act
    does allow the consultation with Attorney on contemplated pending or
    pending litigation or settlement offers and on civil matters. He said this is the
    exception most often claimed by bodies meeting in secret. He said there must
    already be litigation or contemplated litigation about which the governmental
    unit wants to consult its attorney. He said some vague suspicion of litigation
    may occur is not sufficient to invoke this exception to the open meetings act.
    He said a review of the attorney general’s visit with the city manager doesn’t
    fit the bill in his opinion.

    6. Public Hearings – None

    7. Consent Agenda – (Minutes, Financial reports, Department written reports,
    Board appointments, etc.) –
    A. Approve the minutes of November 18th, 19th and 25th, 2013 (A.
    Rangra, Mayor) –
    B. Approve Accounts Payable (E. Zimmer, CM) –
    Motion was made by Councilor Davidson, by Resolution 2014-01-11, to
    approve the consent agenda as posted. Motion was seconded by Councilor
    Fitzgerald. Motion unanimously carried.

    8. Information or Discussion items –
    A. CO 2011 and Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant. (E. Zimmer)
    • $15,000 to be paid to Atlantis Aquatic Group from expense account
    24,621.0500 for filtration and chlorination system to finish swimming
    pool
    The City Manager said he does have a power point to go along with the
    information that was provided to the Council in their packets to supplement
    the background. He said he wanted to start off by saying that the discussion
    today around these two critical topics are output from one of the items on the
    180 day plan that is kind of addressing the accounting and where we stand
    on some of our certain obligations and grants. He said the CO 2011 as well as
    the Parks and Wildlife Grant are the two biggest items open within the City of
    Alpine right now. He said he would also set the discussion by stating that
    Megan Antrim, our newly appointed finance director (at that point he asked
    Megan to stand up and he recognized her and said she had now been on the
    job for 13 days) prior to this, she had been working in a project management
    coordination position supporting the city. He said Megan has a breadth of
    experience on managing and administering grants and certificates of
    obligation. He said probably on his second or third day on the job, he sat
    down with Megan and assigned her the task of helping him to understand
    what happened with CO 2011 and what happened with the Parks Grant. He
    said as we are going through this, this evening, Megan is going to come up
    and provide some additional support and input as to how this was put
    together. He said we will address CO 2011 first. He said it originated in April
    of 2011 and there were 16 key projects outlined for completion within the
    scope of the project with the following items being our four project lists along
    with the associated dollars called out in this CO Series. He said they are 1)
    Old City Hall Roof Replacement – $80,000 2) Court Building improvements –
    $15,000 3) Police Department improvements – $15,000 4) Animal Shelter –
    $150,000 5) Kokernot Swimming Pool – $84,000 6) Street Department –
    $15,000 7) FEMA Match for channelization – $33,000 8) 6th Street
    Improvements – $15,300 9) Railroad Depot – $53,400 10) Water improvements
    for well maintenance – $75,000 11) Water building improvements – $15,000 12)
    Sewer building improvements $15,000 13) Sewer improvements for
    bottlenecks – $170,000 14) Belt press for the sewer plant – $220,000 15) Quiet
    Zone – $225,000 and 16) Parks Equipment – $10,000. He said these were pulled
    straight off the meeting minutes prior to the approval as well as the initial
    dollar amounts and it came up to almost 1.2 million dollars. He showed a
    couple of images, the Animal Shelter on the left and the Railroad Depot on
    the right. He said as we moved through studying what happened with the
    $1.19 million, they came up with really trying to recreate how did we get and
    how did we spend those monies. He said what he would share with the
    Council is it was very hard to track all of the expenditures. He said the City, at that juncture in time, the administration and staff had been using a one
    account system where monies that came into the city were all put into the
    general fund and then when an item had to be paid it might be transferred to
    an account to pay that item. He said since then we changed accounting
    software, monthly backups weren’t done routinely and many of the folders
    did not contain all the information related to the expense of these items nor a
    movement of money from one account to the next. He said the project clearly
    was not managed appropriately with the CO project. He said there was no
    clear representation of detail costing, how the financial accounts were
    derived or managing that project clearly. He said anytime you have this
    amount of money that is being allocated, close to 1.2 million dollars….he
    said he would use the sewer improvements for bottlenecks, $170,000 as an
    example…he said that $170,000 is piece parts of a lot of different elements
    that come to that total. He said what we were not able to gather is what wer
    those piece parts. He said when Megan and he were trying to reconstruct
    they did not find clear accounting as to how these numbers were absolutely
    derived. He said with that being said, what was provided to council was a list
    of expenditures and how they were tied to different elements of the projects.
    He said sometimes, not all of the expenditures matched what that project
    entailed. He said for example, the old city hall roof, an $80,000 line item
    there…..we have furniture that was procured and accounted for out of that
    fund. He said so as they were putting this together some of the dollar
    amounts did not match up. He said in a case like that what they would have
    wanted to do as the city was to say we have court building improvements or
    police department improvements and they require some furniture to be
    purchased that we would have done either a budget transfer that would have
    been approved by council or we would have shown that line item being taken
    out of those two elements. He said that was part of the challenge that Megan
    really faced as she was putting this together. He said the other piece on this
    first light of key observations, the money was immediately moved to the
    general fund instead of setting up separate accounts. He said that is not a
    practicefrom a move forward perspective that we as the city administration
    staff would do. He said you would set up a project and a bank account
    associated with the CO 2011 and put your money in that account and then
    have detailed accounting as you spend out of that particular account. He
    said every month you do a reconciliation to that account and that data
    should be provided to council. He said that is methodically best practice in
    moving forward on some type of obligation like that. He said that having
    been said, he asked Megan to come up and give some of the other
    observations too. Councilor Davidson said on the City Hall Roof item there
    are two items to Quill. He asked if he was correct that we spent $4,000 on
    office supplies. Megan said the Quill was for office furniture and supplies.
    The City Manager said it should have been a budget transfer to a department.
    He said overall when CO 2011 was initially rolled out there should have been
    more detail given to the council and community as to specific line items and
    how you get to that $80,000 or how you get to that $15,000 and that did not occur. He said please understand that they are just sharing the facts of what
    they have observed. Councilor Davidson said we should have known that
    would include furniture because it says roof. Megan said unfortunately there
    was a lot of miscoding for example the furniture coming out of the roof
    expense. She said some of the expenses out of the sewer should not come
    out of the sewer. She said it was one thing after the other. She said if you will
    notice at the end of the report at the very bottom there are actual expenses.
    She said she noticed that when we received the money in April it was directly
    deposited into the general fund and then four months later it was actually
    deposited into a CO11 proceeds account and the rest of the expenditures
    came out of that account. She said there are four months where money was
    being spent, and it was being spent on projects. She said the Animal Shelter
    definitely was a big project that the city took on. She said she thinks it was a
    little more than was initially expected. She said at the end of every fiscal year
    audit adjustments were made. She said there was a lack of documentation
    that was used. The City Manager said they were concerned about legal
    ramifications of non-completion of the projects. He said they have not seen
    anything to this point that would lead them to believe that the money was not
    spent on the city but the money was not spent according to how it was
    outlined for CO 2011. He said INS accounts should have also been built at
    that time to start creating reserves on dollars associated with that debt. It
    has made it very costly for our administration team in managing our financial
    state because we are about to accumulate right now $110,000 per month and
    put it into reserve to make the debt payment that is coming up in March. He
    said we have a clear line of sight to the middle of March and he is very
    pleased with that. He said there are two big projects that have not had any
    action on them. He said they are the Belt Press and the Quiet Zone. He said
    these are the items that resonate the most in his office and that he gets the
    calls on. He said he hears everything from there is $225,000 in a separate
    account to build the quiet zone to a lot of different versions. He said what he
    would say is that there is no additional money from the existing 1.9 million.
    He said there is not a reserve fund holding the money for the Quiet Zone. He
    said with the Quiet Zone he thinks it is important that we understand that the
    Railroad Commission continues to give us additional elements and
    conditions in order to build the project. He said they are now pushing it to
    the level where the community needs to understand what those
    additional requirements are. He said when we start getting into street
    closures alongside these railroad crossings, there are a lot of people in the
    community that may not be happy with some of the street closures. He said
    as a new administration staff, it is our responsibility to really create what a
    new quiet zone plan would look like as well as looking through some of the
    bids from the old quiet zone project. He said was $225,000 the right dollar
    amount or could this have been built for something less than that. He said
    the belt press was another high bid item. He said Virgil Clark was able to
    research and found these bags that we could move the sludge into that
    would promote the drying process and we had a $17,000 expense there instead of a $220,000 expense. He said in a sense we avoided an
    additional $200,000 in cost. He said that is just in up front capital costs. He
    said the other piece on the belt press that was not called out in the series is
    the additional strain on employees. He said when you have a belt press, you
    have to have an additional employee and you have ongoing additional
    expenses. He said those are all things that we have to think about, not just
    spending money but the additional strain on our employees. He said
    our commitment as we exit out of CO 2011 is to look at the quiet zone and
    get it back on the agenda in the not too distant future so the council can
    review it as well as getting final statements from the Railroad Commission
    and legal to help this project move forward. The City Manager said the
    old software predates Megan and Erik. He said they are finding bits of paper
    files in different folders. He said it is very tough to reconstruct. He said now
    all of our statements and reports go in one folder and the Council has
    visibility as to what we spend every month. He said he thinks the strategy
    back when was to go after CO 2014 to catch up with some of these projects.
    Councilor Davidson said he knew that there was some engineering done on
    the Quiet Zone and wanted to know if anyone remembered the amount.
    Megan said it was $5,727. The City Manager said we are dealing with a major
    miscoding issue. Councilor Gonzales asked about the Belt Press. The City
    Manager said bags have allowed us to avoid the belt press. He said
    Virgil believes that solution will be steadfast for Alpine. Councilor Gonzales
    said for the Quiet Zone the city was going to do the parking lot at the
    Railroad Depot. The City Manager said concerning the Animal Shelter, we
    had $150,000 budgeted for it and it wound up costing a lot more than that. He
    said there has not been a real line on accountability. He said it was not
    delivered back to the council or articulated in folders. He said it should have
    been but it was not. Quiet Zone bids were discussed. The City Manager said
    all of those qualify as partial bids because the railroad has now come back to
    us and said you have to do this, this and this. He said we really do not have a
    clear scope on what that project looks like under the current application. He
    said as these changes come in, then he believes the residents are going to
    want to know what these changes are because if you take away a side
    street that people are used to traversing on, and they may say they would
    rather listen to the horn toot than lose access to their side street. He said
    these are pieces of the project that were not felt or known early out there. He
    said now as we progress forward we are finding out about them. The side
    streets that would potentially be closed were discussed. It was discussed
    that we do not have any documents for the Quiet Zone. Councilor Castelli
    asked where we would get the money for the quiet zone. The City Manager
    said it is our overall city financial plan and in the next two or three months he
    will be making recommendations to cover things from our health care to
    reserve accounts, and we have to reexamine our liability accounts for the
    deposit. He said it is a matter of taking the budget and seeing how much we
    can drop down to do this project and from the Council’s perspective
    from his timing. He said a lot of expense went to projects that were out lived. He said there was not a clear line of accounting. He said bids were offered to
    construct certain elements of the quiet zone. He said we really do not have a
    clear scope. He said Ivan with the Railroad, will not deal with this unless we
    do away with 2 of the 5 streets. He said for sure we would have to close 7th
    street off as an access. He asked where we would get the money for this
    project. He said money has already been spent. He said we are restructuring
    our liability accounts. He said we will also be giving money to our streets
    and roads. The City Manager said he would report monthly to the Council
    about the program. He located the audit reports for 2011, 2012, 2013 and
    2014. He said a monthly report is in progress. The audited reports from 2011,
    2012, 2013 and 2014 were also discussed. Mayor Rangra asked about a dump
    truck. The City Manager said we could not find a dump truck and he needed
    to see if the dump truck was budgeted for. He said $500,000 was spent out of
    2011 and we need to see where it was spent. Mayor Rangra said in 2011 the
    airport had $633,000 in fuel sales and we spent $659,000 to buy the fuel. The
    City Manager said it was puzzling and we were trying to recreate what
    happened. The City Manager said there was money spent on water and
    sewer system improvements in our annual budget. He said they could have
    coded that against this project. He said it was not coded well. The City
    Manager said there is a huge difference in clarity now and where the
    money is going to come from. He said there were no budget amendments for
    the past four years and not much documentation. Councilor Davidson talked
    about Marathon and their quiet zone which cost them $17,000 because all
    they needed was a median. He said he was wondering if the Railroad really
    intended to close off our streets or whether he was just talking about access.
    The City Manager said his goal was to see what the changes would be on the
    playgrounds and said his goal was to see what the changes would be.
    Councilor Castelli said the new ramp for Amtrak is close to 5th and seventh
    street. He said they are concerned about the social trails. Mayor Rangra said
    concerning the distribution system, normally we spend about $60,000 or
    $70,000. He said in 2010 and 2011 they spent $124,000. The City Manager
    said there was money spent on water system improvements and sewer
    system improvements. He said this was out of our annual budget. He said
    you can look back at that and say “gosh, they could have coded those funds
    against this project”. He said it was not coded that way. The City Manager
    said any time you ask for a dollar amount of any significance and there is a
    large difference of that amount and the amount that you spent, that needs to
    go back before council for clarity. Mayor Rangra said the City Manager looks
    at the checks before they are issued. He asked the City Manager if he found
    any money lost from the previous administration. Councilor Davidson said
    there has not been a budget amendment brought before the council since he
    took office four years ago. He commented on the towing budget of $4,000
    budgeted in 2010/2011 for towing away abandoned vehicles. He said at the
    end of the year it showed $60,000. He said at $150 a pop you could tow every
    car in Alpine for that.
    The City Manager said concerning the Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant, which came into effect in 2010. He said there was a three year time limit of
    completion. He said we obtained a one year extension last July. He said
    there was $804,000 identified in the project that was provided to council in
    their packets. He said 50% had to be reimbursed by a grant employee. He
    said the City was to come up with $402,000 to administrate this grant. He
    said this was a key project was to sell the park equipment to different parks
    as well, along with some other items. He said the park equipment was still
    here from the late 70’s. All of the parks had the same equipment as they had
    back in the 70’s. He said there are other items are like benches and fitness
    stations. He reviewed the budget for the board. He said others are volleyball
    courts and playground renovation. He said there is a list of items. He said
    there are items associated on the list with the trail and the trail head. He said
    the trails associated with Sul Ross and trail heads. The City Manager said we
    had an $804,000 project that $402,000 was coming from the city. He said
    there was no plan on where that $402,000 would come from. He said there
    was not money held out in reserves, there was no loan associated with the
    $402,000 and at the beginning of this project the rhetoric was probably that
    we would find a way to get the money. He said in CO 2011 we had $84,000
    that was identified to go back into the pool. He said the biggest project and
    dollar item was the renovation of the pool. He said it is a big asset for the
    town and it is a huge element for the kids. He said a lot of people have
    learned to swim in that pool. He said CO 2011 was the $84,000 identified but
    that was only 20% of the $402,000. He said we did not create any sort of
    documentation which showed where any of the other $380,000 was
    encumbered. He said this is really more of a case of non-allocation rather
    than misallocation. He said we are still trying to identify performed labor. He
    said with the renovation of some of these trails, we may have used city labor
    for them. He said there is about $100,000 in expenses. He said he does not
    believe that we will be able to categorize anywhere near $100,000. He said he
    feels some of this wording is like the wayfaring signs that give people
    direction. He said we are hoping that we can work with the university on
    accomplishing that piece. He said we had also gone a year without the
    quarterly reports going in. The City Manager said he and the City Attorney
    were in the process of re-establishing the quarterly report. He said we must
    retile the pool. He said we will not be able to reopen the pool without the tile
    being done. He said he will either address this during the 2013/2014 budget
    revisit. He said if not with any of the $100,000 that we can get reimbursed for
    the retile at the pool. He said we have to retile the pool. He said you cannot
    go there with silicone and silicone cracks. He said it will be cracked by the
    end of this year. He said it is just not an approved way to handle this. The
    City Manager said if we get some of our money back we will redirect that to
    the playground equipment fallout. He said we are also working with the high
    school. He said they have a very large barbecue pit. He said we will have to
    address that we cannot find a lot of these. Megan said we are trying to figure
    out some of the expenses that may have been misquoted once again. The
    City Manager said with any future grants that we work with will require personal funding from the city, will require a financial plan. He said this is a
    wonderful outline of items that need to be done. He said we just missed
    allocation dollars to it. Bob Litton said maybe Molly could help him with this
    one. He said he remembered that there was a resolution or ordinance
    authorizing the City Manager to write checks in an amount of $5,000 to
    $15,000 without the approval of the council. Molly said she did not remember
    the amount. Carl Fleming said this was the result of poor city management
    and poor financial direction. He said they did not want new software in this
    city. He said it has been a long hard struggle. He said the council did not ask
    any questions. Jane McKenna said she received a letter from the court that
    she wanted to complain about. She was told that this was not the right time
    in the agenda to discuss this but she could bring this back in Citizens
    comments at the end of the meeting. A reporter from Marfa Public Radio
    asked about the status of the Quiet Zone. She wanted to know if was still a
    project. The City Manager said the funding associated with CO 2011 has
    been spent. He said the Quiet Zone is still a project at city level that we want
    to consider. He said we continue to get feedback from the railroad on
    changes so that it is his responsibility to take that feedback and create a new
    project plan for our city council to review and also share with the
    community. He said it would not be funded out of CO 2011 as we discussed
    earlier. He said it would be funded out of a separate project and that would
    mean a level of discussion with the council. He said we would need to look at
    the design that would give us an opportunity to look at the cost. He said it is
    important for the council to see what the cost is and what additional changes
    need to be made to the plan. Manfred Fritsche said he heard what Bob Litton
    said and he also heard what the city manager said that there was no clear
    line of accounting on this CO 2011. He said over the years he has probably
    listened to about ten audit reports presented by Mr. Skinner and invariably
    the council did not ask a single question and approved the audit. He asked if
    the new City Attorney, since we paid a lot of money for these audits, could
    get some return on our investment by going after Mr. Skinner and asking him
    to pay us back. Mayor Rangra said somebody mentioned the abandoned
    vehicles. He said in 2009/2010 the revenues were $10,000 and the
    expenditures were $65,000 to dispose of the vehicles. He said he would like
    to know where the money was spent and where did it go?

    9. Action Items to be accompanied by a brief statement of facts, including
    where funds are coming from, if applicable. (Action items limited to 15 per
    meeting.)

    10. Citizen’s Comments (limit 3 minutes) – Mayor Rangra said he wanted to
    ask the new attorney about what kind of comments can the citizens say. The
    City Attorney said the citizens can talk about anything they wish up to the
    time limit the council sets. He said under Texas Law and the Open Meetings
    Act no member of the Council can respond or answer a question at this time.
    He said there is a portion which allows the City Manager to make a statement as to current policies but typically we would ask the citizen to ask the city
    manager or city attorney after the meeting is over for more information. He
    said during the meeting, Council should not respond to any questions.
    Councilor Fitzgerald asked if the council could receive information that is not
    on the agenda. The City Attorney said you can do that as long as it is in the
    comment section. He said since the public has not been given notice on a
    subject that may be discussed here, the council cannot comment. Jane
    McKenna said she had a complaint about Municipal Court and the City
    Attorney said he would speak to her about this after the Council meeting.
    Carl Fleming said one item that was missed on the agenda was to discuss
    Naismith Engineering. He said there were also two more instances of graffiti
    on Holland Avenue. He congratulated the four retirees but added that he
    hoped the four retirees had cleared their payroll advances, if any, before they
    left.

    11. Council Member’s Comments and Answers –
    Councilor Bermudez asked for prayer for Cora Muniz’s husband who is very
    ill.
    Councilor Davidson said he agreed with Councilor Bermudez on that and he
    also wanted to thank the employees that have been here for so many years
    and thanked the public for coming out in such great numbers.
    Councilor Fitzgerald – said he liked to see so many citizens here and there
    were intelligent suggestions and questions and he welcomed the new City
    Attorney.
    Councilor Gonzales – said he also welcomed the new city attorney and we
    really need his advice.
    Councilor Castelli – said he thought we were beginning to put the puzzle back
    together and tonight we put two of the four pieces in that puzzle, one was
    bringing in a very capable city attorney to the city and the other one was to
    provide the status on where we are in terms of our finances. He said this was
    for a large part, thanks to Erik.
    Mayor Rangra – said he wanted to express his appreciation to the staff and to
    the four guys who worked so hard for the city for those 95 years. He said again
    he wanted to compliment Erik for the presentation that he made and he hoped
    it answered everyone’s questions. He said he also wanted to welcome the new
    attorney and Megan.
    Motion was made by Councilor Bermudez, by Resolution 2014-01-12, and
    seconded by Councilor Davidson to enter into executive session. Motion
    unanimously carried.

    12. Executive Session – Pursuant to Texas Government Code, Subsection
    551.074, Personnel Matters and Subsection 551.071, Consultation with
    Attorney –
    A. Review Attorney General’s visit with City Manager. (E. Zimmer, CM)

    13. Action – Executive Session –
    A. Any action, if needed, concerning Attorney General visit. (E. Zimmer,
    CM) – No action was taken on this item.

    14. Adjournment– There being no further business, meeting was adjourned.
    I certify that this notice was posted at 5:15 P.M. on January 17th, 2014, pursuant to Texas
    Open Meetings Act. (Texas Vernon’s Annotated Civil statutes, section 551.043 Texas Government
    Code.) This facility is wheelchair accessible and accessible parking space is available. Requests for
    accommodations or interpretive services must be made 48 hours prior to this meeting. Please
    Contact the city secretary’s office at (432) 837-3301 or fax (432) 837-2044 for further information.
    _________________________________________________
    Dr. Avinash Rangra, Mayor
    Attest:
    _______________________________
    Margaret “Molly” Taylor, City Secretary
    I, Margaret “Molly’ Taylor, City Secretary, do certify that this notice was posted at 5:15 P.M. on January
    17th, 2014, and remained so posted continuously for at least 72 hours preceding the scheduled time of
    said meeting.
    Margaret “Molly” Taylor, City Secretary

  • January 7th, 2014 Minutes

    Click Here for print friendly version

    City of Alpine
    Regular City Council Meeting
    January 7th, 2014
    6:00 P.M.
    Minutes

    1. Call to Order, Invocation and Pledge of allegiance to the flag – Mayor Pro
    Tem Davidson called the meeting to Order. Lana Covington with First
    Christian Church gave the invocation. Mayor Pro Tem Davidson led the
    pledge of allegiance to the flags.

    2. Determination of a quorum and proof of notice of the meeting – Mayor Pro
    Tem Davidson, Councilors Bermudez, Fitzgerald, Gonzales and Castelli were
    present. Mayor Rangra was absent. Meeting notice had been posted at
    3:15 P.M. on January 3rd, 2014.

    3. Presentations, recognitions and proclamations –
    A. Proclamation for American Electric Power. (A. Rangra, Mayor) – Fred
    Hernandez and Bart Rosenquist, along with several other AEP
    employees were present to accept the proclamation. Mayor Pro Tem
    Davidson read the proclamation on behalf of Mayor Rangra. He said
    back in November we had some really inclement weather and many
    people were out of power. Mayor Pro Tem Davidson proclaimed this
    week, January 6th through 12th, 2014 as American Electric Power week.
    Fred Hernandez thanked the City for their kind words. He introduced the
    AEP staff members that were with him, Hector Holguin, John Salgado,
    Bart Rosenquist, Eddie Pallenez. Fred discussed the power outages that
    occurred in our area. He said he appreciated the proclamation from
    Mayor Rangra. There was a photo taken of the group and he presented a
    memento to City Hall to remind us of what happened in the ice storm of
    2013.

    4. Reports –
    City Mayor’s Report – None
    City Attorney Report – None
    City Manager Report – The City Manager said he was trying something a
    little different this week. He said what he wanted to do this week was take
    the Council and the Mayor and the Community through the last three
    weeks, from our last council meeting in December. He said one of the
    things we talked about in December was the 180 day plan. He said that is
    an agenda item this evening that we will be covering and what that is doing
    from a city perspective is kind of providing some of the guiding principles
    of what we are focusing on, on the administrative side. He said what we are
    seeing across the city right now is quite a bit of weeds and brush around
    the dumpsters. He said a byproduct of the ice storm was the weeds, not
    necessarily the weeds, but the brush and the limbs. He said we offered to
    the community to come kind of do that one time pickup. He said what we
    are also seeing is quite a bit of residual issues around the city. He said
    what he has asked our public works department to do in association with
    our code enforcement team is to go out there and start cleaning that up in
    our slower time of the year. He said what he wants to emphasize is that we
    do not want to set a precedent as far as people trimming their bushes and
    cutting things and leaving them by the dumpster. He said that is why we
    have this week and next week and the week after with our bulky pickup. HeF
    said with that being said, we are not naïve and we understand that there is
    some visual challenges out there, some areas that just need to be given a
    little additional attention. He said we did issue a citation to an individual for
    illegal dumping so as people are communicating to us what is going on in
    the community, we are able to identify some of the individuals and we do
    issue them a bond for illegal dumping. He said concerning our
    Recycle/Keep Alpine Beautiful Team. He said this week and the next two
    weeks are bulky item pickup. He said we advertise that through our gas
    bills and we also do quite a bit of local media and radio advertising. He said
    we think this is a very important element to keeping Alpine clean and want
    to make sure that the residents are very aware of this sequence and cycle
    as well as the responsibilities. He said next week will be our electronics
    recycling week. He said that will occur, at the old fire department, on 8th
    and Avenue E. He said last year they used the bays on the North side
    which is on the one way street on Avenue E and this year we asked to use
    the bays on the East side of the building. He said we felt that was a little
    safer for the residents as they drop items off. He said anybody who has
    parked at One Way Nursery or last year parked at the electronics recycling
    know that can get a little busy with semi trucks coming along Avenue E. He
    said Martha Latta shared with him this morning that she is still short on
    volunteers. He said anyone in the community who would like to volunteer
    some hours, please work with Martha Latta on that. He said if you do not
    have her number, please feel free to call City Hall and they will get you in
    touch with her. He said concerning finance matters, kind of near and dear
    to our team right now. He said the CO 2011 series and our parks grant are
    our biggest two items that we are focusing on. He said working on actually
    having a clear understanding of the spending related to those two items by
    the end of this week our goal would be to get that on the January 21st
    agenda for the City Council. He said we are also addressing the 2014
    budget revisit as was committed to the council and outlined in the 180 day
    plan, we are on target to have that revisit complete by the end of January
    which will allow us to meet the first meeting in February to review that. He
    said then gain subsequent council approval or renegotiation. He said we
    continue on the financial side to track our cash flow for debt obligations
    that are due in March. He said our ad valorem tax is giving us a big boost in

    revenue. He said January is our high revenue time of the year. He said we
    still continue to feel very comfortable that we will make those larger debt
    obligation payments in March. He said one of the things on the financial
    side that he is targeting is a more detailed reporting on our income
    statements and our budget variance reports. He said starting in February
    that will happen during the second of our Council meetings. He said from a
    visibility perspective it is important to see how our enterprise units are
    doing. He said all of our department heads are also starting their budget
    variance reporting and what that is, is each department head is responsible
    for every line item on their individual budget, both expense and revenue.
    He said on the first of the month they are given a report that shows where
    they are at, accumulated year to date for this fiscal year. He said with any
    variances, they are required to report back to the City Manager, on the
    variance and what they are going to do to get within budget. He said that
    will be available to the council on the second of every month as well, for
    the council’s visibility. He said he thinks it is no secret that the finance
    matters are near and dear to all of us. He said that is one of his strengths
    and some of these different building blocks are important on tinthe
    administrative side so that we can get very clear moving forward. He said
    asset tagging initiative is working with every department right now to
    identify every capital asset that each department has. He said historically
    they have not been tagged. He said he believes from a city perspective we
    need to understand a cost basis on each asset, what we depreciated on it
    and what our current value is. He said we also need to tag every asset so
    that as we do our annual audit we have a clear representation from a
    department perspective on what we own. He said the other thing that
    happens is annually as we have capital requests from the departments, it is
    important, from his perspective, to go back and understand what they have
    before they ask for more. He said the reason he brings that up is he has
    been touring through the city and looking at different departments, going
    out, looking at the parks, looking at our maintenance warehouses and he
    has come across a lot of what he would categorize as new equipment still
    in boxes. He said he is questioning why these assets were bought and the
    functionality of them. He said with that being said, all new assets obviously
    have to go through the city manager. He said we need to tag them and we
    need to understand them and utilize them. He said along with that we have
    many retired assets that are sitting on our property if you go look at our
    maintenance warehouse or if you go look at Hal Flanders Recycling Center,
    you will see a lot of just old abandoned assets. He said the ones that are
    constructed of steel and metal still have financial value to the city. He said
    each department head is putting together the list of every one of these non-
    functioning assets and then in February we will start looking at different
    places that will purchase them from us with the goal of completion by
    March. He said it just pains him to see an old car or old vehicle just sit on a
    lot and waste away, when there is financial value to those assets that we
    could be using today. He said if we are going to abandon it and not use it

    again we need to basically retire it and sell it off and use the money while
    we still have the greatest value of that asset. He said we are also in the
    midst of reviewing every contract for services in excess of $2,000 annually.
    He said number one ensuring that we have contracts for these services
    and number two ensuring that they are current and then number three,
    ensuring if we need a rebid to get better service or better price. He said that
    will do that. He said effective today, working with Naismith, who is our
    chief engineering firm, he has asked them to halt every work item that they
    are doing on behalf of the City of Alpine until they are given further
    instruction to move forward. He said what he is seeing happening in our
    budget is that we have what he categorizes as a lot of stranded engineering
    expense. He said if you engineer a project, and you do not build a project,
    from a gap perspective you cannot capitalize those engineering dollars. He
    said you have to expense them. He said what he is seeing happening a lot
    in the last twelve months is we are going out and we are engineering
    projects and then we are not completing the projects so we have to
    expense those dollars. He said he has asked Grant Jackson and his team
    to stop everything effective immediately until they get approval from him.
    He said all new work requests will come through the City Manager. He said
    most of them are authorized by the City Council. He said we are putting
    some definite structure in place on that. He said we have also this last
    week started an audit of the hotel fund usage. He said what we are finding
    is that we are giving the entities the requirements of utilization, like this
    last year in July, as people submitted their applications, but the
    requirements around utilization is not always translating into proper
    invoicing coming back to the city. He said this week for example he had to
    deny an invoice reimbursement because it did not fall within the guidelines
    of what we have set out. He said Stewart Ramser who is our tourism
    director, is working with us on this audit. He said there will be a meeting in
    February where we will be very clear with the people looking to tap into
    that hotel fund of the requirements and the adherence to those
    requirements. He said concerning technology, what we have opted to do is
    go ahead and build the website internally. He said we do have a couple of
    resources on city staff that are capable of building the website. He said we
    are using word press. He said the goal of the 180 day plan is to have the
    new website built and functional by the end of January. He said he feels
    very comfortable at this point that we will meet that expectation and at that
    point we will migrate the existing domain name to the new website. He said
    word press allows us to integrate a lot of neat widgets and a lot of video.
    He said the City of Alpine has produced tremendous amounts of video and
    pictures over the years but we have just not done a good job of
    demonstrating that. He said we also need a tool that is easy to update so
    when we hire a new City Attorney, we get their name updated. He said
    when we are doing a bulky items recycle program we get that updated. He
    said when we have an ice storm that requires us to ask the residents in
    Sunny Glen to minimize water usage, we need to update that immediately

    on the website. He said he feels very comfortable that by the end of this
    month, we will be able to do that. He said we are also working with Big
    Bend Telephone on communications planning. He said he has had the
    fortunate opportunity to meet the new CIO at Sul Ross State University. He
    said he is also working on a plan for advanced business products. He said
    he does know Rusty Moore who is the COO at Big Bend Telephone and he
    has asked him to consider deploying word band services. He said as
    committed we will stay within our existing spend on our budget but right
    now we are spending a lot of money on voice lines, when we need to
    redirect that more to Ethernet based products that will allow us to have a
    more robust wifi connectivity at some of our city facilities, as well as do
    business from a city administrative perspective. He said the main thing that
    Big Bend Telephone is doing right now is they have procured conduit
    space to build a redundant route out of Alpine and so as many of you have
    experienced over the years, if AT&T gets cut, you are isolated. He said now
    with Big Bend Telephone building a redundant route, he is going to have
    two ways to get out of the town so if one gets cut, he can fall over to the
    second. He said he thinks it is important that the larger entities in the town
    of Alpine work and at least give them a shot at business because they are
    doing things to enhance the stability in infrastructure again. He said
    concerning the fire department and law enforcement, we have had several
    fires, interestingly enough, several fires over the last couple of weeks. He
    said we had one yesterday, across from the elementary school. He said it
    was contained very quickly. He said fortunately, no one has been hurt. He
    said that is our number one concern. Also he said around New Year’s,
    Chief Scown had shared with us that we had no major incidents around
    New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day so that is a positive. He said
    concerning Public Works, we are mapping out our road priorities for 2014.
    He said he brings this up now because he knows a lot of our councilor’s
    and a lot of the constituents in the community have ideas and thoughts
    around which roads are the worst out there. He said there are more than we
    will be able to do in one year. He said the AG will come and meet with him
    on the 16th of this month. He said he knows that the Council wanted him to
    attend our January 21st meeting. He said he unfortunately is not able to
    attend. He said he did say he would come on the 16th of this month. He said
    his goal is to accept the response from him and at a minimum allow him to
    meet with the AG. He said he has asked the AG and Texas Ranger to put
    some structure around the remaining requests from them. He said he
    thinks we get requests around payroll advances and what has been paid
    back. He said we are delivering that to the AG office. He said as well as
    they are looking at the CO 2011 series. He said those are the two remaining
    items and once they get all the answers back from our City staff, then they
    will move to the next steps. Councilor Davidson asked if the City Manager
    thought there would be any value to the City Council if they wanted to sit in
    and call a special meeting just to ask questions. Councilor Fitzgerald said
    he would kind of like to hear what the AG had to say and where we stand.

    He said it could say on the agenda, no action taken, but for informational
    purposes only. Councilor Fitzgerald said it never hurts to sit in and listen,
    anyway. The City Manager said he felt that would be healthy. He said in fact
    his request to the AG on coming on the 21st so he could address the
    council. He said he thinks it would be healthy. Councilor Bermudez asked if
    he was coming for sure. The City Manager said the AG committed today
    that he could come on the 16th. He said he just has to respond to him since
    that message came to him about 3:00 this afternoon. Councilor Gonzales
    said he would like to ask a couple of questions about the information and
    technology and everything. He said he would like to point out that not
    everybody is computer savvy here. He said he has talked about this before.
    He asked if the City Manager thought we could get an LED sign where we
    have our sign out there telling people these things because we have a lot
    of people that go to the post office or come to the city to pay bills. He said
    if we could display that information on one of those boards it would also
    help to get the news out. He said it could inform the citizens to limit their
    water use and so on, fireworks are not allowed, burn bans extreme this
    week, etc. He said he thought it would be worthwhile to spend the money
    to get one of these. The City Manager said the Department of
    Transportation has signs that they hang over interstates. He said they are
    very helpful and this is the same concept. He said it would be more
    localized for us. He said it would be easy to manage internally. Councilor
    Castelli said he thought that was a terrific presentation and a lot of
    Information. He said he appreciated that and it was wonderful. Bryon
    Garrison said he had a question about the web site. He asked if the city
    thought it would be secure enough to use the word press. He asked if it
    had things that could be added on to it to provide security. The City
    Manager said absolutely. He said word press is the most widely used
    Platform. He said it has the most code writers, writing code for widgets. He
    said widgets can include usage and security. He said we will host it
    ourselves so the security elements we will add on will be related to the
    hosting of the website.
    City Staff Updates – City Manager Zimmer said it was his intention to try to
    cover every bit of that for their staff. He said if there is something major
    that he needs them to add color then he will ask them to attend. He said we
    are good there.
    Deborah Pattison, Interim Finance Director – Financial Report
    Robert Polanco, Code Enforcement
    Judge Schlosser, Municipal Judge
    Russell Scown, Chief of Police
    Virgil Clark, Interim Utilities Director
    Randy Guzman, Gas Department Manager
    Martha Latta, Recycling Coordinator
    Hector Ramirez, Director of Public Works
    Johnny Galvan, Airport Manager

    5. Citizens Comments (on agenda items) –
    Manfred Fritsche – said he lives in Ward 1. He said he paid his City property
    taxes. He said the reason he is up here is because he wants to make a
    comment on the public hearing, the next item on the agenda. He said he was
    hoping that the proponent of that particular ordinance would give a
    presentation on the purpose and the reason for that ordinance before a
    public comment is invited from the public. He said he does not know whether
    the City Manager is listed as the sponsor of this particular agenda item
    whether he can address questions, the purpose, the reason why, etc. The City
    Manager said there are two critical reasons why we want to move into this
    environment. He said number one when someone is speeding through town
    and they get a ticket, it allows them to pay that ticket on line and then number
    2, by partnering with OMNI, what we are doing is we are notifying the rest of
    the state that this person has an outstanding ticket if they do not pay it. He
    said by doing that, if they need to go and get a license again, and say they
    live in San Angelo, they will be notified and probably denied in renewing their
    license. He said the system ties into that as well. He said he would also say
    that long term what we are looking at is allowing constituents to pay their
    water and gas bills online. He said this is one of the few communities out
    there that does not allow for that type of payment. He said this provides us
    for a learning process to be able to institute that. Councilor Davidson said we
    are upping our game about enforcing these and getting the money in and the
    other side of that coin is to make it easy to go on line and put in that credit
    card and take care of it. The City Manager said if you are standing in San
    Angelo and waiting to get your driver’s license and you have an outstanding
    ticket in Alpine, you can go on line right then and pay for it and they can see
    it and they will release it and then they can get their license. He said instead
    of them having to mail a check in and wait for 3 – 5 days and then
    confirmation back.
    Carl Fleming – said the only problem he has with the public hearing is the
    city establishing a fee for providing information on the internet to recover
    costs. He said he understands that we are contracting with a vendor. He said
    he hopes that these fees would be kept to a minimum rather than escalating
    over time. He said there are a lot of folks who pay a ticket and may not have
    the funds to pay it with. The City Manager said you do not have to pay on line.
    He said you can still write a check and put a stamp on it or you can still come
    in to pay in person. He said secondly from a fee structure, we are using
    standard Visa, Master Card charge fees, which are usually between 1 ½ to
    2%. He said that would mirror something you would do for pay pal or any
    other transaction on the internet. He said our idea is not to make any money
    on that. He said our idea is to provide it as a pass through cost to the person
    using the service. Carl said we need to make it known to the citizens of the
    town how much they will pay.
    Sheila Ness – asked why the agenda could not be on the website. She said
    she would like to be able to look things up on the internet. The City Secretary
    said she sent it to Nectar but did not check to see if they did it or not. Mayor
    Pro Tem Davidson said he was with her 100% on that. He said apparently we
    are coming to an end of this solution and according to the City Manager, by
    the end of the month we will have our own website that is not hopelessly
    outdated with old codes that there is not anything out there compatible with.
    Councilor Castelli said Mike Perry is good about posting it if it is not on our
    website. Mayor Pro Tem Davidson said the City Website will be up to speed
    very shortly. He said it also irritates him to no end.

    6. Public Hearings –
    A. Public Hearing in order to obtain questions and comments concerning
    Ordinance 2013-12-01, an Ordinance of the City of Alpine, Brewster
    County, Texas, authorizing the collection of fees, fines, court costs and
    other charges by credit card or by electronic processing; establishing a
    fee for processing payments by credit card; providing for a service fee
    for a credit card that is not honored by the credit card company on which
    the funds are drawn; providing for authority to contract with a company
    that issues credit cards to collect and seize credit cards issued by the
    company that are out dated or otherwise unauthorized and a fee for
    return credit cards; establishing authority for access to public
    information and services through the internet; establishing a fee for
    providing information through the internet to recover costs; and
    authorization to contract with a vendor to provide services and
    collection of payments through the internet on behalf of the City of
    Alpine. (E. Zimmer, CM) – Manfred Fritsche said he lived in Ward One. He
    said when he read the notice of Public Hearing on that in the local
    newspaper, it was of interest to him because he has some experience.
    He said from 1979 to 1985, he worked for the City of El Paso in the
    Municipal Court department. He said he realizes that laws have changed
    and technology has changed but when he counted up the number of fees
    and processing payment by credit cards, fee for card not honored,
    authority to contract, it struck him as an overreach. He said then he
    looked in the budget summary for fiscal year 2012/2013/2014 and he sees
    where the municipal court department in fiscal 2012 and 2013 had a total
    revenue intake of $12,750. He said they expended $78,150 for a deficit of
    $65,400. He said that was last year. He said projected for this year
    2013/2014 the revenue they expect to raise is $28,530, spend $79,000 for
    a deficit of $50,470. It said it struck him that the City Manager made a
    point that this would enable out of towner’s to make payments over the
    internet which is valid but he would argue that there are so few out of
    towner’s and then in this particular situation the entire Ordinance strikes
    him as a tremendous overreach for a pitiful amount of revenue and he
    would ask Council to weigh that as they consider adopting this
    ordinance.

    7. Consent Agenda- (Minutes, Financial reports, Department written reports,
    board appointments, etc.) –
    A. Discuss and Consider approval of the minutes of November 5th, 12th and
    18th, 2013. (A. Rangra, Mayor) –
    B. Approve accounts payable. (E. Zimmer, CM)
    Councilor Castelli requested that Accounts Payable be pulled out.
    Councilor Fitzgerald made a motion by Resolution 2014-01-02, to approve
    the minutes of November 5th, 12th and 18th, 2013. Motion was seconded by
    Councilor Gonzales. Motion unanimously carried.

    8. Information or Discussion items – None

    Action Items to be accompanied by a brief statement of facts, including
    where funds are coming from, if applicable. (Action items limited to 15 per
    meeting.) –
    7B. Approve Accounts payable. – Councilor Castelli said he did not know that
    the City Manager was going to put on his report about cutting off Naismith
    from further advising of projects. He said his question is about the $23,814
    bill that we have from Naismith that he does not recall as a Council person
    approving additional work, since he has been a Councilor. He said he knew
    they came in six weeks ago and made a presentation about some EDAP
    projects, but he does not recall the council ever voting to pursue those
    projects. He said he would like to pull this out and get actual confirmation of
    when the council authorized these funds to be spent for engineering work. He
    said almost $24,000 is a significant amount. He said he would propose that
    we pull that out of the report and approve the rest. Councilor Davidson said
    he believes that goes back a good while to that EDAP project and that the
    EDAP project was presented and approved by the Council. He said it is
    implied that these are engineering costs. He said that is just a recollection
    and he is sure the minutes will reflect that. Councilor Castelli said he did not
    have any prior knowledge of it. Mayor Pro Tem Davidson said he believed the
    approval was a couple of years ago so it might have been before Councilor
    Castelli was on the Council. He said it was part of the general EDAP program
    for our sewer problems and it was an economic distressed area project. He
    said and then there was an East Side Interceptor project that did not qualify
    for that particular program. Councilor Castelli said a couple of years ago, we
    authorized this and we are just now getting a bill for it? Or if that work had
    been done we would have been billed a couple of years ago. He asked if we
    were getting billed again for something that maybe we paid a couple of years
    ago. He said he would like that information. He said if this was approved two
    years ago, before he was on the council, any engineering firm as they bill
    billable hours, would send the bill. He said if we are two years late in paying
    this there would be an associated late fee. Councilor Castelli made a motion,
    by Resolution 2014-01-03, to approve accounts payable minus the above
    referenced bill. Motion was seconded by Councilor Fitzgerald. The City
    Manager said we could have the information by the next meeting. He said it
    will not hurt to not pay that one. Mayor Pro Tem Davidson said they are
    preaching to the choir when they talk about Naismith. Councilor Gonzales
    told Councilor Castelli that he suggested he find out about this first before
    making a decision. Councilor Castelli said that is why he is finding out.
    Motion carried unanimously.

    9. Discuss and Consider approving second and final reading of Ordinance
    2013-12-01, concerning approval of on-line credit card payment
    Processing through Traffic Payment.com, LLC for the collection of
    Municipal Court revenues. (E. Zimmer, CM) – Motion was made by
    Councilor Gonzales to approve this ordinance, by Resolution 2014-01-04.
    Motion was seconded by Councilor Castelli. Councilor Gonzales said he
    would just like to point out that even though it might not be a lot of money,
    it is moving in the right direction in the sense that if we do get somebody
    that is out of town and we do give them a ticket, they do have the
    capability of paying it and plus we are able to use a credit card here locally
    so whatever they want to pay, whether it be utilities or permits, fees or
    anything like that, we can make it happen. Councilor Fitzgerald said the
    credit card payments have been around for a while. Mayor Pro Tem
    Davidson said we will drag ourselves kicking and screaming into the
    1990’s! Councilor Castelli said just like the City Manager, who we are
    giving the tools and we respect the work that he is doing. He said we also
    have a Municipal Judge that has asked for this and has brought it up and it
    has come to our attention. He said she feels it is very important to bring
    her court into this century and maybe the next one. He said based on her
    recommendation and her request it is surprising that we are doing this at
    this point, but we are finally doing it, and he supports it and thinks it is
    very reasonable. Councilor Davidson said we have been over this a couple
    of times. He said we have had the Judge come to us and we have had an
    auditor over at the Municipal Court to try to get our finances together and
    it is not that we use fines and other unfortunate activites to raise money
    for the city but we do have to maintain a municipal court and we need to
    make it run as efficiently as possible. Motion carried unanimously

    10. Discuss and Consider approving Lease Covering Use of Railroad Property
    at Alpine, Texas to allow the City to use right of way on the north side and
    south side of the tracks in between Lackey and Cockrell streets for non-
    exclusive roadway use and abatement of vegetation and trash. (E. Zimmer,
    CM) – City Manager Zimmer said we are presently using the south side of
    the tracks currently and we plan to expand that to the North Side as well.
    He said this is a pretty basic lease. He said the lease was not signed by
    last August. He said this was a piece of property that the railroad was not
    cleaning up. He said at one point the prisoners from the jail cleaned it up.
    Motion was made by Councilor Bermudez, by Resolution 2014-01-05, to
    approve the lease covering use of Railroad property at Alpine, Texas to
    allow the City to use right of way on the north side and south side of the
    tracks in between Lackey and Cockrell streets for non-exclusive roadway
    use and abatement of vegetation and trash. Motion was seconded by
    Councilor Fitzgerald. Councilors Bermudez, Davidson, Fitzgerald and
    Gonzales voted in favor. Councilor Castelli voted against. Motion
    carried.

    11. Discuss and Consider invoicing Paragon Corporation for problems due to
    a bore through alleyway, experienced at Holland Avenue property, in the
    amount of $7,739.49. (E. Zimmer, CM) – City Manager Zimmer said that
    Paragon has stated that they called for locates with an 811 request and if
    so the city would be liable for this expense. He said new gas lines were
    being put in and they went right through a sewer line. He said if Paragon
    does not provide a valid 811 request report, we will pursue this. Councilor
    Fitzgerald said that Joey DeHart has an 811 request and he can prove that.
    Motion was made by Councilor Castelli to postpone this item until the first
    meeting in February. Motion was seconded by Councilor Fitzgerald.
    Motion carried unanimously.

    12. Discuss and Consider rental of additional tables and chairs for events at
    the Civic Center to help defray purchase costs. (E. Zimmer, CM) – The
    invoice for these tables was $16,487. The City Manager said setting a
    rental fee for the use of these extra tables would help to defray purchase
    costs. He said approval to purchase 20 more tables and carts occurred on
    October 1, 2013. He said there was a second purchase approved in the
    amount of $5,000. He said there was some discussion but we have still not
    approved rental rate. He said we do need to establish a rental rate. He said
    the other option was to increase the hourly rental rate of the civic center
    and allow them to use our tables if they need them. He said we used
    hotel/motel funds to purchase these for the civic center. It was discussed
    that the Country Club did not charge rental fees and that citizens could not
    afford the higher rental rates. Motion was made by Councilor Fitzgerald, by
    Resolution 2014-01-06 to keep the Civic Center rental fees the same and
    to not charge rental fees for the tables or chairs. Motion was seconded by
    Councilor Bermudez. Councilors Bermudez, Davidson, Fitzgerald and
    Gonzales voted in favor. Councilor Castelli voted against. Motion carried.

    13. Discuss and Consider installing emergency shut-off valve for gas
    department. (E. Zimmer, CM) – The City Manager said according to the
    plumbing code, an exterior shut off valve is required. He said this
    necessitates the builder or home owner to hire a local plumber to do the
    job and we have to make sure that it is there. He said this device is exterior
    to the property. He said the cost would be about $60 to $75 for labor and
    materials. He said what was supposed to be proposed was a $20 fee to
    cover our accounts to install these. He said we need to add this fee to the
    fee schedule. Motion was made by Councilor Fitzgerald, by Resolution
    2014-01-07 to approve installing an emergency shut-off valve for the gas
    department as part of the fee schedule. Motion was seconded by
    Councilor Gonzales. Motion carried unanimously.

    14. Discuss and Consider rescheduling workshop date with Hill Country
    Software to help Council members understand how the software works.
    (A. Bermudez) – Motion was made by Councilor Bermudez, by Resolution
    2014-01-08, to schedule the workshop date with Hill Country Software to
    help Council members understand how the software works for the 22nd day
    of January, with the backup date being January 24th. Motion was
    seconded by Councilor Gonzales. Motion unanimously carried.

    15. Discuss and Consider approval of the 180 day plan for the City Manager.
    (E. Zimmer, CM) – The City Manager Erik Zimmer said he would gather
    input and feedback from this. He said he would like the council to
    familiarize themselves with it. He presented his 180 day plan to the Council
    for their consideration. Motion was made by Councilor Fitzgerald, by
    Resolution 2014-01-09 to accept the 180 day plan. He said the plan was well
    planned and well researched. Motion was seconded by Councilor
    Bermudez. Motion unanimously carried.

    16. Citizen’s Comments (limit 3 minutes) –
    Carl Fleming – asked what the status of the lawsuit was with our former
    City Attorney. He also asked about the payroll loans.

    17. Council Member’s Comments and Answers –
    Councilor Castelli – said this was a good meeting and he was optimistic.
    Councilor Gonzales – said he liked the 180 day plan
    Councilor Fitzgerald – said he had sat on the council for 2 and ½ years and
    this was the first time he was reminded of being in a corporate board
    meeting
    Councilor Davidson – said he invited Mr. Fleming to email him
    Councilor Bermudez – said she believed this had been a very good meeting
    Motion was made by Councilor Gonzales and seconded by Councilor
    Bermudez to enter into executive session. Motion unanimously carried.

    18. Executive Session – Pursuant to Texas Government Code, Subsection
    551.071, Consultation with Attorney, Subsection 551.074, Personnel
    Matters-
    A. Consider Grievance Appeal Hearing for ViCindy Barnett. (E. Zimmer, CM)
    B. Consider reviewing applications and hiring new City Attorney for City of
    Alpine. (E. Zimmer, CM)
    C. Consider reviewing applications and recommendation from City Manager
    concerning Finance Director position. (E. Zimmer, CM)

    19. Action Executive Session – Pursuant to Texas Government Code,
    Subsection 551.071, Consultation with Attorney, Subsection 551.074,
    Personnel Matters –
    A. Action, if any, concerning Grievance Appeal Hearing for ViCindy Barnett.
    (E. Zimmer, CM) – Motion was made by Councilor Bermudez and
    seconded by Councilor Fitzgerald to take no action since Ms. Barnett did
    not appear. Motion unanimously carried.
    B. Action, if any, concerning the hiring of a new City Attorney for the City of
    Alpine. (E. Zimmer, CM) – Motion was made by Councilor Fitzgerald, by
    Resolution 2014-01-10, to hire the McKamie law firm for our City Attorney
    for the City of Alpine. Motion was seconded by Councilor Gonzales.
    Motion unanimously carried.
    C. Action, if any, concerning the hiring of a finance director upon
    recommendation of City Manager. (E. Zimmer, CM) – Motion was made by
    Councilor Bermudez to give the City Manager full authority and
    confidence to hire the finance director, by Resolution 2014-01-11. Motion
    was seconded by Councilor Fitzgerald. Motion unanimously carried.

    20. Adjournment. – There being no further business or action, meeting was
    Adjourned.

    I certify that this notice was posted at 3:15 P.M. on January 3rd, 2014, pursuant to Texas
    Open Meetings Act. (Texas Vernon’s Annotated Civil statutes, section 551.043 Texas Government
    Code.) This facility is wheelchair accessible and accessible parking space is available. Requests for
    accommodations or interpretive services must be made 48 hours prior to this meeting. Please
    Contact the city secretary’s office at (432) 837-3301 or fax (432) 837-2044 for further information.
    _________________________________________________
    Dr. Avinash Rangra, Mayor
    Attest:
    _______________________________
    Margaret “Molly” Taylor, City Secretary
    I, Margaret “Molly’ Taylor, City Secretary, do certify that this notice was posted at 3:15 P.M. on January
    3rd, 2014, and remained so posted continuously for at least 72 hours preceding the scheduled time of
    said meeting.
    Margaret “Molly” Taylor, City Secretary

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