City Manager's Blog

FY 2015-16 Budget Schedule

August 4, 2015
Dear Citizens,

I wanted to share with the community our target dates for budget hearings, approvals, etc…

We do have our second budget hearing later this afternoon and the remainder of target dates are as follows:

August 18th – Public Hearing #1 on Tax Rate and Budget Hearing (during regular City Council Meeting)
August 25th – 5:30p – Public Hearing #2 on Tax Rate (this would be a Special Meeting)
September 1st – 5p – Approval of Tax Revenue (Special Meeting) – Adjourn 5:30p – Adoption of Tax rate, establishment of I&S dollars and Budget Approval at Regular City Council meeting.
These dates are subject to change, but we want to get the information out in order to allow as many people to attend as have interest.

We have also posted the Proposed Budget on the front page of our website.

Thank you and have a wonderful day here in Alpine!

Erik Zimmer, City Manager

HOT Funding Applications

July 31, 2015
Dear Citizens,

The City Staff posted the FY2015-16 Proposed Budget yesterday and have scheduled a second budget workshop to be held next Tuesday August 4th at 3:30pm in Council Chambers.

Parallel to this process, we wanted to post the applications for HOT fund requests for FY2015-16. We are requesting that all applications be filled out and submitted by August 31, 2015. Our review committee will be assimilating those requests and providing a recommendation to Council for HOT fund usage during the month of September.

Please feel free to call our offices with any questions or needed dialogue.

Cheers and have a great weekend!

Erik Zimmer, City Manager

High Weeds and Vegetation

July 14, 2015
Citizens of Alpine,

Our community has been blessed this year with tremendous rainfall. In fact, we have received a little over 11.71 inches of precipitation in 2015. The area typically averages 15.4 inches of precipitation annually, so we are well on a pace to exceed the average.

Along with the increased levels of moisture come more aggressive growth of vegetation and weeds. One of the challenges our Code Enforcement officer continues to face is the communication back to property owners to help keep their weeds down and yards maintained. Not only does this help present a better aesthetic appeal, it also helps cut down on wild animal and reptile nesting, plus assists with fire prevention.

One of the common questions that presents itself at City Hall is the responsibility of the parkways and roadways adjacent to homes and businesses. The specific Ordinance that Alpine has adopted is 54-203 and can be found on our City Website ( Within that section, our governing body has outlined that: ‘A person has committed an offense if the person owns, occupies, or controls any real property and fails to maintain the parkway adjacent to the property free of weeds and grass that exceed an average of 12 inches in height.” The City does not maintain a staff that mows parkways adjacent to personal and commercial property, rather has enacted ordinance and tax structure to allow for property owners to maintain their own and keep the tax levels down.

We ask that all property owners and citizens take the time to review the ordinance and help to improve the aesthetics and safety in the community by adhering to the adopted law.

Thank you and please feel free to reach out to City staff or your elected representative for further dialogue on this topic.

Have a great rest of the week,

Erik Zimmer, City Manager

City Elections

May 1, 2015
Citizens of Alpine,

Our City is currently holding their annual city elections. This year, the elected Council positions for Wards 1, 3 and 5 are up for consideration. During even numbered years, the Mayor position and Ward 2 and 4 Council positions are contemplated.

Early voting started this week, Monday April 27th and will run through Tuesday May 5th. The general date of election will be next Saturday, May 9th.

I have the opportunity to work with all the elected officials on a weekly basis and find the vocation of City Manager to be very rewarding. It is through engagement in the community that one can begin to make difference in shaping the future. National and State politics can feel distanced from ones perspective, but it is at the local level that you begin to feel empowered and capable of creating redirection.

Eric Liu gave a talk on Tedx Talks last August that inspired me and helped better articulate why citizens should get engaged at the local level. I’ve attached the video for easy access.

If you live in Ward’s 1 or 3, I encourage you to come out and vote this cycle (Ward 5 is not being contested). Early voting continues today through 5pm and on Monday (8a-5p) and Tuesday (until 7p). The general election date is next Saturday May 9th from 7am to 7pm.

Shortly after the new Council is in place, selection and re-selection of Boards and Commissions supporting the City will commence. If you have 8-10 hours a month to volunteer to our community, I encourage you to reach out to your Council person and express an interest.

Thank you all for your commitment to our community and support of Alpine and Brewster County. We certainly have momentum on our side and an inspiring backdrop for action.

Erik Zimmer, City Manager

Recognition Of Our City’s Students

April 10, 2015
Dear Residents,

This past City Council meeting (April 7, 2015) gave our City the chance to recognize the students in Alpine Independent School District that qualified for state level competition in: Science, History and Robotics. It’s extremely important for our community to congratulate the youth on their academic accomplishments.

For those of you who were not able to attend, here’s a recap of the honorees:

High School History Fair

Senior Individual Documentary
Marco Mata: Blais-ing Through the Principles of Physics: Leadership and Legacy of Blaise Pascal – Alpine High School

Senior Individual Exhibit

Grace Jahn: Samuel Colt: Firing a Mark on History – Alpine High School

Sammy Villarreal: Stan Lee: Comics Through the Ages – Alpine High School

Middle School History Fair

Individual Exhibit

Dalee Sullivan: Caligula: 2,400 Days of Terror

Group Documentary
Italia Anaya and Skye Valenzuela: The Queen that Betrayed her Country: Marie Anttoinete

Amelia Zimmer, Brady Crump, Danni Akers and Blake Billings: George Washington: Leading the Revolutionary War

Group Interpretive Website
Kaleb Crump, Tristin Zimmer, Isayah Martinez: Why People Come to Alpine, TX

Gabby Garcia, Katelyn Lilley, and Marie Muniz: The Legacies of a Few Government Officials

Individual Historical Paper
Macy Moslbee: General L. Bulis: Whirlwind of the West

Riley Spencer: From Island…To Dreaded Island

Middle School Robotics

Group Invention
Angeline De Guia, Cheyenne Rondeaux, Dominic Smith, and Hunter Ynostrosa: CycleBot: Making everyday Recycling Easier

Middle School Science

Individual Project Entry
Tristin Zimmer: Riding On The Sky – Hovercraft

Nayeli Soto: Burn Food Burn

Sydney Anderson: Doggy Oral Hygiene

The City appreciates the hard work displayed by all the students and the support that comes from their parents, teachers and administrators.

Have a great weekend,

Erik Zimmer, City Manager

City of Alpine Streets

April 2, 2015

Dear City of Alpine,

As we all are keenly aware, many of the roads in Alpine have seen their better days. Driving through town, one can not help but notice the condition of the roads and the many potholes that have developed.

It’s easy to blame the recent run of bad weather (continuous rain, ice, etc…) and that certainly plays a part in the breakdown of our roads. Asphalt, whether a hot-mix or a chip seal, does not like water to get beneath it.

We also have numerous repairs to our water, sewer and gas infrastructure that require us to cut through the asphalt and create disruption and heightened opportunities for potholes.
The critical piece of the puzzle that city staff has been compiling recently is a thorough understanding of: the lifespan of roads, rehabilitation intervals, maintenance intervals, equipment needed, staff needed and pothole remediation. I will have an agenda item at this upcoming City Council meeting to discuss the findings and hopefully encourage some robust dialogue on remediation planning. I encourage our citizens to attend and listen/participate as you feel inclined.

We will also post the presentation to this very important topic on our City of Alpine website after the meeting.

Roads and Buildings are two of our most important assets that the City owns. How we invest in and maintain them over a period of time is critical. Because Alpine is such a ‘walkable’ town, we also want to ensure the avenues are in good function for vehicle, foot and bike traffic.

Thanks for the continued comments and calls in to City Hall. We look forward to seeing some of you at our April 7th City Council meeting.

Erik Zimmer, City Manager

Airport Update

February 26, 2015

City of Alpine,
Lots has happened since the turn of the calendar year with the City of Alpine. The inclement weather has provided quite a bit of extra work for our teams and helped further identify some needs throughout the City.

We’ve also been working diligently with TxDOT Aviation to identify and gain visibility to much needed taxiway and apron improvements for the City’s asset. Some of you have been out there and seen the widening cracks along one of our taxiways as well as the main apron area for visiting aircraft. We’ve received a lot of feedback from our local pilots, hanger owners and visitors to the area.

The group of employees from TxDOT Aviation assigned to our airport have made multiple visits to Alpine and are working through a short term plan to fill the cracks (for safety reasons), then come back in two years to fully redo the taxiway and apron.
We have also been reviewing some respondents to an RFP for FBO (Fixed Based Operator) services for our airport. Alpine has utilized a FBO in the past (several years ago) and we are working with a couple of respondents to better understand if they would be the right fit for Alpine in the future.

As always, feel free to reach out to City Staff with any questions or concerns. We appreciate and welcome the dialogue.
Warmest Regards,
Erik Zimmer, City Manager

Board of Adjustment

November 6, 2014
Dear Residents,

We’ve had recent agenda items and conversation surrounding the creation of a Board of Adjustments for the City of Alpine. The nature of this conversation centers around hearing variances related to our current Zoning Ordinances.

I’d like to utilize this blog post to share some of the city ordinances, state statutes and Attorney General opinion letters on the topic. Hopefully that will give you an opportunity to do some further research.

City of Alpine Ordinances – Appendix C Zoning – Section 11:

“Section 11 Duties of administrative official, city council and courts on matters of appeal.

It is the intent of this ordinance that all questions of interpretation and enforcement shall be first
presented to the administrative official, and that recourse from the decisions of the administrative official
shall be to the courts as provided by the laws of the State of Texas.

It is further the intent of this ordinance that the duties of the city council in connection with the
ordinance shall not include hearing and deciding questions of interpretation and enforcement that may
arise. The procedure for deciding such questions shall be as stated in this section and this ordinance.

Under this ordinance the city council shall have only the duties:
(1) Of considering and adopting or rejecting proposed amendments or the repeal of this ordinance,
as provided by law; and
(2) Of establishing a schedule of fees and charges as stated in Section 12, below.”

State of Texas – Local Government Code – 211.008 to 211.011

“Sec. 211.008. BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT. (a) The governing body of a municipality may provide for the appointment of a board of adjustment. In the regulations adopted under this subchapter, the governing body may authorize the board of adjustment, in appropriate cases and subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards, to make special exceptions to the terms of the zoning ordinance that are consistent with the general purpose and intent of the ordinance and in accordance with any applicable rules contained in the ordinance.

(b) A board of adjustment must consist of at least five members to be appointed for terms of two years. The governing body must provide the procedure for appointment. The governing body may authorize each member of the governing body, including the mayor, to appoint one member to the board. The appointing authority may remove a board member for cause, as found by the appointing authority, on a written charge after a public hearing. A vacancy on the board shall be filled for the unexpired term.

(c) The governing body, by charter or ordinance, may provide for the appointment of alternate board members to serve in the absence of one or more regular members when requested to do so by the mayor or city manager. An alternate member serves for the same period as a regular member and is subject to removal in the same manner as a regular member. A vacancy among the alternate members is filled in the same manner as a vacancy among the regular members.

(d) Each case before the board of adjustment must be heard by at least 75 percent of the members.

(e) The board by majority vote shall adopt rules in accordance with any ordinance adopted under this subchapter. Meetings of the board are held at the call of the presiding officer and at other times as determined by the board. The presiding officer or acting presiding officer may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. All meetings of the board shall be open to the public.

(f) The board shall keep minutes of its proceedings that indicate the vote of each member on each question or the fact that a member is absent or fails to vote. The board shall keep records of its examinations and other official actions. The minutes and records shall be filed immediately in the board’s office and are public records.

(g) The governing body of a Type A general-law municipality by ordinance may grant the members of the governing body the authority to act as a board of adjustment under this chapter.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 126, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 724, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 363, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 211.009. AUTHORITY OF BOARD. (a) The board of adjustment may:

(1) hear and decide an appeal that alleges error in an order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative official in the enforcement of this subchapter or an ordinance adopted under this subchapter;

(2) hear and decide special exceptions to the terms of a zoning ordinance when the ordinance requires the board to do so;

(3) authorize in specific cases a variance from the terms of a zoning ordinance if the variance is not contrary to the public interest and, due to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the ordinance would result in unnecessary hardship, and so that the spirit of the ordinance is observed and substantial justice is done; and

(4) hear and decide other matters authorized by an ordinance adopted under this subchapter.

(b) In exercising its authority under Subsection (a)(1), the board may reverse or affirm, in whole or in part, or modify the administrative official’s order, requirement, decision, or determination from which an appeal is taken and make the correct order, requirement, decision, or determination, and for that purpose the board has the same authority as the administrative official.

(c) The concurring vote of 75 percent of the members of the board is necessary to:

(1) reverse an order, requirement, decision, or determination of an administrative official;

(2) decide in favor of an applicant on a matter on which the board is required to pass under a zoning ordinance; or

(3) authorize a variation from the terms of a zoning ordinance.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 126, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 724, Sec. 2, eff. Aug. 28, 1995.

Sec. 211.010. APPEAL TO BOARD. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (e), any of the following persons may appeal to the board of adjustment a decision made by an administrative official:

(1) a person aggrieved by the decision; or

(2) any officer, department, board, or bureau of the municipality affected by the decision.

(b) The appellant must file with the board and the official from whom the appeal is taken a notice of appeal specifying the grounds for the appeal. The appeal must be filed within a reasonable time as determined by the rules of the board. On receiving the notice, the official from whom the appeal is taken shall immediately transmit to the board all the papers constituting the record of the action that is appealed.

(c) An appeal stays all proceedings in furtherance of the action that is appealed unless the official from whom the appeal is taken certifies in writing to the board facts supporting the official’s opinion that a stay would cause imminent peril to life or property. In that case, the proceedings may be stayed only by a restraining order granted by the board or a court of record on application, after notice to the official, if due cause is shown.

(d) The board shall set a reasonable time for the appeal hearing and shall give public notice of the hearing and due notice to the parties in interest. A party may appear at the appeal hearing in person or by agent or attorney. The board shall decide the appeal within a reasonable time.

(e) A member of the governing body of the municipality who serves on the board of adjustment under Section 211.008(g) may not bring an appeal under this section.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 363, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 211.011. JUDICIAL REVIEW OF BOARD DECISION. (a) Any of the following persons may present to a district court, county court, or county court at law a verified petition stating that the decision of the board of adjustment is illegal in whole or in part and specifying the grounds of the illegality:

(1) a person aggrieved by a decision of the board;

(2) a taxpayer; or

(3) an officer, department, board, or bureau of the municipality.

(b) The petition must be presented within 10 days after the date the decision is filed in the board’s office.

(c) On the presentation of the petition, the court may grant a writ of certiorari directed to the board to review the board’s decision. The writ must indicate the time by which the board’s return must be made and served on the petitioner’s attorney, which must be after 10 days and may be extended by the court. Granting of the writ does not stay the proceedings on the decision under appeal, but on application and after notice to the board the court may grant a restraining order if due cause is shown.

(d) The board’s return must be verified and must concisely state any pertinent and material facts that show the grounds of the decision under appeal. The board is not required to return the original documents on which the board acted but may return certified or sworn copies of the documents or parts of the documents as required by the writ.

(e) If at the hearing the court determines that testimony is necessary for the proper disposition of the matter, it may take evidence or appoint a referee to take evidence as directed. The referee shall report the evidence to the court with the referee’s findings of fact and conclusions of law. The referee’s report constitutes a part of the proceedings on which the court shall make its decision.

(f) The court may reverse or affirm, in whole or in part, or modify the decision that is appealed. Costs may not be assessed against the board unless the court determines that the board acted with gross negligence, in bad faith, or with malice in making its decision.

(g) The court may not apply a different standard of review to a decision of a board of adjustment that is composed of members of the governing body of the municipality under Section 211.008(g) than is applied to a decision of a board of adjustment that does not contain members of the governing body of a municipality.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 363, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 646, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.”

Attorney General Opinions and Ensuing Legislation

Op. Tex. Atty. Gen. JM-1069 (July 7, 1989)
Letter Opinion No. 92-56 (September 28, 1992) (applies to general law and home-rule cities)
Tex. Atty. Gen. Letter Op. 97-062 (July 7, 1997).
Legislation adopted in 1997 – Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 363, §§ 1–3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

I do hope this information is informative in its content. It is not meant to serve as a legal opinion, rather a presentation of the current written law and Attorney General opinions. Our City Attorney, Mick McKamie, and his staff are available for deeper dialogue and questions if residents need.

Have a great rest of the week,

Erik M. Zimmer, City Manager

Welcome new Utilities Director and City Executive Assistant

October 31, 2014
Dear Citizens,

I wanted to take a few minutes to welcome two new additions to our team: Lawrence Cutrone and Mary Carmen Nunez.

Lawrence Cutrone has joined the Alpine team as our Director of Utilities replacing Virgil Clark. Lawrence comes to us from the Upper Trinity Regional Water District in Lewisville, Texas. He has accomplished ‘B’ licensing in both Wastewater and Surface Water with the intent to test for his ‘A’ licensing in February of 2015. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana State University and a Masters of Public Administration from University of Texas at Arlington. Lawrence brings a hands on approach to leadership and has a history of bringing innovation to the workplace. We look forward to his input and corroboration with our existing staff and tackling the many challenges in front of our Utilities Department.

Mary Carmen Nunez has joined the City team as our Executive Assistant to the City Manager. In this role, Mary Carmen will help facilitate the timely completion of our 180-day plans, revitalization of our Airport operations and general overflow work from the CM role. Previously, Mary Carmen worked as the Administrative Assistant supporting Dr. Larry Guerrero at Sul Ross State University. She is a graduate of Alpine High School, has her Bachelors of Art from University of Incarnate Word and is currently working on her Masters in Education at SRSU.

I trust that both Lawrence and Mary Carmen will make positive contributions to our community over the next several years. I am excited to have them on our team supporting the citizens of our City.

Erik Zimmer, City Manager


Virgil Clark – Thank You For Your Service to Alpine

October 24, 2014

I wanted to take a few moments to share our sincere appreciation to the work performed by both Virgil and Sharon Clark over the past year. Virgil came back to the City last October as the Director of Utilities in a time of great need. We were straddled with some ongoing violations tied to our Wastewater Treatment Plant and needed someone to step in and provide guidance to our Utility Department. Virgil (with the great help of Sharon) stepped in and help lead us through some upgrades and restoration at the WWTP. Virgil re-retired from the City at the end of September.

Virgil always gave credit to the team for their innovativeness and willingness to accept the challenge. Through that work, we helped build a better team of employees supporting the City.

Special thanks to Virgil for taking the time to think through some of the pre-Engineered projects and search for least costly solutions that still made sense for Alpine. Strategically, this helped us navigate through FY2013-14 and alleviate some of the needs for additional debt spending.

We look forward to continued interaction with Virgil and Sharon in the community.

Erik Zimmer, City Manager

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