City Council swears in Jordan, Kridler; council votes no on YMCA funding


The Gonzales City Council held their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 14 at Gonzales City Hall — the date had been moved during a previous meeting.

The council kicked off the meeting by certifying the elections for District 1 and District 2; Joseph Kridler of District 1 was unopposed, and Mariah Jordan defeated incumbent Sherri Koepp in District 2.

Koepp served one three-year term on the council and Mayor Steve Sucher appreciated her service with the city.

“Sherri, I just want to thank you for your service to the city. I hope that city hasn't seen the last of you in terms of volunteer leadership. Thank you so much,” Sucher said.

Jordan, one of the city’s first African-American women elected to the council, was sworn into office by County Judge Pat Davis. She is looking forward to serving the city of Gonzales.

“I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to be selected to represent our community as a whole. So thank you again and thank you everyone for showing up. I appreciate you,” Jordan said.

In regular council business, the YMCA was the hot topic from Tuesday’s meeting.

Members of the YMCA Gonzales were present to ask the council to provide funding to the YMCA-Gonzales in an amount not to exceed $21,270 to incorporate the city’s Summer Youth Program into the YMCA-Gonzales Summer Camp Program.

Councilwoman Ronda Miller liked the idea of the YMCA Summer Camp, but she has concerns about how it’ll impact the city’s youth program.

“The city youth program was requested to be brought back and we did bring it back last year for the first time and it was very successful,” Miller said.

Miller added she liked the idea of what the YMCA is providing, but she would prefer to have programs that the city was providing to its residents without charge.

The city budgeted $21,000 last year for the city’s summer youth program, Councilman Lorenzo Hernandez said, but the city only used $12,273 of what was budgeted for its own program.

Kridler and Jordan were for the YMCA’s request, and Kridler suggested that the city designate what had been budgeted for the summer program to go to the YMCA for this year. If the YMCA program is deemed unsuccessful, then the city could return to providing its own summer program.

Jordan asked if the YMCA does background checks and Lauren Harris, executive director of YMCA-Gonzales, said the YMCA does federal background checks. The city doesn’t do any background checks for its program because the volunteers are under age 18, City Secretary Kristina Vega said.

Miller made the motion to not accept the request for funding for $21,270 by the YMCA and move forward with the city’s own summer program. Miller said she wants to give the city’s summer program a chance and it is something good for the city.

With Hernandez and Miller against the YMCA proposal and Kridler and Jordan in favor, Sucher’s vote proved to be a tiebreaker and the request was voted down 3-2.

Early in the meeting, the council discussed what direction they want to use to discuss the financials for the JB Wells Park.

City Manager Tim Crow asked the council how to construct the report on JB Wells for future meetings, he said.

“It's been suggested that we break it down into finer detail to each specific building. I just need direction from the council and whether you are satisfied with the way I give the report or if you want more detail?” Crow said.

Miller suggested to Crow that the city needs to break down more details on JB Wells to find out where they are losing money, she said.

“I think we need to allocate our expenses not in one lump sum, but to each one. I know there's an issue about time and staffing. Possibly you're about to run into budget planning, possibly, if the staff out there truly just does not have time to do that little extra bookkeeping, maybe get a part-time person for maybe a year so we can capture a good picture of what's coming in and what's coming out,” Miller said.

Miller added it would worth it for the city for the little increase in salary to find out where JB Wells is losing $250,000.

“I'm gonna say I'm an advocate for JB Wells and I want it to succeed, but it has to be sustainable. Because every time we ask questions, people think we're against it and I’m not. I want it to do well,” Miller said.

The council approved the following agenda items:

--approved the disposition and potential sale of surplus real property

--approved Authorizing the appointments to the Gonzales Independent Golf Course Advisory Board, Roger M. Dreyer Memorial Airport Advisory Board and Zoning Board of Adjustments & Sign Control Board and table the Gonzales Convention & Visitors Bureau for another meeting.

--approved Accepting the Proposals and Awarding the Contract for the 2024 Street Improvement Projects to Dirt Boys, Inc.

--approved Waiving the course closure fees from the 8th Annual Bill Ploetz Memorial Golf Tournament held on April 27th and 28th, and Authorizing the City Manager to execute a license agreement with the Gonzales Golf Association.

--approved Amending the City of Gonzales’ Future Land Use Map within the Gonzales Comprehensive Plan changing the designation from “Single Family” to “Multi-Family” on property within the 1600 and 1700 Block of Huisache.

--approved Amending the Official Zoning Map by Zoning Property Parcels 11476 and 11474; more commonly known as the 1600 and 1700 Block of Huisache from SF-6 Single Family 6 District to MF, Multi-Family Residential District.