COPPERAS COVE — The City Council added another woman to the lineup of members Tuesday night, making it two female members on the seven-member council.
Marty Smith was sworn in to Place 4, replacing Danny Palmer, who could not seek re-election due to reaching term limits.
Residents crowded city chambers in a reception to welcome Smith prior to the swearing-in ceremony. Also sworn in were Gary Kent and Kenn Smith, both of whom ran unopposed in the Nov. 5 election.
Mayor John Hull presided over the meeting, referring to both Smith and Cheryl Meredith, the other woman who serves on the council, by their gender.
“I am starting to get this ‘council lady’ business down,” Hull said.
In other action, the council agreed to review a proposal to build a joint facility that will house both city and county services at a cost of just more than $21 million.
Another option is to have the facility house only city services at a cost of $16 million.
Several building sites were considered.
However, the presentation showed the building located between Second and Fourth streets, running parallel to Avenue D.
In other business, Councilman Frank Sefford was re-elected as mayor pro tem.
The second of two public hearings was held to approve increasing the city’s budget by $329,875.
With no public input at either hearing, council members approved the increase unanimously.
Four individuals were reappointed to the Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful Board: Edith Freyer, Elizabeth Sherman, Erika Poppel and Bob Hill. Six positions remain open on the board.
The council also unanimously agreed to spend $60,818 of a Homeland Security grant to purchase radio equipment and helmets for the police department’s motorcycle unit.
“Funding to Homeland Security was cut by nearly half. We’re behind where we need to be but we’re in better shape than most cities,” Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young said.
The city is in its fifth year of the grant award and will utilize the same amount of money this year, Young said.
The council also approved a purchase by the public works department of a new dump truck at a cost of just under $115,644.
The funding is included in the drainage department’s operating budget but will also be shared with the street and sewer departments as needed.
The apartment building across from the Narrows Business and Technology Park will experience a 75 percent growth.
An additional 72 units will be added to the existing 108 units, which are reported to be 98 percent occupied.
The council also voted to allow the city manager to hire an interim replacement for the city secretary, who will now be supervised on a day-to-day basis by the city manager rather than the council.
Councilman Smith also proposed the city create an education program to encourage stronger voter turnout in future elections.
“We had a miserable voter turnout of 3.5 percent. Ninety-two percent of the people are letting 8 percent decide what happens in the city,” Smith said.