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Year in review: Floresville survives contentious year
FLORESVILLE -- Finances permeated the activities of the Floresville City Council through the tumultuous year of 2012.
In a year that saw petitions for recalling the entire city council and stopping certificates of obligation, the city of Floresville saw its share of turbulence.
The year began much as 2011 ended, with a fight under way as citizens, questioning the practices of the city council, unsuccessfully attempted to “recall them all” in January.
Continuing opposition from citizens led to two separate public forums, in which former Mayor Daniel Tejada and City Manager Andy Joslin invited residents’ input on matters affecting Floresville’s future. The result, after M&S Engineering attended the second, was a proposal by M&S of suggested priorities, which the council passed as the city’s master plan.
Friction also followed an independent audit of the city’s finances by Pat Wagner and Associates, which generated more questions than answers regarding the city’s financial record-keeping.
Although material weaknesses were found by the audit and despite funds not being in the correct accounts, the city received a clean audit and no funds were found to be missing.
After much public pressure, the city created the position of comptroller, filled on a temporary basis by Tom Smith of Accountemps. Lara Feagins was then hired by the city to fill the position.
Another issue that loomed over most city business was a proposed sports complex near the River Park.
The sports complex was at the center of financial arguments and a petition signed by registered voters of Floresville to stop certificates of obligation to fund the facility.
Since the petition had gathered the required number of signatures, effectively preventing the city council from pursuing funding, proponents of the proposed facility sought other means to fund its construction.
In July, the Floresville Economic Development Corp. (FEDC) approved a resolution, calling for a $2.1 million loan to fund the sports complex. The resolution met heavy opposition, which included a lawsuit by then-County Attorney Russell Wilson. Although the lawsuit was eventually dismissed, it resulted in the proposed facility being on hold since August.
The effects of the persistent conflict were felt at the ballot box in the November elections, which brought sweeping changes to the Floresville City Council.
During the general election, local business owner Jim Miller, a major proponent of the recall efforts earlier in the year, was elected to the Floresville City Council and longtime advocate for change, Diana Garza, was elected as mayor. After they assumed office, city council members decided a fresh start was best for Floresville. They appointed new members to several boards, including the FEDC, Planning and Zoning Commission, and 4A corporation.
Floresville businessman Eric Rodriguez was appointed after the election to council seat Place 5, previously held by Johnnie R. Gomez, who had resigned in an unsuccessful bid for mayor.
City officials have expressed hope for the future. The consensus is that there is much work to be done to put Floresville on the right track, but that a light shines at the end of the tunnel. With additional revenue being generated by the Eagle Ford shale, city officials hope to bring Floresville to prominence in South Central Texas.
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