Smiley council discusses unpaid city bills


The Smiley City Council met for a special called meeting Monday evening.

The council discussed several items, including financial statements and multiple unpaid bills. Mayor Lisa Benavides reported the city currently has just a little more than $22,000 in its general fund.

“We have an outstanding bill from the Republic which is our trash. One of them is for more than $9,440. Those are all past due accounts,” Benavides said.

The city has received several letters from collectors and officials had to call them to allow the city to make payment plans due to funds being so low, Benavides explained.

The city has been behind paying its trash bill for several months, according to Benavides; with follow-up questions being asked from a concerned citizen as to why the city was behind on paying its bills.

Benavides responded this was before her time as mayor, adding the city is working to get the trash bills paid so Smiley residents can still have regular trash pick ups.

“For dumpsters that are (normally available) on Saturdays, for right now, we're going to have to close them down because those are a total of $3,000 per month,” Benavides said. “Along with owing so much money at this time, we can’t afford to have it every other Saturday.”

Benavides apologized for the “inconvenience” and insisted the city is working with the waste disposal company to pay any overdue bills.

The council went over several other unpaid bills for asphalt, telephone, and county elections.

“Because (we only have) the $23,000 in our [general fund] account, we do not have enough to pay all these bills that we owe,” Benavides said. The June and past due bills are for a total of $128,466.80.

The council approved 3-0 to pay any bills that the city can afford to pay at this time.

“We're trying to work with everybody and trying to get the bills divided and payments the best that we can. But they [the collectors] are wanting their money because it's been so far back that they haven't been paid,” Benavides said.

In other business, the council discussed and clarified the changing of permit fees. The water/sewer taps will go up from $1,000 to $1,350 for both residential and commercial customers. Food permits will be $100 per month, with water applications at $25; garage sale permits $10 per household; and building permits at $100 per month.

The Council approved and discussed the following agenda items:

• approved the audit results for fiscal year 2019-20 by Goldman, Hunt and Notz, LLP

--approved the updated version of the interlocal agreement between Gonzales County and the Smiley Marshal's Office.

• approved the updated version of the interlocal agreement between the Gonzales County and the Smiley Fire Department.

• discussed the status of dogs being held and will talk to the city attorney about what the city can do with them.