City council to recommend Brown for deputy city manager
Fri, 2016-11-18 05:00 News Staff
By LYNETTE SOWELL
After a brief executive session at the end of their meeting Tuesday night, the Copperas Cove city council emerged with a consensus for future consideration and action to appoint Joe Brown, the city’s Parks & Recreation director, as the deputy city manager, on the agenda for the council’s next meeting on Dec. 6.
This decision was related to the recent approved amendment to city manager Andrea Gardner’s employment contract, that the city look at hiring an assistant city manager as part of the transition plan, looking ahead to the end of Gardner’s contract of Jan. 31, 2022.
Also on Tuesday night, Brown gave his report on the Fall-O-Ween festival to the city council.
He said 65 percent of the estimated nearly 5,000 who attended came from Copperas Cove, and that zip codes were obtained at the entrance gates.
Although there was a $5 charge per carload, Brown said they felt it was important to have free activities once inside the park to include pumpkin painting, a pirate show, live bands, candy aisles with 33 candy vendors, and a costume contest.
Brown said the department did an after-action report, and there were a number of things that went well, along with things to improve, which he said are attainable. He also introduced Sarah Rodriguez, the city’s tourism and information coordinator.
“I’m really excited about the things we have coming up. (The Dec. 1 tree lighting) will be my first event, and we have a lot of really fun things planned,” Rodriguez told the council. “This is a fun job that I get to do for the city. These are the feel-good things, things that bring people to town from far away, or people here in Cove get to stay here and participate in.”
The council took no action on approving an ordinance that would amend the city’s Fire Prevention and protection code by requiring food booth and food vendors to have an annual permit for fire inspection.
This ordinance mirrors the requirements of the national fire code regarding brick-and-mortar restaurants, said Copperas Cove fire chief Michael Neujahr.
This means that stationary food vendors and mobile food trucks would be required to have a commercial kitchen hood ventilation system, something that Neujahr said he’s seen a number of the food truck already have. However, those systems can be cost prohibitive for some small business owners but adds increased safety to the kitchen area.
“Those hood systems are expensive,” said Neujahr. “I’m talking about the food trucks, They’re cooking in a confined space. It’s a lifesaving issue, should those vapors ignite.” He added that cities are making it standardized across the Central Texas region. Harker Heights has already implemented a similar ordinance.
Several council members expressed concerns that it might be cost prohibitive for some smaller “mom and pop” vendors. City manager Andrea Gardner suggested the council postpone the item and come back with a public hearing so food truck vendors can offer input, which the council voted to do.
The council also voted to dissolve the Parks & Recreation as well as Golf Course advisory boards and then voted to establish a Quality of Life advisory board. The details of the board, such as number of members and terms, will be discussed and set by the council in the future.
During the council’s workshop meeting, the council heard from interim police chief Eddie Wilson about a possible ordinance that would allow the city to impound uninsured vehicles. He presented statistics and instances in other cities like Dallas and San Antonio, which have such an ordinance, and he said Waco is the nearest city that has the ordinance also. If an individual is pulled over for a violation or is in an accident and they are discovered not to have insurance on their vehicle, that vehicle could be immediately impounded.
The council okayed the release of $13,385 of hotel occupancy funds to America’s Drug Free Productions, Inc., which goes toward expenses for the upcoming C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl set for Dec. 3.
The City of Copperas Cove will now be looking for a solid waste director with the approval for the addition of the position to the city’s personnel improvement plan and the city’s position listing for the current fiscal year. The position’s funding of $98,911 for that position being paid for from the Solid Waste Fund’s fund balance.
As for evaluating the services of the city’s Municipal Court associate judge, attorney Lisa Kubala, the council instructed the evaluation form be distributed to the court judge and staff for completion, and the council will receive the completed forms and bring that evaluation back as a future agenda item.
The council gave its approval to city manager to authorize a no-cost change order and waiving the liquidated damages for that construction project. Due to construction delays amounting to $1,500 per day with the project, the city was owed approximately $350,000 in liquidated damages. Instead of receiving those funds, the city agreed to several items to be completed by Lee Lewis Construction on the new fire station.
Gardner said with the city looking ahead to future construction of Fire Station No. 4, Lee Lewis would be among those companies who could bid on that project.
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