If you want a bid, attend a city council meeting

There’s an old saying that “80 percent of success is just showing up.”

If that’s true, it was in full force Tuesday night when the Bridgeport City Council awarded competitive bids to two groups who were in attendance that night.

The first, Century 21’s Sue Meek, was awarded a bid to sell property on the Rutherford Ranch after her profile was evaluated by the council. Meek was one of two possible Realtors at the meeting competing for the bid, and Mayor Corey Lane took notice.

“I think anyone looking for work who shows up here deserves our attention,” Lane said. Meek’s bid was approved 3-0-1, with Councilman Jimmy Meyers abstaining. Councilman Bobby Brazier was absent.

That same principle applied to landscaping companies looking to maintain properties that have recently been turned over to the city. Cut and Grow, Butch Haas and All-Wise Garden Center were all considered for the bid, but representatives from Cut and Grow were in attendance Tuesday night. Their attendance worked in their favor, too.

“Based on the precedence of people that are here getting the bid, I say give it to Cut and Grow,” Councilman David Correll said.

Cut and Grow’s bid was approved 3-1, with Meyers dissenting.

At the end of the meeting, following a one-hour closed session, City Administrator Brandon Emmons announced his intent to retire Dec. 26.

“About two weeks ago, I met with most of the council members and announced my intent to retire,” Emmons said. “I spent the last 20 years of my life in municipal government, and I’ve had the opportunity to retire early and explore some opportunities in the private sector. My last day will be Dec. 26, and I’ll be able to explore some of my passions, such as foreign travel and nonprofit work.”

Emmons said he’s also getting married next year, and although it’s an exciting time, he’s also nervous about the career change.

“The four-and-a-half years that I’ve lived in Bridgeport have been great, and we’ve accomplished a lot,” he said. “Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be holding some special meetings to discuss how to proceed after I leave.”

The council also:

  • amended the city’s fee schedule to include a Brewer’s Self Distribution Permit and Distiller’s Agents Permit fee.
    “We don’t really need the fees now, but it’s a good idea to go ahead and start implementing them should the need ever come up,” City Secretary Jesica McEachern said.
  • amended the fiscal year 2013-14 official budget to account for actual revenues and expenses and
  • listened to a presentation from Brian Haynes of Halff Associates on the city’s road improvement project. The project would improve the city’s roads over three phases through April 2016 and cost $4,390,000. A contractor for the project should be chosen in December.

The council’s next meeting will be a special session 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, to discuss Emmons’ replacement. The next regular meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4. Both meetings will be at 900 Thompson St. and are open to the public.

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Meeting Previews for Saturday, October 18, 2014


BOYD ISD – The Boyd School Board meets 6:30 p.m. Monday and plans to discuss approving a Boyd High School field trip to the FFA National Convention in Louisville Kentucky as well as construction plans for a show animal project facility. The board will also consider softball field renovations.


LICENSING LIQUOR – The Bridgeport City Council will discuss adding alcohol beverage licenses and fees to the city’s code of ordinances at its meeting Tuesday night. It will also discuss fiscal year 2013-14 budget adjustments; award a city landscaping bid to either All Wise Garden Butch Haas, or Cut and Grow; and consider a proposal for a real estate broker to sell Rutherford Ranch. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 900 Thompson St. and is open to the public.

SOCCER, ANYONE? – The Bridgeport School Board will discuss adding a soccer program to the high school at its meeting Monday night. The board will also hear reports on the dual-language program and the district’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) score. It will also continue earlier discussions about possible facility renovations. These include Bull Memorial Stadium and baseball dugout renovations, as well as the building of an agriculture science barn. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at 2107 15th St. and is open to the public.


PARADISE COUNCIL – The Paradise City Council meets 6 p.m. Monday to discuss street closures for the Jingle Run and a church-sponsored autumn event. The council will also decide whether or not to purchase a building and discuss road repair and the Wise County Appraisal District’s contract for billing and collection services.

PISD MEETING – The Paradise School Board will meet 6:30 p.m. Monday and plans to set a date to canvass the Nov. 4 election results and for the employee appreciation dinner. The board will also consider the district’s contract with Wise County Appraisal District for collections.

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Bridgeport City Council waives fees for nonprofits

The Bridgeport City Council waived two building rental fees and approved various contracts at its meeting Tuesday night.

The council approved rental fee waiver requests from CASA of Jack and Wise counties and the Wise County Quilt Guild for the use of the Bridgeport Community Center.

CASA will be using the facility for their Christmas party Dec. 12-13, and the Quilt Guild host their annual quilt show there next August.

The waivers prompted a discussion about whether the council should delegate fee-waiving decisions to other departments, such as the Parks department.

“If the organization is a nonprofit and they’re giving back to the community, then I think we need to let others make that decision, instead of [the council deciding],” councilman David Correll said.

Mayor Corey Lane agreed, and said moving the decision-making process to city staff would be beneficial for the community.

City Administrator Brandon Emmons began the meeting by presenting the budget variance report for August 2014. The city came in nearly $100,000 under budget for the fiscal year, spending a little more than $4.3 million of its $4.4 million budget.

The council also:

  • voted to temporarily close some streets in the Oakland Heights neighborhood on Halloween from 5 to 9 p.m. for the safety of trick-or-treaters;
  • approved an agreement with Sensus for the leasing of meter-measuring technology for the city;
  • approved a $3,228.50 increase to the city’s contract with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) for the construction of a natural gas pipeline to the site of the future US Ply plant. The funds will come from the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation (EDC);
  • approved a $49,900 increase to the city’s contract with the TDA for the construction of two water line improvements in the city, again to be funded by the EDC;
  • and discussed absorbing the Cultural Arts Board into the Parks Department or Main Street initiative, since the board has not been active for two years.

The council’s next meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 21, at City Hall on 900 Thompson St. at 7 p.m. It is open to the public. Follow along on Twitter @JakeHarris4 for live updates as the meeting happens.

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Agenda Briefs for Saturday, October 4, 2014

BRIDGEPORT COUNCIL TO MEET – The Bridgeport City Council will discuss community center rental fees, Halloween road closures, radio-powered utilities measurements and natural gas and water line contracts at its meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 900 Thompson Street. The meeting is open to the public.

SCHOOL BOARD TRAINING SET – The Bridgeport school board will conduct its “Team of 8″ training and consider and take action on certified personnel at its meeting Monday night at 7 p.m. at 2107 15th Street.

CHICO COUNCIL MEETS TUESDAY – The Chico City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at City Hall. Agenda items include the Chicofest 5K route, Chicofest street closures, a lease/purchase of a backhoe, a purchase of a vehicle, a contract with the Wise County Appraisal District, various interlocal agreements with Wise County, a zoning change at 305 E. Kentucky and regular monthly reports.

P&Z COMMISSION TO MEET – Decatur’s Planning and Zoning Commission will meet 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, in the council chamber at City Hall. Replat applications from Brenda Scott, as well as feedback from the city council regarding variance requests to the city’s sidewalk, curb and gutter ordinances, and the handling of escrowed funds for those items, are among the items to be considered.

WEATHERFORD COLLEGE BOARD TO MEET – The trustees of Weatherford College, which operates a campus in Wise County, will meet 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, on the college’s main campus in Weatherford. Among the agenda items are reports on construction, enrollment and finances, contracts for printing, welding supplies, sonography and radiology equipment, policies and the annual evaluation of the college president, Dr. Kevin Eaton. The meeting is open to the public.

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Bridgeport City Council sets tax rate, works on library flooding

Bridgeport has a tax rate for fiscal year 2014-2015.

Property owners in the city will pay 58.75 cents per $100 valuation after action at Tuesday’s meeting of the Bridgeport City Council.

This rate is the maximum the council could have voted on in the past, and it’s the same rate the city has had for the last eight years. It includes 30.03 cents for maintenance and operations, and 28.72 cents for debt payments.

The vote was 4-0, as Councilman David Correll was absent.

The council also heard presentations from two entities Tuesday night – the Bridgeport Public Library and Siemens Co.

Library board president Smith and director of library services Cindy Macon presented their case for renovations to the library’s roof, which has been leaking more lately due to recent rain.

“It leaks, but it’s not predictable and it never leaks in the same spot twice, so it’s hard to fight,” Smith said.

The library building was built in the 1970s, but wasn’t purchased by the city for use as a library until the 1980s. Since then, the library has had two roofs, according to city administrator Brandon Emmons.

“There’s been flooding by the doors, too, and that’s been going on for the last five years,” Smith said.

Emmons added that the city is planning to renovate the building this year as the budget allows, namely on the library’s front door. He said he would send someone to assess the building’s damage and see how it could be fixed.

The other presentation, from Siemens representative Chad Nobles, focused on the annual report of the city’s Performance Contracting Agreement with the engineering company.

The city has saved a little more than $137,000 since it entered into its contract with Siemens, he said. That includes new light fixtures on streets and lower-cost lighting in city buildings.

Other business:

  • The council approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) aviation division for miscellaneous repairs and improvements on the airport. Speaking of the airport, there will be a pilots’ meeting at City Hall Monday at 2 p.m. to discuss the upcoming runway renovation.
  • The council approved a 36-month uniform rental agreement with G&K Services that will provide uniforms for field employees. The agreement will cost the city $5,788.64 per year.
  • An amended agreement between the Bridgeport Economic Development Corp. and Crisp Real Estate Partners, L.P. that clarified project expenses for a public access easement behind the Taco Bell on Highway 380 passed 4-0.

The council’s next regular meeting is Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at 900 Thompson Street. It is open to the public.

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Council Previews for Saturday, September 13, 2014

BUDGET, AIRPORT IMPROVEMENTS GET CITY’S FOCUS - The Bridgeport City Council will adopt its 2014-2015 tax rate of $0.5875 per $100 valuation at its meeting Tuesday, 7 p.m. Sept. 16 at 900 Thompson Street. The council will also discuss a uniform rental agreement with G&K Services and consider an agreement with TxDOT’s aviation division for improvements and repairs to the Bridgeport Municipal Airport.

DUGOUTS, AG BARNS ON AGENDA - The Bridgeport ISD will meet 7:30 p.m. Monday night at 2107 15th Street. At the meeting, the board is expected to discuss baseball dugouts, agricultural science barns and electronic message boards for each campus.

CRIME LAB, RESIGNATION ON COMMISSIONERS’ AGENDA – Wise County Commissioners face a lengthy agenda when they meet at 9 a.m. Monday on the third floor of the courthouse in Decatur, among them a request from Sheriff David Walker to acquire a building to be used as a future crime lab, and a “notification letter” received from Election Administrator Lanny Noble “for his resignation.” Other agenda items include bids on property sold in the recent “struck off property” auction, a final plat for Montecito Estates, cleaning out county road right-of-way to improve public safety and a discussion of conditions that might call for renewing the county’s burn ban. The meeting is open to the public.

DECATUR SCHOOL BOARD MEETS MONDAY – Decatur ISD administrators will provide the school board with their district and campus improvement plans at Monday’s meeting. The consent agenda includes the usual monthly items as well as approval of out-of-state travel for the National FFA Convention. The superintendent’s communications include a report on resignations/new hires, principals’ reports, directors’ reports, enrollment report, the high school ag project center and bond election. The meeting will take place at the DISD Administration Building, 307 S. Cates with a closed session at 6 p.m. followed by the open session at 7.

CHICO SCHOOL BOARD MEETS MONDAY – The Chico School Board will consider the Dads for Dragons program at Chico Elementary School at Monday’s meeting. In addition to the routine monthly items, the board will consider the sale of real estate, designation of 4-H activities as extracurricular school events and Extension agents as adjunct staff members, and district goals for the 2014-2015 school year. A work session with WRA Architects will take place following the board meeting in the elementary library. The regular meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in Room 150 of Chico Elementary School, 1120 Park Road.

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Bridgeport runway closure raises concern

The Bridgeport City Council approved a participation agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Tuesday night for the construction phase of an Airport Improvement Project at Bridgeport Municipal Airport.

The project calls for remodeling the runway and parallel taxiways, installing new runway lights and moving a Chevron pipeline on the airport property.

But the year-long project may cause some headaches for pilots who use the airport and keep their planes there. The runway could be shut down for up to six months – something the council addressed in an open meeting with TxDOT, pilots and business owners Tuesday morning.

At that meeting, airport customers spoke with TxDOT representatives about possible plane storage and runway use during the closure. A significant amount of time was spent discussing how pilots might use alternative runways while the airport was shut down.

“What we’ve found is that there is a grassy area at the airport that is around 3,000 feet that planes could take off and land from,” TxDOT Aviation representative Bill Gunn said. “I would say, do it at your own risk and don’t make a habit out of it, and make sure it’s for use by the local folks only … If you keep it local with the [plane] owner’s permission, then the FAA won’t get involved.”

Gunn added that the city wouldn’t be held liable if an accident were to happen while pilots were utilizing the grassy area.

City Administrator Brandon Emmons said the city’s goal is to keep the runway open as long as possible.

“If there is need for local traffic to get in and out, we’ll make that happen,” Emmons said. “Right now, we’re looking at allowing flights for two hours pre-sunrise and two hours post-sunset. The grassy area wouldn’t be listed as a runway but would be available as an option.”

Emmons said pilots would still be able to use the hangars at the airport to store their planes.

There are other airports nearby, but hangar space is at a premium.

The construction phase on the airport project begins Oct. 6. The council will meet with pilots, TxDOT and other contractors Sept. 22 and 23 to further discuss how to proceed.


In other city council meeting news:

  • The council approved an amendment to the city’s agreement with Progressive Waste Solutions to raise the amount residents pay to have their trash and recycling collected by 22 cents. The old rate of $11.88 per resident, per month, is being increased to $12.11 per month to be in line with consumer price index standards. The rate will go into effect Oct. 1.
  • The Bridgeport Police Department now has new weaponry after the council approved $2,960 to purchase 17 Kimber .45 handguns from 2K Pawn and Gun – to replace old ones bought in 2004. After trading in the old guns, the money spent on the new ones will come from the court security fund, which gets $3 every time a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor.
  • An amendment to lower the electric fees in the “Electric Schedule of Rates” section of the city’s code of ordinances was adopted after AEP reduced the city’s wholesale power costs. The amendment states the new electric rate for the upcoming fiscal year would be $0.1262 per kWh, down from the current $0.1291 per kWh that was established in February. The rate reduction would save residents up to $950,000 over the next four years, Emmons said.
  • An amendment to Section 9.403(b)(13) of the Code of Ordinances that clarified the city administrator’s job duties to “perform all duties as may be prescribed by the city council” passed 3-0, with Councilman Billy Fred Walker abstaining, after a 40-minute executive session. The previous version of the code had the mayor prescribing all duties.

“The way it was written, it had to be changed so that the decisions were made by the entire governing body of the council, so it was just an administration decision,” Emmons said.

  • The council also met in another executive session to discuss legal issues pertaining to the airport project at the end of the meeting.
  • A second public hearing on the 2014-2015 maximum tax rate of $0.5875 was held. The tax rate will go into effect Sept. 16.

The council’s next meeting is 7 p.m Sept. 16 at City Hall 900 Thompson Street and is open to the public.

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Bridgeport City Council to talk trash at meeting

The Bridgeport City Council will consider approving an amendment to its waste collection agreement with Progressive Waste Solutions in its meeting Tuesday night. The proposed change would raise the price of waste collection 22 cents per resident and would be put into effect on Oct. 1 if approved.

There will also be a second public hearing on the proposed maximum property tax rate of $0.5875 per $100 valuation for the 2014-2105 fiscal year.

The council will also:

  • consider adopting an ordinance that would reduce the electric rate from $0.1291 per kWh to $0.1262 per kWh;
  • consider approving an agreement with Texas Department of Transportation for the airport improvement construction phase of the Bridgeport Airport;
  • consider using Court Security Fund money to purchase 17 Kimber .45 firearms from 2K Pawn and Gun for the Bridgeport Police Department; and
  • consider amending the Bridgeport Code of Ordinances to clarify the duties of the city administrator, the position currently held by Brandon Emmons.

The meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, at City Hall, 900 Thompson St. It is open to the public.

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Bridgeport City Council to take action on food trucks Tuesday

The Bridgeport City Council will consider adopting an ordinance in its meeting Tuesday that would amend the city code to make it easier to operate food trucks within the city limits.

The issue was brought up at the council’s last meeting by Ryder Holley, who took issue with the fact that he had to move his Five Boys Ranch food truck every three hours just to comply with city ordinances.

Another item left over from last week’s meeting, Ken Kilpatrick’s sign ordinance amendment, will be discussed in a public hearing. Kilpatrick is asking the council to allow him to set up a pole sign at 1603 Chico Highway that would exceed the maximum gross surface area permitted.

The council will also:

  • hold its first public hearing on the proposed tax rate of $0.5875 per $100 valuation;
  • hold a public hearing to adopt the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget;
  • hear a presentation on the analysis of racial profiling statistics for police;
  • discuss the possibility of closing Bridgeport Municipal Airport during the runway extension project;
  • consider purchasing health and dental insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield, vision insurance from Superior Vision and life insurance from Assurant;
  • consider adopting a resolution opposing the proposed rules on natural gas rates being considered by the Railroad Commission;
  • discuss the sale of approximately 225 acres in the Grunder and BBB & CRR surveys;
  • consider awarding a bid and entering into a contract for water line improvements with the 2013 Texas Community Development Block Grant Project No. 713050; and
  • consider approving a lease agreement between the city and Robert Chaney for a haunted house.

The meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, in Bridgeport City Hall, 900 Thompson St. It is open to the public.

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Bridgeport city council talks food truck, sign ordinances

In its meeting Tuesday night, the Bridgeport City Council focused on setting precedents for what business owners can and can’t do on public and private property.

One discussion involved a city ordinance that allows food trucks to stay in Bridgeport for three hours at a time. Ryder Holley, owner of the Five Boys Ranch food truck, spoke to the council in a workshop item about changing the rule to allow him to stay on one piece of property for more than three hours.

Order Up

ORDER UP – Ryder Holley poses with his Five Boys Ranch food truck Friday in Bridgeport. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Currently, Holley operates his food truck restaurant, named for his five sons, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily on Halsell Street behind Lowe’s. Due to the ordinance, he must move the truck to a different spot every three hours.

Luckily for him, he owns two adjoining tracts, so he simply moves the truck 50 feet – from a gas station to Texas Exhaust – whenever he has to move.

“By the time everything inside the truck is stationary, we clean up all our spills, and we allow some cool-down time for the oils and stuff, I’d say it takes about an hour or a little over an hour [to move],” Holley said in an interview Wednesday. “All that just to move it 50 feet. It’s just more of a headache than it is for anything else.”

Chapter 4, Section 4.107, Subsection 5 of the Bridgeport City Ordinance, adopted in October 2010, says “No mobile food unit shall remain parked in one location for longer than three hours.”

City Administrator Brandon Emmons said that this was done in order to keep the city clean from potential litter, not to stifle business pursuits.

“Right now he’s complying with the ordinance, even though I don’t think that’s the spirit of the law as it was written,” Emmons said.

Holley’s suggestion to the council was to amend the city code to eliminate the three-hour rule if the food truck is within so many feet of a facility with a restroom and trash cans, as his is, or to investigate the possibility of setting up a food truck park in Harwood Park.

Holley said he would support both options.

“I wouldn’t partake in the truck park just because I’ve got a good location [on Halsell], but I’m for both of them,” Holley said. “I think they’re both good ideas. Competition in the food industry is good business.”

The proposal is expected to be an action item at the coucil’s next meeting.


The next business owner with a request was Ken Kilpatrick, owner of Ken’s Appliances. Kilpatrick wants to hire people to carry mobile signs around town to promote an upcoming sale that he’s having.

The problem, the council said, was that those sign walkers would be near traffic right-of-ways – a big no-no according to the city code, which states that “a person commits an offense if the person attaches, erects or maintains any sign over or in the public rights-of-way” unless that sign specifically has to do with movement and traffic control.

Kilpatrick said he wants to “stay legal” with the signs, and that “[He's] just trying to function as a retailer.”

Mayor Corey Lane, who owns Furniture Supercenter in Bridgeport, said that allowing Kilpatrick to operate the mobile signs anywhere in town would not only cause traffic problems, but would also open the floodgates for a variety of competing business practices.

“Theoretically, if we let you do this, we could have everyone with a competing business walk in front of your store when you have a sale, advertising for their own sale. We don’t want that to happnen,” Lane said.

The council could not reach a solution on the matter at Tuesday’s meeting, so they tabled a motion to amend the code and will put it on the agenda for their next meeting.


The council also:

  • took a record vote on setting the maximum 2014-15 fiscal year city tax rate at $0.5875 per $100 property valuation. The final tax rate will be voted on and adopted Sept. 16;
  • unanimously approved amending the 2013-14 fiscal year budget to allow a $62,081 increase in funding for the runway extension project at the Bridgeport Municipal Airport;
  • approved mosquito spraying within the city limits at night, with Councilman David Correll abstaining; and
  • unanimously approved vacating a water line easement and trading 3.57 acres of property in the J.M. Kirkman survey for a separate .723 acre waterline easement.

The council’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, at City Hall, 1900 Thompson St. It is open to the public.

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Bridgeport City Council to discuss tax rate Tuesday

The Bridgeport City Council is expected to consider voting on a tax rate for the 2014 fiscal year at its meeting on Tuesday. If the proposed rate passes, there will be a maximum tax rate of $0.5875 per $100 valuation.

The council will also:

  • set dates for a public 2014 budget hearing, tax rate hearing and tax rate adoption;
  • consider amending the current budget to allow for $62,000 more to be added to the airport fund to pay for the runway extension project;
  • take action on possible amendments to the Bridgeport Code of Ordinances;
  • consider vacating a water line easement on the grounds that the property is unnecessary for use by the public;
  • consider exchanging 3.57 acres of land in the J.M. Kirkman survey for a separate .723 acre waterline easement;
  • consider a motion on mosquito spraying within the city limits; and
  • discuss the possible creation of a food truck park in Bridgeport.

The meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, in Bridgeport City Hall at 900 Thompson St. It is open to the public.

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Evans moves from Bridgeport Chamber to City

On Aug. 11, Tiffany Evans will begin her new job as the Main Street and public relations manager for the city of Bridgeport.

Evans, the current Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce executive director, accepted a job with the city after the resignation of prior Main Street Manager Amber Fogelman prompted the city to interview applicants.

“We’re real excited to have her,” City Administrator Brandon Emmons said. “She’s going to be a great addition to the team.”

Evans will hold her position at the Chamber until the end of July and will continue to work with them after she starts working for the city – something that she is excited about at her new job.

“I’m looking forward to still being able to use all of the relationships with the Chamber in my new position, especially overseeing the new Main Street program and the Main Street Advisory Board,” Evans said.

Evans, who has led the Chamber since 2011, said she will help the organization until they find her replacement.

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Bridgeport city council discusses mosquitoes, maintenance

The Bridgeport city council approved three of four action items on its agenda and discussed the merits of mosquito spraying at its meeting Tuesday night.

The council unanimously agreed to install a light at the Community Service flagpole in Harwood park.

They also approved a three-year, $17,000 airport maintenance agreement with Vaisala and a reimbursement agreement with West Texas LPG Pipeline Limited Partnership.

After a member left the closed session, no action was taken on a city ordinance designed to clarify the responsibilities of city administration due to lack of quorum.

Prior to that, the council unanimously renewed a Youth Services Standards of Care Policy for the parks and rec department. This policy makes the department exempt from Texas’ standards on childcare facilities, since the department qualifies as an after-school care facility and not a childcare facility. It has been in place since 2007.

Council members also discussed whether or not spraying for mosquitoes in the city limits would be healthy for citizens. Mayor Corey Lane said he would rather not spray if harmful chemicals were involved.

“I’d rather slap a mosquito than poison a kid,” Lane said. “I have a hard time spraying for convenience’s sake.”

In a survey conducted by the city, 90 percent of Bridgeport residents polled supported spraying. Mosquito spraying is expected to be an action item on the next meeting’s agenda.

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Bridgeport City Council to renew after-school care

The Bridgeport city council will vote Tuesday on a policy to make after-school programs at the parks and recreation department safer for children.

In a public hearing during their regular meeting, council members will discuss renewing an ordinance that would implement a Youth Services Standards of Care Policy for the department’s after-school programs and camps.

There will also be a workshop to discuss nighttime mosquito spraying within the city limits. A survey conducted by the city says that 90 percent of Bridgeport residents polled support the spraying.

The council will also consider:

  • approving a three-year, $17,000 maintenance agreement with Vaisala to provide maintenance on the Automated Water Observation System (AWOS) at the Bridgeport Municipal Airport;
  • approving a reimbursement agreement with West Texas LPG Pipeline Limited Partnership to remove part of a gas pipeline on airport property;
  • reviewing the duties and responsibilities of city administration in ordinance 2011-17; and
  • a request from the Bridgeport Lion’s Club to install lights at the Community Service commemorative flagpole in Harwood Park.

In the consent agenda, officials will review minutes and hear a presentation on the May budget variance report from City Administrator Brandon Emmons.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 900 Thompson St., and is open to the public.

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Council to consider tree-trimming contract

Bridgeport city officials continue to follow through with budget packages outlined last year.

At its meeting Tuesday, the city council will consider awarding a bid to trim trees away from power lines.

During the budget-writing process last year, city officials allocated $50,000 for the project.

The council will begin this year’s budget process Tuesday by discussing the policies that guide the development of the city’s financial plan.

Also during the meeting, the council will consider:

  • advertising to sell 225 acres of the Rutherford Ranch property, which was purchased by the city in 2008 to extend the runway at the city’s airport;
  • granting a 90-day extension to a previously granted special exception to the masonry ordinance for Holt Cat on U.S. 380.
  • proclaiming July Parks and Recreation Month; and
  • the June 17 meeting minutes and reviewing the city’s investment policy in the consent agenda.

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Bridgeport City Council to consider change in charges

The fee to rent the local performance hall, and base charges for sewer service, could both change in the city of Bridgeport.

The city council will consider the items at its meeting Tuesday.

During its meeting June 3, council members expressed interest in amending the current sewer rate ordinance to allow prior account to be used in the event the customer moves to a different location within the city.

The proposed ordinance was drafted to amend the sewer rates charged to allow customers to use their prior history in the event a water average is not available at the customers’ request.

Currently, if a resident moves from one location to another within the city, they must take the city-wide minimum, which may be significantly higher.

The parks board and staff are recommending the cost to rent Bridgeport Stage change to:

  • $150 for 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
  • $200 for 4 p.m. to midnight;
  • $300 all day.

In addition to the June 3 meeting minutes, the council will consider in the consent agenda appointments to the economic development corp. board, library board, Main Street board, parks board, planning and zoning commission and stagecoach committee.

As the zoning board of adjustment, the council will also hear a request for a special exception for a porch that does not meet the rear yard setback requirement.

They will also consider an aiport lease transfer from Melvin Farrell to Stan Caruthers and Mike Read.

The meeting, which begins at 7 p.m., will be held at City Hall, 900 Thompson St. It is open to the public.

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Bridgeport City Council swears in new council

The group that adjourned Tuesday’s Bridgeport city council meeting was a different body from the one that started it.

Outgoing Mayor Keith McComis and council members A.Z. Smith, Bobby Brazier and Billy Fred Walker began the meeting, as outgoing councilmembers Kathy Kennedy and Jimmy Meyers did not attend.

The first group named Erika McComis acting city secretary while Jesica McEachern is on maternity leave, then canvassed the votes from the May 10 election – the last action of their terms for Smith and Keith McComis.

Before the vote, outgoing mayor McComis expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve the city.

“It’s been a real pleasure,” he said. “It may not have always been popular, but I always did what I thought we needed to do for the majority of the people. I felt like that’s who we were supposed to represent. I may have made some people mad, but I can live with that. I really had the concern of the majority of the people of Bridgeport.

“We made a lot of accomplishments in the last three years, and it hasn’t been just one entity. It’s been a partnership between the council and the employees of the city.”

Incoming Mayor Corey Lane presented the two with a framed proclamation and nameplate previously displayed in the council chambers.

“It is absolutely my pleasure as the incoming mayor to present these certificates,” Lane said. “The transition before you in a community like this is an incredible experience.

“Right after I was elected mayor and the results were known, I got phone calls from Keith (McComis), from many community members, from council members, all offering their support, their guidance, their information, their help It’s a very humbling experience, folks, to know that the people that you campaigned against are still willing to help. I can’t tell you how impressed I am. I look forward with optimism at the things that we can do here in Bridgeport.”

After taking the oath of office, Lane opened the floor to the other incoming council members.

“I feel very blessed and honored to have been voted in by the people,” said David Correll, who replaced Smith in Place 1. “I’m here for the people. I look forward to visiting with them and doing what we can for them.”

“I also want to thank everyone for their support,” said Calvin Coursey, who won Place 2. “I’ve lived in Bridgeport all of my life, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve the city.”


In order to ensure that the newly seated council members had sufficient time to research the information before making a decision, officials postponed a decision on awarding a proposal for the installation of an on-site septic system at Bridgeport Municipal Airport and granting a special exception allowing a 1,088 square-foot-home in the 1200 block of Brush Street. City ordinance, which was amended in February, says dwellings must be at least 1,200 square feet.

They did:

  • reappoint Karen Green to a third two-year term as municipal court judge and gave her a 3-percent raise.
  • waive the rental fee for the pavilion and agree to temporarily closing 10th Street between Halsell Street and the entrance to the Building Center and Cates Street from 9th to 11th streets 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 7, for the Cub Scout Soap Box Derby.
  • authorize the Wise County Appraisal District to sell real property previously struck off the tax roll for delinquent taxes.
  • approve the May 6 meeting minutes.
  • review the May 8-21 payment report in the amount of $570,597.17.

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Bridgeport to swear in new council

Half of the Bridgeport City Council will change Tuesday.

After the old council canvasses the votes, newly-elected mayor Corey Lane and councilmembers David Correll and Calvin Coursey will be sworn in, joining sitting council members Jimmy Meyers, Bobby Brazier and Billy Fred Walker to consider city business.

The agenda includes:

  • awarding a proposal for the installation of an on-site septic system at Bridgeport Municipal Airport;
  • authorizing the Wise County Appraisal District to sell real property previously struck off the tax roll for delinquent taxes;
  • appointing Erika McComis as acting city secretary while Jesica McEachern is on maternity leave;
  • granting a special exception allowing a 1,088 square-foot-home in the 1200 block of Brush Street. City ordinance, which was amended in February, says dwellings must be at least 1,200 square feet.
  • reappointing Karen Green to a third 2-year term as municipal court judge.
  • waiving the rental fee for the pavilion and temporary closing 10th Street between Halsell Street and the entrance to the Building Center and Cates Street from 9th to 11th streets on June 7 for the Cub Scout Soap Box Derby.
  • reviewing minutes and the May 8-21 payments of $570,597.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 900 Thompson St. It is open to the public.

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Lane brings experience to city council

Corey Lane may be new to the governing body of the city of Bridgeport, but he is no stranger to politics.

Lane, a business owner/operator, ousted Councilwoman Kathy Kennedy, who was elected to the council in 2012, in the race for mayor.

“I may not have served on the council, but experience comes from a lot of different sources,” Lane said. “I certainly understand how the game is played.”

Before opening Furniture Supercenter in 2008, he worked as a political consultant and even fancied himself a politican at the national level when he was “young and ambitious.”

“But then I realized there are a lot of unscrupuluos people in that world, and I didn’t want to be a part of that,” he said. “Politics is about compromise, and I couldn’t do that. I believe it’s important for the values you have to stand alone.”

Those values will drive the changes Lane plans to bring to the council – both in-house and by the public.

“Voters want to see a change in the direction of the council,” he said. “There are some attitude challenges that are happening. City government is not perceived as being friendly … We’ll bring a different attitude when we get started.

“There are some wonderful people working for the city, and they can and will do their jobs,” he continued. “But they’ve been micromanaged. I intend to get out of their way. These are wonderful people that can make a difference if they’re allowed to do what they’re supposed to do.”

Lane said he also hopes to alleviate a longtime burden for the benefit of not just citizens, but also potential businesses – electricity.

“Bridgeport is really a neat place to be,” he said. “It may never be the sprawling metropolis that Decatur is because it’s not on a major highway. But we are not singing our praises loud enough to let people to know that we have a lot to offer.

“As mayor, I will represent not only our constituents but also represent Bridgeport and the community at large, inviting businesses to come in and set up here,” he continued. “We have issues with electric utilities. But we’ll address those issues so that we can attract businesses that will bring jobs for people and prosperity for all.”

Although he hopes to work with businesses, his focus will be the body of constituents who elected him to office.

“The concept that people cast their vote to give you their trust and say, ‘We want you to go serve for us’ is incredibly humbling,” he said. “I don’t take that responsibility lightly …

“I will represent the voters to the city council, and I can assure the voters that their issues are going to be considered and heard,” he continued. “Not everyone is going to get what they want; that’s not the way it works. But they will be heard. And if that’s the case, the council is doing their job … We’ll certainly do the best we can.”

Lane – along with David Correll, who defeated incumbent A.Z. Smith for place 1 on the council – and Calvin Coursey, who edged Art Velasquez for place 2 – will be sworn in at the scheduled council meeting May 20.

“Once we’ve been sworn in, they’ll have us take over the meeting,” Lane said. “The expectation is that the agenda will be procedural stuff at best … I wouldn’t want to vote on something I have not researched.”

Lane admits he has a lot to learn but is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’ve already been in contact with the city administrator, and I’m looking forward to going through orientation in the next week to see what hand we’ve been dealt,” he said Tuesday. “The previous mayor and council have lots of things going. So we’ll look at all of that to decide to continue the programs that make sense and abandon those that don’t.

“I looking forward to getting started.”

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Administrator receives a raise

Last April, Bridgeport City Administrator Brandon Emmons got a contract extension. This year, he gets a raise.

After meeting in executive session, the city council Tuesday unanimously approved increasing his salary by 3 percent, effective Monday.

His base salary will be $100,780. Emmons received a 3-percent raise in April 2012.

“He did a great job getting the city out of the financial mess it’s been in,” Mayor Keith McComis said. “I am very pleased with the work he’s done.”

The extension to his contract last year goes through April 2015. Emmons has been with the city since April 2010.


For the third – and last, they hope – time in the last two months, the council granted a special exception to the same sidewalk rule.

The city’s design manual requires a sidewalk be included in building construction. In all instances where the exception was granted, there are no other sidewalks in the neighborhoods where the properties in question are located.

The exception granted at Tuesday’s meeting is for property in the 2200 block of Stonegate Blvd. According to City Secretary Jesica McEachern, the tract is one of the last developable lots in the area, and there are no other sidewalks in the subdivision.

During a workshop in the last half of the meeting, officials directed staff to amend the design manual so that sidewalks would be required at the start of a new development and not on all new construction in existing developments that do not have sidewalks already.

The amended policy will be voted on at a future meeting.


At Tuesday’s meeting, the council also:

  • after meeting in closed session, approved by a vote of 3-2 to purchase the property at 1308 10th St. for $275,000, to be paid out of the unrestricted general fund balance. McComis said the city hopes to establish a veterans’ museum there. Councilmen Jimmy Meyers and A.Z. Smith opposed.
  • allocated $14,900 in unappropriated funds for a Christmas tree, lights and other holiday decorations for city buildings. “We need to do whatever it is that we have to do to build a feeling of community through this city,” Councilwoman Kathy Kennedy said. “Christmastime is the one time we can all band together.”
  • entered into an agreement with Gary Osier Presents and Mars Hill Band for a Concert in the Park Saturday, July 26. The band plays Texas country and some ’80s pop, which was what citizens voiced as their preference on a Facebook poll.
  • amended an interlocal agreement with the Bridgeport Economic Development Corp. outlining the funding responsibilities of all parties involved in the construction of a natural gas line to the future site of U.S. Ply Inc. A grant from the Texas Capital Fund will pay for most of the project. Any overage will be captured by the EDC.
  • granted a special exception for an RV cover that does not meet the side yard setback in the 2200 block of Stonegate Blvd. The council had granted the property owner, Terry Carlton, a special exception more than a year ago for a carport. According to city ordinance, property owners have 90 days to pull a permit to build under the special exception. Carlton was asked to reapply for a special exception, and he did, this time for an RV cover. He also asked for and was granted a six-month extension to begin construction.
  • proclaimed April National Safe Digging Month and April 13-19 Telecommunicator Week.
  • reviewed the April 3-16 payment report totaling $651,693.71.
  • heard a budget variance report on the March financials.
  • approved the April 1 meeting minutes.

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