Meeting roundup: Panels look at cost-saving measures, filling vacant positions

Cove Herald/Steven Doll - Frank Seffrood, candidate for Copperas Cove City Council Precinct 7, speaks Wednesday during a political forum at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.

By Lauren Cabral

and Mason W. Canales

The Cove Herald

Copperas Cove Independent School District

The Copperas Cove Independent School District board of trustees took several measures April 12 to help make up anticipated budget cuts for the 2011-12 school year caused by the state's deficit.

The district is estimating a 12.5 percent funding loss next year due to the much larger state deficit.

The board approved the use of $3.5 million from the district's current fund balance to offset the state deficit on April 12.

The uses of the fund balance for operations will not be a regular practice for the district, but may be needed to save jobs, CCISD Superintendent Rose Cameron said.

To help further cut spending, the board approved the school district's fiscal year 2011-12 group insurance rates, but it did not increase the percentage the school district pays for its employees.

It also joined the Texas Association of School Boards in seeking a commercial electricity service agreement, which may save the district money by lowering its electricity rates.

The school board also approved:

The summer maintenance project list.

The joint hiring of a military student transition consultant with the Military Child Education Coalition.

The addition of environmental science to the high school's dual-credit courses.

The Texas Association of School Boards policy items.

A special meeting at 6 p.m. May 23 to canvass the May 14 election results.

The superintendent's outside employment with Texas A&M University-Central Texas.

Coryell County Commissioners

GATESVILLE - The Coryell County Commissioners' Court began their search for a road administrator April 11 following an executive session to discuss the county engineer vacancy.

Commissioners voted to advertise a job vacancy for a road administrator in place of a county engineer, since the court received no suitable applications for the latter position.

Former county engineer Darren W. Poe announced his resignation Feb. 25 and is now the area engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation's Gatesville area office.

Commissioners appointed several leaders to the Coryell County Citizens Corps, which Coryell County Judge John Firth said was in place to oversee the county's Community Emergency Response Team volunteers.

Council members are Firth, emergency management director; Fred Gray, emergency management coordinator; Billy Vaden, county fire marshal; Johnny Burks, county sheriff; and CERT volunteer Lisa Insko.

Firth urged residents to look into the disaster assistance available for small businesses in the county through the Small Business Administration. Small, non-farm businesses are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA for economic losses caused by the drought that occurred from March 1 to Dec. 31, 2010.

The commissioners also:

Appointed Firth as a board member to the Central Texas Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council.

Set a 55 mph speed limit on Harman Road for seven-tenths of a mile, and 45 mph for the rest of the road due to paving differences.

Proclaimed honoring Coryell County volunteers during Volunteer Week, April 10-16.

Proclaimed honoring Coryell County government employees during April, County Government Month.

Proclaimed honoring the protection of children during April, Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Gatesville City Council

GATESVILLE - The City Council approved funds for four new city entry signs at its April 12 meeting after a leadership group presented the funds it raised to assist with the project.

The council approved $16,900 to install four signs, which is in addition to the $4,300 Leadership Coryell raised for the project. The Texas Department of Transportation will install a fifth sign.

The signs will be on each side of Farm-to-Market 116 and FM 107, as well as on U.S. Highway 84 near the ballpark.

The council also:

Approved the first reading of a zoning request by landowner Randy Bruton to rezone 7.98 acres of his 15.9 acres of pastureland from residential single family to business commercial.

Proclaimed April Fair Housing Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month and April 30 the Day of the Child.

Honored Shauna Latham, code enforcement officer in the Zoning Department, as Employee of the Month.

Lampasas County Commissioners

LAMPASAS - The County Commissioners Court accepted a new interest rate on a nearly $4 million bond Monday that will save the county roughly $1 million.

The county received four bids for refinancing a bond that provided funding for the second addition of the county annex at 409 Pecan St.

The lowest bid was an interest rate of 3.41 percent by Compass Bank.

By accepting the refinancing order, the county not only lowered its interest rate for the bond, it also shortened the term of the bond loan from 20 years to 13 years.

The county will also have a chance to refinance the bond again in 2016, and the loan payment should be fully paid by 2021.

The county commissioners also:

Approved the Chica Ranch Subdivision phases 2 and 3.

Declared April 18-22 National Volunteer Week.

Paid $849 to match a Texas Department of Agriculture grant.

Approved installing a gate on County Road 2636.

Reviewed the results for the Lampasas County Community Health Assessment.

Reviewed changes to the personnel policy.

Lampasas City Council

LAMPASAS - The City Council approved the rezoning and the plat for a 19.7-acre retirement community with assisted living center and retail space at Old Georgetown Road and Crider Lane on April 11.

The council discussed the planned development overlay zoning district for the development at length during its workshop and regular meeting before making several adjustments to the ordinance for the development.

While the development has plans to construct an assisted living center and about 34 residential lots - both duplex and single-family residences - members' concerns mainly focused on construction of retail space on the property

The developers want to attract a pharmacy or medical office to the space on the property, but were unsure if they would be able to do so, said David Oliver, who represented the developer at the meeting. They want a broader term to allow for other businesses that might be used by residents of the community, if the pharmacy and medical offices don't build in the space.

After debating the issue for about an hour, the council changed the maximum retail space to 10,000 square feet with no more than 8,000 for a single building, which would allow for adequate retail space.

Other concerns voiced about the development included an additional road that would increase traffic on Crider Lane, which will now be gated and only be used by emergency vehicles, and the construction vehicles using an entrance on Crider.

The city will place stop signs on Old Georgetown Road and the entrance of the development, so construction vehicles can enter the development safely instead of using Crider, City Manager Michael Stoldt said.

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