Nixon PD had busy NYE


NIXON — It was a busy New Year's Eve in Nixon, as told by Nixon Police Department Officer Ruppert at Monday's city council meeting. In the monthly police chief report, she stood in for an absent Chief Floyd Toliver, who was away for training.

Officer Ruppert said that she single-handedly confiscated a table full of fireworks during the night of Dec. 31 as residents took to the skies with pops and flares, which are against city ordinance within city limits. She described how her seizures of the colorful contraband quickly spread to social media, with residents adapting to her patrols and stealthily stashing their artillery shells and such indoors so as not to draw attention when they would shoot off a single round or two.

Councilman Mark Soto was surprised to hear that Officer Ruppert was the only NPD patrol on duty and questioned the logic of that decision, saying that it was dangerous for a single officer to venture out when it is difficult to distinguish between the sound of a firework or a firearm.

“I know I'm asking questions you can't answer,” Soto said, and added that he would have liked to have seen the police chief out working too on such a busy night. Soto also wondered if the police reserve program could be tapped for busy holidays.

Ruppert also reported that the department was looking into the process of installing a red light camera for the busy intersection downtown, noting that the City of Balcones Hights had raised over $500,000 in revenue with the installation of one. Councilman Joseph Bjorgaard asked if red light cameras were still legal to install, with controversy being had with them lately at the upper levels of Texas government. He also wondered if the money would be collected through an agency or a local judge.

Council thanked Officer Ruppert for her report and steadfastly offered their support for the police department and its small but ample force.

City Manager Harold Rice gave his monthly report, which included information that the long-awaited four-way stoplight at US 87 and Hwy. 80 should be operational by March. He also said that the city should hold another workshop soon regarding plans for a new city hall building.

Several items were tabled until later in the meeting due to the absence of City Attorney Eddie Escobar.

In other news, council also:

  • Authorized submission of an application to the Texas General Land Office for a community development program grant in the amount of $600,000 resulting from Hurricane Harvey damage;
  • Authorized spending $10,000 in hotel/motel occupancy tax (HOT) funds to the Nixon Chamber of Commerce for a Cinco de Mayo celebration should they come up with a workable plan by the next council meeting;
  • Questioned the request to change the zoning of the Nixon swimming pool property from commercial to residential. The item was eventually tabled until more information could be obtained;
  • Councilman Justin La Fleur looked to put some teeth into the city's outdoor burning ordinance. The item was tabled until discussions could be had with the city attorney;
  • Discussed briefly the construction of a city “splash pad.” City Manager Rice said that he and splash pad representatives had looked at land near the library as a possible site, and added that costs for construction would be over $100,000. The issue was scheduled for a later executive session for consultation with the city attorney.