Chico City Council agrees to rent gym, reviews budget

The City of Chico’s municipal complex has proven so popular with outside renters that the city had to get a little creative to find some extra space.

Mayor J.D. Clark explained that Highpoint Athletics, a gymnastics program, began renting the gym at the facility back in the spring. Now that fall is almost here, the gym is needed by Victory Christian Academy for its athletics program. VCA has been a frequent renter of the facility in the past.

Clark said the municipal complex also includes a stand-alone metal gym that was not being regularly used. It has a concrete floor covered by carpet. While that setup would not be good for basketball or volleyball games, it turned out to be perfect for the needs of Highpoint Athletics, Clark said.

Last week, the council agreed to enter into a one-year lease agreement with the company. Highpoint will pay the city $1,100 a month to cover rent and utilities and be responsible for any maintenance or cleaning in exchange for exclusive use of the facility.

“It’s a space we had available, and a private entity is going to be able to come in and do business,” Clark said. “It really benefits both of us. It creates something new for the kids that wasn’t there before.”

The council also reviewed next year’s budget. Clark said it was prepared using the same tax rate as the current fiscal year: 48 cents per $100 valuation.

The proposed balanced budget includes revenues and expenditures of $2,231,628. One major addition to the budget is $543,000 for the city’s Texas Community Development Block Grant for a new water filtration system. That amount includes $269,000 in grant funding and $274,000 from local funding.

The budget also includes a 4 percent cost of living increase for city employees, a new backhoe and funding for the next phase of street improvements, according to the current five-year plan.

A public hearing on the budget and tax rate will be held at the Sept. 2 council meeting.

In other business, the council approved moving forward with plans to provide potable water to P&K Stone for office use only at its planned quarry just outside the city limits.

According to the agreement, the company would be required to pay for all of the associated costs. Earlier this year, the city agreed to sell P&K wastewater, with P&K responsible for paying the costs for the infrastructure involved to make that possible.

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Engineering firm to assist city with quarry tasks

It took only about a half-hour for the Chico City Council to take care of business Tuesday.

The council approved a $5,000 task order agreement with KSA Engineering for work related to the city’s agreement with P&K Stone, which will build a limestone quarry just outside the city limits. The engineering firm will perform tasks such as groundwater analysis, Chico Mayor J.D. Clark said.

In other business, the council reappointed all members of the city’s Economic Development Board. Clark, Ed Cowley, Cyd Bailey and Tammy Sosa were appointed to two-year terms, and Sue Manning, Larry Mader and Paul McLemore were named to one-year terms.

The council also canceled the May 10 election since none of the candidates were opposed and declared April as National Safe Digging Month.

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Veterans Day added to Chico holiday schedule

Patriotism was on display at Thursday’s Chico City Council meeting, even if the U.S. and Texas flags were not.

Following the invocation to begin the meeting, Mayor J.D. Clark turned his attention to the corner of the room to lead the council and others in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance. The only problem was, the flag wasn’t in its traditional spot. It was still in the Community Center down the hall, the site of a recent Republican candidate forum.

“They’re that way,” Clark said, turning the other direction and pointing in the general direction of the Community Center before leading both the U.S. and Texas pledges.

Later in the meeting, the council approved adding Veterans Day as an official city holiday.

Clark told council members that since several veterans are employed by the city, Veterans Day on Nov. 11 should be added to the city’s holiday schedule.

“I think it would be a nice sign of respect,” he said.

In other business:

  • Stephen Gilland presented the results of the city’s annual audit. He said the audit was clean and that the city was in “a good situation.”
  • Next month’s meeting was changed from March 4 to March 11 because it fell on the same night as the primary election.
  • Action on purchasing a heating and cooling system for city hall was tabled in order to seek more bids.
  • An election was called for three council seats.
  • The council accepted the resignation of councilmember Sue Manning. Clark read a letter from Manning, who stated she was stepping down due to health reasons.
  • Two zoning variance requests were approved, one for a mobile home on Tabor Lane and another for landscaping setback requirements at Sherman Street and Texas 101.

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Chico City Council to consider resignation

The Chico City Council might have one less member after next Tuesday’s meeting.

The council agenda for Tuesday, Feb. 4, includes acting on the resignation of a council member. Although the agenda didn’t specify which council member was resigning, Mayor J.D. Clark said Friday Sue Manning is expected to resign due to health reasons.

“She’s been an incredible servant for the community, and I will miss her input on the council,” Clark said in a message Friday, adding that she has “been a strong advocate for Chico.”

The resignation is expected to take effect immediately.

Clark said he will suggest the council wait to see how May election filings shape up before making a decision on how to fill the open seat. The council will call an election for three other council seats currently held by Karen Garrison, Aracely Cuevas and Louise Gossett.

Other agenda items include approving the annual audit, rescheduling next month’s council meeting, repairing or replacing the heating and cooling system at city hall, adding Veterans Day to the city holiday schedule, an owner-requested zoning variance and regular department monthly reports.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. at Chico City Hall.

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Chico City Council to consider increased security

Security and fireworks are among the items on Tuesday’s Chico City Council agenda.

The council will discuss downtown square and park security at the request of local business owners and the city’s Economic Development Corp.

Also, a citizen has asked the council to consider changing its firework sales ordinance. Under the current ordinance, the sales or use of fireworks is prohibited. The suggested change would allow for the sales of fireworks, but not the discharging of fireworks, in the city limits.

Other agenda items include a variance for flood plain elevation requirements for the Chico Auto Parts construction project, repairing or replacement of the heating and cooling system at City Hall and appointing the official city newspaper. Regular monthly reports will also be given.

The meeting is 7 p.m. at Chico City Hall.

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Engineering firm selected for city’s water project

The city of Chico now has an engineering firm and a person with unique knowledge of how to solve the city’s water issues.

On Tuesday, the city council voted to hire KSA Engineers to provide engineering work on the city’s water filtration project. KSA has worked with the city on its municipal projects for the past couple of years.

The city was approved for a Community Development Fund grant in the amount of $275,000 from the Texas Department of Agriculture in late August. The grant will fund a new filtration system for the city’s water supply.

Chico Mayor J.D. Clark said KSA has brought in Dr. Dennis Clifford, a professor at the University of Houston’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Clark said one of Clifford’s areas of expertise is the removal of uranium from water supplies. Chico has had issues with traces of uranium in its water supply going back several years.

“I’m excited to get to work with him, to pick his brain and learn more from him,” Clark said of Clifford.

The project is expected to take 450 days, start to finish.

In a related item, Pat Dillon with Southwest Consultants, the grant administrator for the project, was designated the fair housing officer. Clark explained the grant included a number of regulations, including designating someone to serve in that role.

In other business, the council cast all of its votes for Jimmy Parker for the Wise County Appraisal District Board of Directors. Parker currently serves on the board.

“I’ve been pleased with his service,” Clark said. “He’s been a good advocate for residents. He uses a lot of common sense in his decision-making.”

The council also renewed its annual agreement with the appraisal district for tax collections for the city.

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