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La Vernia builds social media presence
La Vernia city officials participate in a June 28 workshop on city issues. Gathering to address the agenda are (from left) councilmen Randy Leonard, John Richter, and D. Bradford Beck, Mayor Robert Gregory, City Secretary-Treasurer Angela Cantu, and Councilman Eloi Cormier. Also present was Councilman Bobby Richter.
LA VERNIA -- La Vernia is the first city in Wilson County with a social media presence, with its new Facebook page.
City Secretary-Treasurer Angela Cantu described the new way for the city and citizens to communicate during a June 28 La Vernia City Council Workshop.
Cantu was very excited at the prospect of keeping the younger voters in La Vernia informed through this avenue.
“It’s how they communicate!” she said.
Content continues to be added, with a notice posted that day advising that city water bills had been mailed, Cantu said.
She cautioned council members that, in the same way as email, elected officials must be careful in their use of social media. The councilmen can “like” the page, she said, but should be wary of commenting. More than one commenting on a post or topic could contravene the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Mayor Robert Gregory echoed this.
“Look, but don’t comment, is your safest policy,” he said.
Also on the agenda for the evening were the city’s new comprehensive plan, hiring a new public works director, purchasing a new police department vehicle, municipal water issues -- including a new well -- and more.
Efforts to “buy local” and purchase the needed police patrol vehicle from Koepp Chevrolet are on hold, Police Chief Bruce Ritchey told the council. The dealership cannot provide the requested vehicle in a timely manner for the agreed price. The search continues for a supplier, he said.
Lengthy discussions about the role of the public works director, salary range, and related issues resulted in councilmen Eloi Cormier and Bobby Richter agreeing to participate in a hiring committee as the city seeks a replacement for Richard Fryer, who resigned due to health issues. Discussions are planned to refine the role, job description, salary, and benefits.
Also to be revisited is the comprehensive plan, the result of several public meetings and the work of a steering committee. It was completed with guidance from Chris Holtkamp with the Lower Colorado River Authority, who presented the plan to the council.
“Looking at this, there are several different groups that can implement these things,” said Councilman D. Bradford Beck, suggesting the council look specifically at those items targeted as the city’s responsibility for budgeting and implementation.
Some priorities are:
•Bringing medical services to the city
•Establishing a business park
•Expanding access to higher education
•Development of a nature park/trail, sidewalks, and bike lanes
•Addressing storm drainage needs
•Providing adequate funding for water and wastewater improvements.
Water issues also were addressed by the council, as the city continues its efforts to drill another municipal well. Work on this has been delayed, after the city parted ways earlier this year with LBG-Guyton Associates, retained to oversee the well project. Councilman Randy Leonard will work on information needed to invite requests for qualification again for the project.
“We’re just trying to get clarity for the next meeting,” Beck said.
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