City Council, Chamber reach agreement on administrative services, tourism


The Gonzales City Council met for its regular scheduled meeting Thursday, March 14, at Gonzales City Hall.

One of the big agenda items that was discussed at the meeting was to execute an amended contract with the Chamber of Commerce for hosting and operations of the Gonzales Visitor Information Center.

“This is an agreement between the city and the Chamber of Commerce, which would be giving an opportunity for the Chamber employees to fall under the city employment where they can receive benefits,” Gonzales City Manager Tim Crow said. “We believe this would be a great benefit to the community, because those employees having benefits would possibly stay in employment longer, which when people stay longer, their company's competencies build and their service opportunity enhances.”

In the past months, the Chamber board's focus has been on not merely hiring yet another new Chamber director, but we've been concerned in finding ways to bring lasting stability to the Chamber,” Chamber officials said in a statement. “We recognize that without doing this first, the prospect of strengthening and solidifying the Chamber's administrative leadership would be less than it could be to best serve the future of Gonzales.”

Chamber officials met with a former director of the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce last year and determined a partnership with the city “would bring a great advantage to our community.”

The city will provide administrative services to the Chamber and serve as “the employer of record for employees including payroll disbursement, retirement, medical, and life insurance options.” The Chamber will then reimburse the city for its personnel costs “much in the same way the City has reimbursed the Chamber for hosting the Tourism Coordinator's position for the last couple of years.” “Governing responsibilities of the Chamber's Board of Directors, consisting of member-elected representatives, will remain the same,” the Chamber statement continued. “This strategic collaboration between the Chamber and the City ushers in an exciting time for our future! We foresee this partnership providing the stability it's been lacking to better benefit its members, staff, and the community!”

Councilwoman Ronda Miller expressed concerns about the agenda item and asked the council to postponed it for another meeting.

Miller said she had spoken to the Chamber president, who had told her that he had not seen the contract.

“There are some some issues, I think it has not been presented to the members. And there's an issue and may not apply to the chamber, but I know some groups that have paid membership and whenever you change their bylaws and regulations, you have to send out those to each of the members,” Miller said.

Crow said he had a discussion with the Chamber and that they wanted to bring their employees under the same umbrella and provide them benefits and that the Chamber would reimburse the city for the cost.

“The city can't take on more employees without a revenue sources and we're not getting any revenue out of this, it just would be more another expense for the city if they weren't reimbursing it. And I'm concerned about the financial integrity of the Chamber,” Miller said.

The council approved the agenda item by a 3-1 vote with Miller voting against and Mayor Steve Sucher and Councilman Poochy Kridler and Councilwoman Sherri Koepp voting in favor. Councilman Lorenzo Hernandez was not present at the meeting.

The Chamber board had approved the amended agreement at a meeting in January.

In other business, the council approved or table the following agenda items:

– approved to table Authorizing the City Manager to Solicit Proposals for Municipal Solid Waste Collection, Disposal and Recycling services in the manner most advantageous to the City of Gonzales for the April meeting.

– approved Authorizing the appointments to the Gonzales Convention & Visitors Bureau and Main Street Advisory Board; Keith Berger and Del de los Santos to Gonzales Main Street BOD, and Don Page Jr. to the Gonzales Convention & Visitors Bureau BOD.

– approved accepting the Proposal and Awarding the Contract to LSPS Solutions, LLC. to Develop an Inventory of Water Service Lines and Compiling Data to comply with the USEPA’s Lead and Copper Rule Revisions issued on January 15, 2021.

– approved Work Order #75 in the amount of $69,750 for Engineering, Surveying, CMT and Construction Administration Services for the 2024 Street Improvement Projects.

– approved Authorizing the City Manager to submit, and accept if awarded, an application and associated documents to the Office of the Governor, for up to $80,000 in Operation Lone Star Grant Funds, for the Purchase of License Plate Readers and overtime for the Gonzales Police Department Officers and Dispatchers.

– approved Authorizing the City Manager to Submit, and Accept if Awarded, an Application and Associated Documents to the Texas General Land Office (GLO) for $2,999,400 in CDBG-MIT grant funds for Infrastructure Improvements to Mitigate the Impact of Future Flooding Events.

--approved Authorizing the City Manager to Submit, and Accept if Awarded, an Application and Associated Documents to the Texas General Land Office (GLO) for grant funding, not to exceed $200,000, to the Resilient Communities Program (RCP) for the update of the City of Gonzales Comprehensive Plan.

--approved Amending Chapter 2 Animal Control of the City of Gonzales Code of Ordinances.

--approved Authorizing amendments to the City of Gonzales Code of Ordinances Sections 4.401, 14.201, 14.403, 14.404, 14.604, and Sections 6.701 through 6.710 regarding mobile food vending and mobile food vending courts.