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Year in Review: Floresville feels growing pains in ’13
Wilson County NewsJanuary 8, 2014 | 3,041 views | 2 comments
FLORESVILLE -- Nearly a year after the city council here found out that Floresville has been deemed financially insolvent, various facets of city government continue to undergo transition.
The news of the insolvency was delivered by auditor Patricia K. Wagner during a Jan. 18 presentation of the audit committee. After many meetings, the committee made recommendations to the full city council aimed at eradicating Floresville’s deficit and having 90 days’ worth of operating cash by the year 2016.
Through the course of 2013, pressure continued to mount on former Councilman Jim Miller. In February, former City Manager Andy Joslin lodged a complaint against Miller, which Joslin withdrew in March. Then in May, Miller announced that he was the subject of a Texas Rangers investigation spearheaded by 81st Judicial District Attorney Rene Peña with regard to Miller’s residency. Miller resigned in late November in a deal with Peña, after the district attorney reviewed a 2011 recording of a city council meeting, in which Miller allegedly stated that he did not reside in Floresville.
A replacement for Miller has yet to be seated, as provisions of the city’s home-rule charter forced the council to call a special election for May. The winner will finish the remainder of Miller’s term, which ends in November.
Also departing from City Hall was Jesse Perez, former executive director of the Floresville Economic Development Corp. (FEDC), who vacated the post Jan. 9. The FEDC’s board, amid seeking Perez’s successor, worked with interim Executive Director Raymond “Ram” Ramirez to get organized and to begin planning to install roads and drainage improvements in the El Rancho Grande Industrial Park on F.M. 537.
While the work in El Rancho Grande likely will be a dominant topic of FEDC meetings for months to come, the board did select Tommy Baker in September as the organization’s executive director. He previously held a similar position in Belton.
Also in September, the city council selected a replacement for Joslin, who resigned in August to accept a position with the city’s waste hauler, Republic Services. Approved as the new city manager was Henrietta Turner, who previously held similar positions in two Illinois cities.
The honeymoon ended quickly for Turner, when the council Dec. 19 tied 2-2 in an attempt to terminate her employment for allegedly acting beyond her contractual authority. Mayor Diana Garza was not permitted to break the tie, so Turner remained employed.
Other facets of city government also faced their own unique challenges during 2013. The Floresville 4A Corp., which manages the Lauro G. De Leon III Floresville Event Center on S.H. 97, worked much of the year to make the center profitable by revising rental fee schedules and lease agreements for its tenants.
But before even becoming profitable, a newly seated Floresville Parks Foundation board had to first find the checkbook. The board, led by President Douglas Jones, strove throughout the year to get its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status reinstated with the Internal Revenue Service. At year’s end, the foundation still was awaiting notification from the state that it was allowed to again conduct business. When this occurs, new bank accounts will help the foundation resume its mission of funding improvements to the city’s parks.
Public use spaces, such as parks, are included in the comprehensive land-use plan approved in December by the Floresville Planning and Zoning Commission. The plan, which was the follow-up to the city’s master plan that was approved in 2012, was a months-long effort at mapping Floresville’s growth over the next few decades. Final approval rests with the city council.
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January 9, 2014 6:49am
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