Controversy, allegations arise at Monday’s city council meeting

Controversy was on the agenda again Monday night at the Italy City Council meeting.

Farmer had three items on the agenda that all dealt with Carrell. At one point, Farmer asked Carrell to resign.

Ed Voss, city attorney, finally stopped Farmer at one point and advised the council to go into executive session.

Following the executive session, Dennis Perkins Jr. made the motion, with a second from Frank Jackson, to allow the city administrator to research department head spending in other communities the size of Italy. The motion passed unanimously.

The second item Farmer addressed was concerning a text message allegedly from Carrell. [ Link ] This item could not be addressed, according to Voss due to the vagueness of the agenda wording from Farmer. (Discuss and consider necessary action(s) regarding city issues.)

Farmer then attacked Voss saying that he allows a vague agenda item one time and then does not allow it to happen the next time. Voss named two Attorney General Opinions that supported his stance.

Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, tried to explain to Farmer about the agenda item he referenced several months ago. However, she was cut off from speaking by Mayor James Hobbs.

In other business, Misty Culpepper with Culpepper & Lawrence, CPA, briefly outlined the 2013 audit. She praised the staff for their cooperation during the audit and went over the financial standing. In the end, she said they had four recommendations:

  1. They suggested a water deposit report in order to pull out inactive accounts.
  2. Take care of outstanding checks that several years old.
  3. Follow up on citations.
  4. Set capitalization asset figure (usually between $500 and $1000).

Mike Chadima of the Cedar Hill Rotary Club addressed the council regarding the Head for the Hills bike rally. In previous years, Chadima said they had 20, 40 and 60 mile routes. They decided to expand the bike rally and added a 100 mile route. He said they drove around this area and when they saw the pavilion, they felt that would be a perfect spot for a rest stop for those riders.

He said all proceeds from this rally will go to help children. He said currently, they donate to “Coats for Kids” in grade schools at Cedar Hill. He said they would also be interested in donating to Shop with a Hero that is sponsored by the police and fire department locally.

Although the event is going to be held on May 10, Election Day, Police Chief Diron Hill said two officers are donating their time to help with the extra traffic in town that day. Chadima said they would provide food, manpower and port-a-potties for the event riders.

Hobbs told Chadima that this pavilion was there to be used and welcomed the organization to use the pavilion for the event.

The council also approved a payment of $164.53, a supplemental payment to Harris Body Shop, for repair to a police vehicle. Rodney Guthrie excused himself from the room while the council voted. Murdock said this was for putting the unit back into service following repair.

Scott Hoelzle, PE, with KSA Engineering recommended the final payment be made to Gracon Construction, Inc. for the completed 500,000 gallon ground storage tank. Carrell backed up the recommendation. Greg Richards made the motion to approve the final payment with a second from Guthrie. The motion passed unanimously.

Representatives from Gracon Construction were also on hand to once again discuss additional work they performed that was required by inspectors. The council denied payment on February 11, 2013. The original change request was for $16,000. They were able to reduce the cost to $7,150. After discussion in executive session, the council referred the matter to Voss who would read over the contract and make a recommendation at a later meeting.

The council also approved a resolution (#14-0210-01) pertaining to the CDBG grant.

The council spent time in discussion regarding the storm drain near the library. Carrell said he has cleaned the drain out several times but said tree roots have grown inside the pipe causing water to stand at that location when it rains.

Carrell said the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) — in previous years — refused to take responsibility for the drain although it is under a State-maintained road. Richards made the recommendation to contact Scott Morrow with TxDOT. The council withheld taking action until Carrell could talk with Morrow.

Council members unanimously approved a joint election agreement and ordinance (#14-0210-01) with the school district for the May 10th race. This year three council seats are up for election.

Council members also unanimously approved an interlocal agreement with Moore County and the Italy Police Department for the purposes of performing functions of law enforcement through its sheriff’s office for authorized access to the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (TLETS).

Hill said the Justice Solutions Records Management Program the department is currently with has not provided all the capabilities they claimed when the city went with this program. He said all of the TLETS customers go through Moore County.

The council also unanimously named Nancy Galloway Hinojosa, Chelsea Beets and Sarah Reid to the Community Activity Committee. Murdock said this makes six of the seven member committee.

Departmental reports
Hill said the police department was called to service 519 times in January and officers made seven arrests. Officers worked 1,286 hours.

Carrell presented a video program with equipment he is trying to purchase that will help maintain the city streets in a more efficient manner. He said they have spent several thousand dollars trying to patch roads and said the patches come out when it rains.

The fire department made 25 calls during January according to a report from Don Chambers.

The municipal court report indicates 95 citations and 31 warning citations were filed by local officers. They cleared 78 warrants, issued 63 collection letters and 107 warrants.

Murdock said she is working to get the warning siren installed on the water tower.

She also reminded council members and the public about the upcoming Lions Club Barbecue competition scheduled February 21 and 22 at Upchurch Field. Contact Flossie Gowin for more information about the Lions Club and its events.

Murdock reminded the public that February 28 is the last day to sign up for the city council race.

Comment by Steven Farmer received 2/12/14-10:26pm

I think it was a win for the community when City Council came out and voted to control expenses when it comes to hotel stays and per diem amounts.
Steven Farmer