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Eagle Ford: Falls City mulls hiring part-time policeman
Wilson County NewsFebruary 20, 2013 | 1,643 views | 1 comment
FALLS CITY -- Within the city limits of Falls City, law-enforcement functions usually are handled by the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office. The small community, which according to the 2010 U.S. Census was home to 611 residents, soon could have its own part-time police officer. The Falls City City Council, at its Feb. 13 meeting, discussed this idea.
Mayor Brent Houdmann said that the city typically does not have to worry about more than the occasional traffic violation. However, he said, the council wants to be proactive in the face of the increasing influx of temporary and permanent residents who have been swarming to Falls City and other South Texas communities because of the Eagle Ford shale oil and natural gas exploration.
“Our biggest issue is trucks coming through town [despite having a designated truck route],” Houdmann said.
The council is exploring options related to hiring a retired deputy or retired state trooper to patrol the city during peak times. At least one retired trooper and Karnes County Pct. 2 Constable Donald Hons have expressed interest in patrolling the city if the council should decide to create the position. The council still needs to determine the overall costs to budget for this.
Also during the meeting, the council met with residents and board members from the Falls City Housing Authority. Board President Edward “Gabby” Gabrysch said that the organization’s financial problems continue, as it currently has a $12,000 deficit due to delinquent rent payments and decreased federal funding. He said that he has been monitoring the books and making changes to help the housing authority remain viable.
“It don’t look good, but I think I’ve stopped the bleeding,” Gabrysch said.
He also said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has recommended that the Falls City Housing Authority be consolidated into another similar organization. This, or an actual HUD takeover of the housing authority, could happen by year’s end if the finances do not improve, Gabrysch said.
One of the residents in attendance said she knows of cases where tenants either are paying no rent, or who are not paying the correct rent because of having taken in additional occupants not listed on the lease. She also said that pet deposits are not being collected from residents.
“If the feds take over this place, those people are going to be booted out,” said Councilman Andrew Wiatrek. “People need to know what this is headed toward.”
In other business, the council voted to order a municipal election for May 11. Voters will select candidates to fill the seats currently held by councilmen Clarence Crawford and Gery Jendrusch. The polling location, Falls City City Hall, will have extended hours for early voting on April 29 and 30.
The council also voted to obtain price quotes for new carpeting to be installed in City Hall and to solicit bids for its 2013 streets-repair project. Streets being considered for repairs this year are:
•Yoakum Street (between Gilbert and Cooper streets)
In attendance: Mayor Brent Houdmann and councilmen Andrew Wiatrek, Jeff Johnson, and Gery Jendrusch; City Secretary Lauren Sturm, and Public Works Supervisor Jeremy Mandel.
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