Gonzales’ plan to renovate the Victoria College Gonzales Center’s Workforce Training Center roof is momentarily on hold. Gonzales city council voted unanimously at its meeting June 13 to reject “all proposals for roof repairs at Victoria College Training Center.” According to the city, this decision was made due to a grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund falling though. The fund supports the economic recovery of communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. The city at one point believed the grant would provide 100 percent funding for the project.
“In Hurricane Harvey, we recognized there was damage. The damage was done by wind-driven rain, but there was no physical damage,” City Building Official William Ince said. “Since the grant that we were asking for had to do with damage, we could not prove that the damage—there physically wasn’t any metal removed, so that’s why they denied our claim.”
Ince said the roof is original from 1966, with an addition added in 1981. Victoria College General Manager Victor Ortiz said no students or staff working in the training center have complained to him about mold. He also said that the training center’s roof received a “black tar” treatment “about a year ago.” Besides the roof issues, the building has also had problems with water puddling in the parking lot and getting inside the building though Ince said that problem has been resolved.
Victoria College’s Gonzales campus has been a source of controversy since it came to town in 2007. The city owns and rents out the buildings that make up the campus to Victoria College, but the lease agreement only requires the college to pay $1 a year. On top of that, students residing in Gonzales County are required to pay an out-of-county fee to attend Victoria College. Ortiz explained that the Gonzales campus and its employees are “sustained by Victoria County taxes” and that a self-sufficient campus would require higher taxes for Gonzales County.
Gonzales Mayor Connie Kacir has said in the past she would like to address the lease agree and out-of-county tuition status. Though council struck down this roof fix, they said will regroup and revisit it soon.
“The roof is aged,” Kacir said. “Two years, more or less, that absolutely has to be done.”
Other news from the meeting:
- After a closed session job evaluation, council voted to give City Manager Tim Patek a three percent salary increase effective the next beginning pay period.
- Connie Kacir was officially sworn in for her second term as Gonzales mayor by Rep. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart.) Kacir won reelection in May defeating challengers Rob Brown and Bob Burchard.
- The Secretary of State’s Inspector’s Report did not find any violations with the administration of the May 2019 general election in Gonzales. City Attorney Dan Santee also praised the city for its handling of the election.
- The city intends to approve a plan of finance to issue certificates of obligation to finance street and drainage improvements and improvements to the city’s waterworks and sewer system.
- In a move that the city hopes will streamline the municipal court system, violating Gonzales’ Drought Contingency Plan is no longer a criminal offense. Instead, perpetrators will deal with a hearings officer and potentially face an administrative penalty.
- City Manager Tim Patek was given authority to purchase a Chevrolet Tahoe PPV for the police department and a Sludge Hauler Slinger truck for the Wastewater Department.
- Patek was also authorized to purchase of six automated ticket writers and related software to be used by the Municipal Court. The expenditure is not to exceed $15,459.38 from the Municipal Court Technology Fund.
- Gonzales Master Gardener’s annual Fall Plant Sale has a home at Texas Heroes Square. They are authorized to use the square and the parking lot.
- No comments were given during any of the public hearings.
- City staff is authorized to seek competitive bids and proposals in the “manner most advantageous to the city for health insurance broker services.”
- Three construction contracts were awarded: Diamond X Contracting, Inc. received the 2019 Street Improvement Projects, M&C Fonseca Construction, Inc. received 2019 Utility Improvements Projects and Rhett Stuman Construction Co., Inc. dba Bravo Roofing was awarded the roof replacement and repairs contract at Robert L. Brothers Library.
- A city water conservation plan was adopted.
- City Manager Tim Patek was authorized to execute addendum one to the agreement with Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative for the electric utility operations and day-to-day maintenance services. Council member Bobby O’Neal abstained from the vote due to his ties to GVEC.
- The fire department plans to sell an engine to Ottine and use the funds earned to buy a new truck. Council placed said engine in surplus, allowing for it to be sold.
- Council approved amended GEDC bylaws and proposed administrative services agreement between the city and GEDC.
- Tax resale of the property located at 108 Darst Street was approved.
- Action on the Independence Park streambank protection project was tabled.
- Transfer of ownership of the Bushong Collection and Henson Collection to Robert L. Brothers Library was accepted.
- Amendments to the approved performance agreement by and between GEDC and Texas Gonzales and Northern Railway were approved.
- Two ordinances regarding charter amendments adopted in 2015 and 2015 were passed.
- Budget amendments for the 2018-19 fiscal year were approved.
- Crystal Cedillo, Gonzales County Tax Assessor-Collector, was appointed to calculate and prepare the 2019 effective and rollback tax rates for the city.
- Minutes from April 11, 2019; May 9, 2019 and May 13, 2019 meetings were approved.
- Financial report for May 2019 was read and accepted as is.