Gonzales City Council ups brush rates, adds card processing fees


GONZALES — As of Nov. 1, 2017 a 1.5 percent fee will apply to all credit or debit transactions made to the City of Gonzales. Gonzales City Council unanimously approved an ordinance establishing an electronic payment processing fee and providing for deposit of processing fees and service charges in the city's general fund.

The city is not imposing the fee to profit, but rather to break even, according to Gonzales Mayor Connie Kacir.

Kacir said the city spent $33,000 in processing fees alone last year. She also said this fee is not mandatory, residents and payees may still pay by cash, check, or money order, to keep from incurring the charge.

Council also approved an ordinance imposing a brush fee increase. The current rate for brush pickup is $2.74. The increase will raise that fee to $5. Additionally that $5 will only cover the first 15 minutes of pick-up time; pickups exceeding 15 minutes will be billed at $20 per every 15-minute block after.

Tuesday night's meeting opened with public comments. The public comments section of the meeting is for citizens to address the mayor and council — as a whole. Gonzales Police Chief Tim Crow spoke to invite council to National Night Out; local resident Charlie Mathis went before council to Praise GPD in their efforts to quickly recover his wife’s stolen credit card and bring the perpetrator to justice. A surprise guest, State Representative John Cyrier reported a busy legislative session and said he was headed over to celebrate National Night Out.

The next item on the agenda was a public hearing regarding the Texas Disposal System Franchise Fee; and a public hearing regarding brush collection rates. Council then heard a presentation by Johnson Controls.

Under resolutions, council discuss, considered and approved unanimously: a resolution authorizing the regularly-scheduled city council meeting for Nov. 7 to be changed to Nov. 14; a resolution accepting proposals and awarding the contract for the JB Wells Park Concession Stand; a resolution declaring certain city property as surplus and authorizing the sale of said property; a resolution approving the Small Business Incentive Grant (SBIG) Application by Chris Espinosa, DBA Moonwalk Rentals, in the amount of $3,300 for the purchase of bouncy houses and water slides; a resolution authorizing City Manager Sean Lally to execute a 31-year license agreement between Kenneth J. Fougerat and Karen K. Fougerat (licensee) and the City of Gonzales (licensor); and a resolution authorizing Lally to enter into a purchase agreement with Bandit Industries, for the purchase of one Intimidator 21XP Tow Behind Chipper.

The city has been renting a chipper at a cost of $5,000 per month after the wear and tear of usage following Hurricane Harvey disabled the city’s chipper. Lally said he has applied for FEMA funds to offset the cost of replacement.

All ordinances were approved and passed unanimously, however Dist. 1 Councilman Gary Schroeder was not present for the meeting. Council did operate with a quorum.

Gonzales City Council typically meets 6 p.m., the First Tuesday of each month, at Gonzales Municipal Building, 820 St. Joseph Street, in Council Chambers. The next meeting (as approved above) will be on the second Tuesday of November.