Editor: Shannon Cottongame
November 24, 2021
The Whitney City Council met in a regular session Monday night, November 15, to consider several agenda items.
In public comments, Carol Westbrook of the Hill County Salvation Army requested that the council mandate that businesses on West Washington Avenue bag their trash before putting it in trash containers. Westbrook said that loose trash blows down the alleyway and near the Salvation Army office.
Mayor Brad Slaten congratulated city staff on a successful Boo With the Red and Blue Halloween event. The mayor applauded city departments and said the turnout was impressive. In other comments, the mayor encouraged everyone to support local businesses, restaurants, school district programs, church activities, the local theater and other efforts in town.
In departmental reports, City Secretary Kristi Woellert reported that city staff has been busy preparing for the holidays.
Library Director Denise Carter said that the library was excited to receive a $500 donation from a local resident who was thankful that the library continued to offer services during the pandemic. She also said that the library is offering a waiver of late fees to those who donate canned food to the local food drive this month. Carter added that the library‘s website is updated daily and contains a wealth of information for the community.
City Administrator/Police Chief Chris Bentley reported that the police department responded to 136 calls for service the previous month. He said that the police department has a good Christmas agenda coming up, including the annual Blue Santa toy drive to raise money and collect toys to provide Christmas gifts for underprivileged children.
Bentley reported that work is also underway on the December 4 Christmas parade, which will end at the downtown Christmas tree. The tree will be lit by Mayor Slaten, and photos with Santa will be available.
The chief also said that police officers will be delivering Christmas greeting cards to residents of local nursing homes before the holidays.
Fire Chief Wayland Price reported that firefighters have been busy training, and police officers continue to be cross trained with the fire department. He reported that two certificate of occupancy inspections had been completed over the previous month. One was for the old Paul’s True Value building on North Brazos Street, which will be used by the developer of the Trinity Street subdivision project. The other was conducted for the Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce’s new location downtown.
In the EMS report, Bentley reported that ambulance crews responded to 44 calls for the month with an average response time of five minutes and two seconds. The chief added that emergency help actually arrives on scene more quickly than the response time indicates, because cross-trained police officers generally arrive first.
For the fiscal year that ended September 30, the ambulance service made 596 runs, which Bentley said was down from 671 responses during the same period the previous year.
Public Works Director Billy Pribble gave the water and wastewater report. He reported that electrofishing had been completed at the wastewater treatment plant recently, and he praised city crews for their quick action to repair a leak on Jefferson Street that Could have caused much more serious problems if not repaired quickly with precision.
Pribble also said that the city is working to get a large pile of dirt at the city park cleaned up to make the area look better, and the community will likely be surprised by the Christmas lights going up around town which will be a little different than usual. Hiring continues to be an issue for the department, he said, and no applications for the open public works position have been received to date.
Moving onto the regular agenda, the council voted to waive the certificate of occupancy fee for the Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce, and the mayor said that he was happy to see the chamber move back inside the city limits. Chamber Director Janice Sanders thanked the council for waving the fee and said that the chamber is glad to be back in town.
The council tabled action on an agenda item regarding a contract with Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins and Mott, LLP for the collection of delinquent government receivables owed to the city. The council is expected to take action at its next meeting due to a minor issue with wording in the contract.
Another agenda item was tabled that would have re-zoned property located at the corner of Neches Street and Washington Avenue from Business District 1 to Single Family 2. The mayor said that in order to rezone the area, the city has to contact residents within 200 feet of the proposed change and that has not yet occurred. The item will be back on the agenda once the proper notification process is completed.
The next regularly scheduled meeting for the Whitney city Council is Monday, December 20.