Editor: Shannon Cottongame
June 30, 2022
The Whitney City Council met in a regular session Tuesday, June 21, to hear monthly reports and consider agenda items.
In open forum, resident Alan Ellis told the council that he would like to donate $10,000 toward the effort to create a better park for children and the community. Ellis said that he hopes the donation will generate more interest from other donors who might contribute to the effort.
Whitney Business Alliance President Carol Eubank also spoke during open forum, thanking the city for its cooperation and communication. She said that the city’s efforts have helped build a bridge between the Business Alliance, city and Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce.
Joseph Corson also spoke on behalf of the Whitney Wildcat Football League and highlighted some of the organization’s activities. They include flag football and tackle football for youth. He said that sponsorships are also available to area businesses.
Representatives from two area towing companies also approached the council requesting to be placed on the city’s wrecker rotation list.
In his comments to the council, Mayor Brad Slaten said that the city recently held a town hall on updating the city’s food truck ordinance. The mayor said that it was agreed upon at the meeting that an ordinance is needed that is enforceable and equitable for all players, including those who have brick and mortar businesses and are paying property taxes.
He said that the Whitney Business Alliance agreed to modify the existing ordinance and present it to the council at an upcoming meeting.
City Secretary Kristi Woellert reported that the city is preparing for the Fourth of July celebration downtown and work has begun on the annual city budget process.
Library Director Denise Carter said that the library has been busy with outdoor temperatures so hot. She highlighted the library’s collection offering the latest information on COVID-19 and post-COVID conditions that residents may still be facing. More information about the library’s activities and offerings is available on the library website.
Whitney Police Chief/City Administrator Chris Bentley reported that there had been an uptick in violent crime in the two weeks before the meeting, with a stabbing and two aggravated assaults that sent individuals to hospitals investigated. He said that all suspects involved had either been arrested or warrants had been issued.
The project to repair the road at the intersection of Colorado Street and Jefferson Avenue is slated for the end of July, Bentley said.
Fire Chief Wayland Price said that the fire department has been busy fighting fires with the dry weather, and the effort to ensure that firefighters have access to keys to businesses in town is going well.
Bentley presented the EMS report, saying that there was good and bad news to report.
He reported that for the first time since the EMS program’s creation, the department looks like it will end the fiscal year under budget on expenses overall. The department also has a full staff of paramedics and EMTs.
He said that both the EMS and fire department are over budget on fuel costs due to high gas prices. He said that both departments are trying to be responsible with their equipment to cut down on costs, but adjustments may need to be made in the upcoming budget.
Moving on to the regular agenda, the council approved a request from J Fox Investments LLC for a variance regarding construction of three homes on South Colorado Street. The developer requested a variance related to setback requirements.
The council also discussed a proposed City of Whitney slogan, which the mayor first presented to the council six months ago, but the proposal did not move forward at that time. Slaten proposed the motto “Whitney: Best Dam Town In Texas” in an effort to create a catchy saying that could be placed on signs and used to promote the city to tourists.
The mayor said that Bentley contacted the city attorney to find out how much it would cost to trademark the motto, and the estimate was under $3,500.
Council member Jerry Barker said that his biggest issue with the proposal is that it is not included in the city’s budget this year, adding that the council had just discussed departments being short on fuel budgets. “I think if we’re going to use $3,500 we need to throw it into fuel,” Barker said.
With no motion from the council to pursue the motto, the topic was abandoned.
The council convened in closed session to consider purchase of additional land for the city’s park, but no action was taken.