Chad Welty, associate pastor at the First Baptist Church of Paradise, was appointed Monday night to fill the vacant seat on the Paradise City Council.
Welty and former council member Chris Harris were the only two nominees for the post, which has been vacant since Bill Schenk opted not to seek re-election in November.
The two candidates responded to several general questions on their backgrounds and skills, put forward by council member Terrie Ward.
Harris said his priorities would be seeing that everyone gets water service, improving the city’s roads and bringing new businesses to town.
“Paradise has a lot to offer, but right now, not many businesses want to come to Paradise,” he said. “We should do everything we can to bring in other businesses and build up the tax base.”
“I think providing water, continue exploring options on providing sewer service and making the community more business-friendly would be my priorities,” he said. “Also just listening to the citizens to find what their needs are – like a park – just to make the community a more family-friendly place.”
Harris, who has lived in Paradise 14 years, has been active in coaching youth baseball and serves on the volunteer fire department. He was on the city council for eight years and approached council member Brad Largent about the appointment when the opening came up.
“I’m very familiar with what’s going on in the city,” he said. “Paradise is my home. I want to see good things come to this town.”
Welty said several city council members approached him about seeking the appointment.
“They said there’s a need, an open spot for service here in the community,” he said. “I’ve always thought when a need arises, we ought to be servants to our community. That’s why I showed up here.”
Both men said they would be able to attend meetings on a regular basis, although council member Bob Gayan pointed out that Harris had missed several meetings when he was on the council in the past.
Harris defended his record.
“I’ve sat here when a lot of those seats were empty,” he said. “Things happen. We all have families, people are going to get sick. If you’re going to hold missing a meeting against me, you might want to look to your left and right also.”
When the vote was called, only Largent voted for Harris, while Gayan, Ward and Roy Steel all voted for Welty.
“I’ll do my best to work with you guys and serve the community, until the community decides they don’t want me,” Welty said.
He will be sworn in at the council’s January meeting.
GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS UNDERWAY
The council held a required public hearing on applying for a Community Development Block Grant through the Texas Department of Agriculture.
City Secretary Teresa Moody reviewed the process, but the discussion eventually turned to water service – and whether the residents in the targeted area even want to go on city water.
Past grants in Paradise, totaling just shy of $1 million, have been used for a water well, water lines, planning and water storage. Moody said a water project is the only one likely to fit the city’s needs.
“Out of the remaining areas of town that do not have water service, probably the most likely to be funded is going to be Old Town,” she said. “It’s a low- to moderate-income area, and there are more senior citizens, more houses on that road than any other areas.”
Largent said the city might have a hard time getting residents of that area to connect to the city’s water system.
After a brief discussion, it was decided the city should poll the eight or so residents to determine if they want water service before spending the funds – the grant and whatever matching fund the city would have to come up with – to install the water line.
Moody said the public hearing was only the first step – that it would probably two years or more before the city actually applies for the grant.
“This is something to be thinking about, so if there is something other than that that y’all would like to see pursued, we’re going to need to know that,” she said.
Mayor Sam Starr will appoint a committee to develop a specific project that fits the community’s needs.
The council also:
- appointed Stinnett to do disconnections for late payment as part-time employee of the water department. The late notices will say disconnections will be at 3 p.m., and City Hall will be open until 6. He will be paid an additional $50 for the task.
- noted that election law training is in January and that Moody will attend a required Public Fund Investment Act training in April for small cities.
- discussed repairing or replacing a malfunctioning fire hydrant. Moody said one of the contractors who is putting in the Dollar General store specializes in municipal water services and will work on the hydrant while they are in town.