It was a matter most fowl. Fowl, as in chickens.
The Gonzales City Council passed a resolution on Tuesday night amending the city ordinance to prohibit male domestic fowl and the breeding of domestic fowl within the city limits. The city held a public hearing on the matter, but no one came forward to address the matter before council.
Citing health concerns with wild fowl, Mayor Connie Kacir requested council to consider amending the existing city ordinance. Councilman Bobby O’Neal agreed something needed to be done, but had a fun time in putting the language together to make the amendment palatable to the rest of the council.
“All of my chickens are for sale at H.E.B.,” O’Neal teased. The new ordinance will allow penned domestic fowl within the city, but prohibits breeding and all male fowl. The council voted unanimously to amend the ordinance.
In other business before the council, Interim City Manager Tim Patek was authorized to try and enter into another five-year contract to keep the Texas Junior High Rodeo Association Finals in Gonzales. The contract is up for renewal, and Patek said the City of Waco Texas is going to be a major competitor for this event when the bid is considered on June 1. Over 2,400 competitors come to Gonzales every spring for this event, and it is a major boost to the local economy.
The council voted 3-2 to provide $5,000 to the Gonzales ISD for an anti-bullying grant to be expended from the restricted use municipal court child safety fund. The council also agreed to switch its regularly scheduled meeting from the first Tuesday of every month to the second Thursday in order to insure the city’s legal team could be present at every meeting.
Council heard a pair of presentations before voting on various resolutions.
The first presentation was from CPA John Watson, who gave a presentation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ending in September 31, 2017. Watson presented a number of slides showing the strength and weaknesses of different parts of the city budget, but the bottom line is that the city needs to put more money in reserves in its general fund. Currently the city only has 1.8 percent of its annual revenue in reserve, and Watson said the city needs to get that up to around 25 percent.
“Some of the funds look negative, but in one case the money that came in 2016 for the library was then spent in 2017, so that makes the numbers look a little worse than they really are,” Watson said. “I was getting concerned that the city was getting into the danger zone financially, but it appears that the city and staff are doing things to pull the city out of financial trouble.”
The second presentation involved Victoria College. Jackie Mikesh and Vince Ortiz from the Gonzales Center of Victoria College were on the agenda to explain what the college does academically and financially for the community. The five-year lease with the college is set to expire, and council wanted to hear what the status of the college was, what financial impact and procedures the college is using to benefit Gonzales and its students in both the short and long term, and what plans the college has for the future.
Mikesh presented a number of slides showing what programs are currently offered, what new ones are coming, and how important the college was academically and financially to Gonzales and its residents. A number of questions were asked, including one by Councilman Blakemore who wondered why Gonzales students were paying a higher rate of tuition.
Mikesh explained it was partially due to the way community college legislation is written in Texas, but said the higher credit hour rates were more than offset by Victoria College spending and tax revenue impact on the area, in addition to saving area students a lot more money because they don’t have to drive every day to another campus or move to another city.
The next council meeting is May 10, due to the May election.