NEWS HEADLINES

Council opts to ‘re-light’ downtown

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, November 23, 2013

All will be merry and bright in downtown Bridgeport after all.

City officials had opted not to replace bulbs in downtown Christmas lights this year, citing a liability.

But after fielding various complaints from downtown merchants and after an alternative plan yielded no better results, staff will hang lights and other decorations on Halsell Street.

After a request from Councilwoman Kathy Kennedy, city officials sought bids for hanging Christmas lights on select city buildings and erecting a community Christmas tree.

But returning quotes totaled $14,500 for lights and from $10,550 to another $14,000 for the tree, not including labor from city staff.

“I like the town lit up as much as anybody,” Councilman Bobby Brazier said. “But not for that much money.”

Instead, officals opted to set a limit of $5,000 for decorations for the 26 lighted poles on Halsell Street. In addition, the city’s utility department will replace light bulbs on the existing strands of lights that outline downtown buildings.

“My intent, whenever I asked for us to look at this, was to do something that would unify the community,” Kennedy said. “… If we go ahead and put the lights up like we’re talking about, put up decorations like we normally do and not spend that $20,000 … that would serve that purpose.”

CITY CHANGES ENGINEER

Council members also met for special meetings Monday, Tuesday before the regular meeting and Thursday to interview prospects for legal and engineering services.

After interviewing three candidates Monday, the council voted to retain the services of Taylor, Olson, Adkins, Sralla and Elam (TOASE) for city attorney.

The motion was made by Brazier and seconded by Jimmy Meyers. The motion carried 4-0 with A.Z. Smith abstaining.

On Tuesday before the meeting and Thursday, the council met with eight prospects for engineering services. After interviews on Thursday, Brazier motioned to change to Half Associates Inc. Meyers seconded, and the motion carried 4-0.

IN OTHER NEWS

During their regular meeting Tuesday, the council also:

  • awarded to Driver Pipeline a $258,447.40 bid for the construction of a natural gas pipeline to the future U.S. Ply plant site. It will be paid for with a Texas Capital Fund grant.
  • instated a fee of $50 in addition to the normal single lot fee of $450 for single lots to be converted to a double-casket lot at East Side Cemetery.
  • cast 42 votes for each Ray Cook Jr. and Mike Hurd to the Wise County Appraisal District board of directors.
  • changed the zoning of four lots in the 1800 block of 9th Street from single-family residential to manufactured housing district after a public hearing drew no comment.
  • approved an interlocal agreement with the county to provide fire protection and first responder services to designated unincorporated areas. In turn, the county compensates the fire department $4,200 a month.
  • awarded a $1,500 facade grant to The Hope Chest to help with the expense of removing the existing slip cover, restoring the transom windows, installing an awning and repointing the brick that was damaged in a storm in the summer of 2012.
  • disbursed $2,000 in hotel occupancy tax dollars to the high school boys basketball booster club to advertise for the Christmas Invitational Tournament to be held during the winter break.
  • authorized the temporary closure of Halsell Street between 9th and 16th streets 5:15 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, for the lighted Christmas parade.
  • reviewed the Nov. 7-20 payment report in the amount of $630,479.12.

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