Jack Bingham, manager for DCI Sanitation, awarded two $500 scholarships to Megan Richards and Ross Stiles Monday night during the Italy City Council meeting.
Bingham said these students did a great job on essays focused on “going green.”
The council also unanimously approved a zoning request from Josh Trees following a public hearing.
Trees requested the city change zoning at 617 Mosley Street (Hwy 77) from Single Family Residential District 2 (SF 2) to Light Industrial (L1). Trees said he had rented the building a man who is recycling plastic.
The planning and zoning commission had approved the request at a meeting prior to the council meeting.
Dennis Perkins made the motion with a second from James Hobbs. The motion passed unanimously.
In other business, the council tabled an item regarding an ordinance (#00-08-01) regarding commercial off premise signs within the city limits.
Police Chief Diron Hill said the ordinance prohibits any and all commercial off premise signs other than those regulated by the state such as real estate and election signs.
Ronnie Hyles sent the council a letter saying this ordinance had recently come to his attention. His letter said he needs his signs in yards for deliveries from out of town vendors.
Hyles letter said, “My signs are picked up as soon as every job is finished and will continue to do so if possible.”
Hill said a local vendor did contact residents about cleaning their air conditioning ducts for free if they are allowed to put a sign in the yard. The chief said there were about 50 signs put up throughout the city over a weekend.
Hill said he was seeking guidance from the council regarding this issue.
Guthrie said Hyles could put up signs that say, “Hyles Construction Delivery” with no further information.
Hobbs said he felt there should be more options for local businesses. He said Ronnie Hyles or OK Lumber should be able to put up their signs.
Hill and Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, said a sign permit could be issued when building permits are purchased.
Hill and Murdock were authorized to investigate options and bring possible proposals back to the council.
Dean Carrell, public works director, was given authority to use $64,000 remaining from the water bond project to paint the water tower exterior.
Carrell said he received several bids for the project that ranged from $50,000 to a million dollars. He said the low bidder — RK Sandblasting and Painting — would water blast the tank, add primer and paint. The public works director said he would like to see the guarantee time increased and felt he could get that extended.
The council also unanimously approved a resolution (R-12-0514-01), executed by the mayor, changing an agreement with Internet America from $500 per month to $400 per month.
The council unanimously denied a resolution (R-12-0514-02) denying Mid-Tex Division of Atmos Energy Corporation’s statement of intent to change the gas utility rate.
Mayor Pro-Tem Rodney Guthrie read a proclamation recognizing May 13-19 as National Police Week and National Nursing Home Week.
Juanita Acre addressed the council about the city’s need to cut through her back yard to repair her neighbor’s sewer system.
Ms. Acre, who lives at the intersection of South Ward and Dilworth, said she was told they would have to cut through her back yard to put in a new sewer line for her neighbor.
She told the council that she had worked on her back yard for 20 years and couldn’t put in a new yard at her age. She told them that they had other options.
Carrell said he investigated the situation earlier and discovered the city was only responsible for the new line from the cleanout to the main line. He said the sewer line, from the neighbor’s house to the clean out, is between the neighbors to work out.
Hill said the police department was called to service 212 times in April. Officers made five arrests and worked a total of 1,488 hours. The code enforcement officer worked 39.5 hours, issued seven courtesy letters and was called to service 29 times. The animal control officer worked 39.5 hours, impounded 10 animals, issued six citations and was called to service 44 times.
The police chief said serious crimes are down 72 percent from last year and less serious crimes are up 11 percent. He said arrests and citations are up.
Carrell said the public works department is “holding its own.” He said they are still working on the new water tank and said new water meters should be in soon.
The Italy Municipal Court report said the police department issued 487 citations, cleared 12 warrants, sent 50 collection letters and issued 373 warrants in April.
Murdock said she has completed the final paperwork for the roof on the Boze building.
She is currently reviewing the personal policy manual which has not been updated in several years.
She also said she is checking with the City of Waxahachie to do building inspections and permits because the current company has increased its prices.
Murdock noted that a dumpster is at the sewer plant and said nobody has used it yet. Therefore, she said they were looking at decreasing the prices to dump there.
The council also approved minutes from the previous meeting, bills and earned compensatory time.
During council comments, Hobbs said he requested at the last meeting that the police chief break down the STEP program noting how many hours officers work and how many citations were issued. He said that was not done on this month’s report.
He also said the public works department is working on saving money and he would like to see the other departments do the same and asked if the police department was using local businesses to make vehicle repairs.
He questioned why the city paid $70 to the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office. Murdock said this was most likely for two prisoners since jail costs are $35 per day.
He also asked if there are not some schools the council members can attend to obtain more education regarding municipalities. Murdock said there are numerous programs online including the Council of Governments.
Bruce Utley urged citizens to remember the police officers and nursing homes this week.
Mayor Frank Jackson and Greg Richards were not present at the meeting.