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Former councilman’s inquiry spurs charter discussion
Floresville City Manager Henrietta Turner (left) congratulates Municipal Judge Sheila Garza-Medina on her selection as the city’s 2013 Employee of the Year during the Jan. 9 Floresville City Council meeting.
Wilson County NewsJanuary 15, 2014 4,810 views 13 comments
FLORESVILLE -- The city’s home-rule charter and the lack of action on a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan application are two items that the Floresville City Council likely could revisit in upcoming meetings, following discussions during the Jan. 9 council meeting.
City Secretary Sherry Pollok said “a citizen” submitted an Open Records Request about how one might be selected to serve on a charter review committee. When Casimiro “Cassy” Garza -- Mayor Diana Garza’s husband -- asked who made the inquiry, Pollok identified the requestor as former Councilman Sherry Martinez Castillo.
City Attorney Louis T. Rosenberg, during his presentation, said that since voters in 2004 voted for home rule, Floresville must continue to have a charter. However, voters can decide to amend or entirely rewrite the document following one of two methods.
The council, pursuant to charter Section 13.12, may call for an election of 15 city residents to form a charter review commission. This also is pursuant to Section 9.002 of the state’s Local Government Code. The commission would be charged with reviewing the charter and recommending a new version, which would be placed before the voters for approval.
According to Section 13.11 of the current charter, “Amendments to this charter may be framed and submitted by the city council or by referendum legislation by the people, to the voters of the city.” In order to assist with that process, Rosenberg said the council can appoint a committee of residents to recommend amendments to the council. The final decision would rest with the voters.
Floresville voters in 2009 approved seven of 13 proposed charter amendments. Despite this, Mayor Garza said the council likely will convene a workshop to discuss the matter further.
Rosenberg suggested that examining the charter at this time could detract from more pressing concerns, such as implementing the insolvency plan and ongoing water and sewer improvements.
Also during the meeting, City Manager Henrietta Turner informed the council that there has been no movement on Floresville’s application for a loan. The process to obtain funds for wastewater treatment plant improvements via a low-interest loan repayable over 40 years began in 2012. The principal would be paid back through utility billing, and not from Floresville’s general fund.
Turner said that the council must take action to select an engineer, an attorney, and bond counsel prior to starting the nine- to 18-month project.
“The funding is there, we need to pick it up and go forward,” she said.
The council likely will take action on the matter in February.
In other action, the council met for approximately 90 minutes in closed session to discuss Turner’s 90-day evaluation. When the council reconvened, Councilman Johnny Ray Nieto moved to direct her to continue improvements to the city government’s organizational structure, “review of functions, reassignments for effectiveness,” and conduct rates and fees comparisons with other cities in Wilson County. She also was directed to report to the council on a monthly basis, advise the council of improvements, and establish routines and checklists. His motion, which Councilman Mario Morones seconded, was approved unanimously.
In other business, the council gave recognition to several staff members, including Employee of the Month for September through November 2013. See box above.
In attendance: Floresville Mayor Diana Garza and councilmen Mario Morones, Johnny Ray Nieto, John W. Guerrero, and Eric Rodriguez; City Secretary Sherry Pollok, City Manager Henrietta Turner, City Attorney Louis T. Rosenberg, and Municipal Judge Sheila Garza-Medina.
The Floresville City Council, at its Jan. 9 meeting, recognized the following city employees:
•Retirees: Larry Casanova (nine years), Rudy Vasquez (24 years).
•Employee Longevity: Andrea Martinez (five years), Andrew Barrientes (five years), police Sgt. Daria Fowler (10 years), Joe Daniel Ortiz (20 years).
•Employees of the Month: Monica Cordova (September), Larry Casanova (October), Alex Treviño (November).
•Employee of the Year 2013: Municipal Judge Sheila Garza-Medina.
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