Cove council

Copperas Cove patrol Officer John Oster, left, shakes hands with Mayor Frank Seffrood during the City Council workshop Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, after receiving his pin for 20 years of service as a city employee.

Having spent most of Monday in their annual retreat, the City Council members met again Tuesday evening for an official photo, a workshop and regular meeting.

The retreat featured presentations and discussions from a number of city departments, but no votes. A long session, the retreat allowed for “freer discussion,” according to Councilman Charlie Youngs.

“You don’t want to discuss one agenda item for an hour and a half at a regular meeting,” Youngs said.

Tuesday’s workshop featured recognition of city employees for their years of service.

Diane Drussell, Chelum Vezie and Lisa Millenbach were each honored for five years of service. John Oster received his pin for 20 years of service with the Copperas Cove Police Department, and Kathy Weber was recognized for 35 years of service to the city.

Also during the workshop, Carla Polidoro, fire captain, was honored for 21 years of service as she retired.

Silvia Rhoads, executive director of Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful, asked the board to recognize outgoing board member John Weber, who has moved to Temple.

Cove Mayor Frank Seffrood read a proclamation naming Feb. 12 “Marion Palumbo Day” in honor of the Copperas Cove math teacher, member of the Friends of the Copperas Cove Public Library and for her service to other libraries in the Central Texas Library System.

On a more serious note, the workshop included a discussion of Texas’ public purpose doctrine, presented by city attorney B. Scott Osburn of law firm Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal & Zech P.C.

Osburn’s presentation was a follow-up to a discussion at the Jan. 16 council meeting, dealing with city ordinance 2015-24, from 2015, which deals with the licensing agreement between the city and the Chamber of Commerce covering the use of public parks and the costs incurred for those events.

At that previous meeting, council members asked that the ordinance be amended, repealed and/or replaced.

Osburn provided an eight-page memo to the council, the contents of which were designated as “privileged information” between the city attorney and the council. He gave detailed legal definitions of the public purpose doctrine, which was established by a ruling of the Texas Supreme Court in 2002.

Council members asked numerous questions of Osburn and interim City Manager Ryan Haverlah regarding details and clarification of Ordinance 2015-24 and the public purpose doctrine.

The result of the hour-long discussion was that the existing ordinance will be amended by Osburn to clarify the fees paid by the chamber for using public property for events. The amended ordinance will be presented at a future meeting for a vote by the council members.

J.C. Stubbs, Chamber of Commerce chairman of the board, addressed concerns regarding the workshop discussion on Ordinance 2015-24 during the council regular meeting’s citizens forum. He asked for a timely resolution to the issue, or for the council to allow the chamber to apply for Hotel Occupancy Tax funds at the Feb. 20 council meeting.

Also during the citizens forum, views for and against the Business 190 improvement project were voiced.

The regular meeting featured an extensive consent agenda, with 12 items approved in a single vote. Those items included awarding a bid for a police pursuit SUV upfitting costing over $40,000.

Another part of the consent agenda were items accepting the quarterly investment report, authorizing a quarterly payment of $1,407.50 to the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance and authorizing a number of city officials to apply for grants.

An agreement with Central Texas College was approved, with CTC to provide emergency medical service training. Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young gave a brief presentation on the importance of the agreement, which replaces an agreement which had been in place since 1992.

After considerable discussion, Councilman James Pierce Jr. was appointed by a 4-3 vote of the council as a second liaison to the Economic Development Corporation, with Councilman David Morris as the other liaison.

More discussion by council members was interspersed with the votes authorizing Haverlah to execute all documents related to the Narrows sidewalk project, Farm-to-Market 116 South and Farm-to-Market 3046 sidewalk project and the Business 190 improvements project.

Councilman Charlie Youngs clarified this authorization is only so the Texas Department of Transportation has a name on record to sign any documents, and not that the council had approved any aspect or funding of those projects.

Additional discussion preceded unanimous approval of the city’s personnel improvement plan for 2018-2022 and the position listing for 2017-2018. Hiring a water meter reader and two Economic Development Corporation employees will cost over $120,000.

A report was given to the council by America’s Drug Free Productions, Inc. regarding the 2017 C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl, which took place Dec. 2. The organization presented a request for the council to approve a payment of $29,915 toward expenses of that event, which will be considered at the Feb. 20 council meeting.

The Noon Exchange Club of Copperas Cove presented a report regarding the annual Feast of Sharing, with a request for more than $3,000 to cover expenses, which will be voted on at the Feb. 20 council meeting, as well.

Kevin Marsh, Copperas Cove library director, concluded the council meeting with a report on the WinterFest Academy held by the library in December.

“We took the week between Christmas and New Years, and put on an academy to give a chance for children to come in and play,” Marsh said. A myriad of activities allowed children from toddlers through teens to explore technology, reading and other activities, concluding with a pajama party. “The kids learned a lot.”

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