HOUSTON – The Houston Board of Aldermen held its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 3 at the Houston City Hall.

Ward 2 Alderlady Shenia Kirby Jones was absent.

Aldermen:

––Opened with a call to order by the mayor and an invocation by Alderman Frank Thomas.

–– Approved minutes for the Aug. 6, Aug. 12 and Aug. 20 meetings.

–– Heard Missy Edmundson ask for a few things for the dog pound. She asked that the field behind the pound be bushhogged to cut down on the rodent population. She also asked that the board consider a fenced in play area behind the facility. She offered to get an estimate and help with fund-raising. The board informed her that it was not the first time that this had come before the board, but that money has always been the main issue.

–– Jessica Herd asked that her deposit from renting the Civic Center be refunded. She rented the Civic Center for a bridal shower on Aug. 17, and upon later inspection, it was found that there was trash left in the trash can in one of the restrooms and the urinal in the men’s restroom was not clean. City Clerk Lisa Easley took pictures on the Monday following the shower. Herd said she should be refunded her money because she cleaned everything else. An argument ensued, and the mayor had to step in and call order. Ultimately, the board voted to refund the deposit.

–– Approved the Trailhead contract for a new parking lot.

–– Accepted John Gravat’s offer for his wife and himself to handle library lawn maintenance. It will be on a volunteer basis.

–– Tabled contracting a pest control service until more quotes could be obtained.

–– CDF Director Sean Johnson gave an update on the CDF. The CDF purchased the old Regions Bank building at auction, and plans to turn it into an office for the CDF. He said some other opportunities are being explored. He also suggested getting a sign ordinance in place for the city that would help improve the overall look and appeal of the city.

–– There was no update from the Tourism Board.

–– Code Enforcement Officer Dewayne Weaver brought three items before the board. The first was building permits and their rates. This was tabled until a later date. Next he asked that the board consider making rental properties obtain a inspection license, and there be a $100 non-renewal fee attached. It passed. It was also added in the motion that inspection would be at the Code Enforcement Officer’s discretion, meaning he could inspect at any time. Lastly, he asked that the city approve a fencing ordinance. They did and he will serve as a mediator for disputes.

–– Approved tax exemptions for Crest-Foam for 2018 and 2019.

–– Approved a tax exemption for International Paper for 2019.

–– Approved a tax exemption for Franklin Corporation for 2018 and 2019.

–– Approved a tax exemption for Franklin Development Company for 2018 and 2019.

–– Tabled an amendment to the proposed 2019-2020 budget.

–– Set a public budget hearing for Thursday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.

–– Heard department reports from John Gravat about pewee football and soccer registration. The mayor also gave an update for the Police Department in place of Chief Billy Voyles. The department is going to purchase a new vehicle for $29,915 from Eaton Automotive. The money will come from the Police Department’s budget.

–– Ward 1 Alderlady Kellie Atkinson asked that the board get clarification from the United States Department of Labor on part-time employees for the city and what the limits are for them to avoid any unnecessary problems in the future.

–– Comp. Time for employees was brought up, and after some deliberation, the board went into executive session to discuss the matter. At that point, the public was dismissed.

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