Gonzales city council to meet Thursday

City manager could be hired, electric department unplugged


GONZALES — The Gonzales city council meets Thursday night in regular session. The agenda is chock full of items, with the potential to make the interim city manager permanent topping the list.
Since the January resignation of former city manager Sean Lally, Public Works Director Tim Patek has worked as interim city manager. An employment contract for him is on the line tonight. If council members agree, Patek will be elevated to city manager and will receive a base annual salary of $100,000 plus an annual vehicle allowance of $6,000. The contract would be good for two years.
After that discussion, council members will be asked to look at amendments to the “junked vehicles” ordinance. Per current rules, the city “finds that junked, abandoned, and legally unusable vehicles in public view are a detriment to the quality of life of Gonzales and erode the integrity of the neighborhoods.” In the city's definition, a “junked vehicle” is self propelled, does not have a lawfully attached unexpired license plate, does not have a valid registration sticker, is wrecked, substantially disfigured, and is inoperable and has remained that way for 72 consecutive hours on public property or 30 consecutive days if on private property.
A “junked vehicle” is declared a public nuisance if it is detrimental to the safety and welfare of the public, tends to reduce the value of private property, incites vandalism, creates a fire hazard, is an attractive nuisance that creates a hazard to minors, or produces urban blight. Exceptions are if the vehicle is completely enclosed within a building not visible from the street or private property or the vehicle is in connection with a business of a licensed vehicle dealer or junkyard or that it is an antique or of special interest part of a collector's collection and maintained in an orderly manner.
If a person is found in violation, they can receive a fine of up to $200 and a court can find for the removal of the vehicle.
Council will also consider nixing the city's electric department in return for services from an outside contractor. Due to what the city says is significant costs incurred each year for the equipment and personnel required to run the electric department, and because of the city's failure to upkeep the department's equipment and fleet — which it describes as being at a point of “physical obsolescence” — a request for bids to run the city's electric services was placed on May 25. One proposal was received from Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC). Council members will decide if the contract is worth plugging into.
Amongst the other items, council will consider:

  • Entering into a local task force agreement with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to detail one police officer to the San Antonio Task Force and to ratify the executed agreement;
  • Execute a license agreement with the Texas Junior High Rodeo Association (TJHRA);
  • Enter into contract with the Lower Colorado River authority (LCRA) for a substation maintenance agreement;
  • Approving an oil and gas lease for 4.099 acres with 2BZ;
  • Appointing five citizens to the charter review commission;
  • Establishing an agreement between the City and Gonzales Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) to establish guidelines and responsibilities between the two and make a service agreement to provide program support, liability insurance, and legal services to GEDC;
  • Amending the garage sale ordinance to include rummage sales and yard sales and to permit properties other than residences to hold sales;
  • Eliminating the Gonzales Police Department's cadet position for a savings of $41,749.84.
  • Council will also hold a workshop to consider possible action regarding finding options available for future higher education opportunities in the city, and a closed session will be held to discuss litigation regarding the estate of J.B. Wells.