Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rockwall City Council 16 November

Here begin the lies (at least according to some...).

III. Consent Agenda.

None pulled! Speed voting!

Things covered in consent: minutes, discontinued some program (probably good), amended employee benefit policies (probably ends up costing Rockwall money), bought some radio equipment ($$$), re-platting some land, more employee benefit stuff (more money).

V. Action Item

6. Rename the RPD's Community Service Office in honor of a volunteer who passed away. Council spent some time speaking great things of the man and his service to the Citizen's Police Academy and Citizens On Patrol.

I am all for respecting the selfless deeds of another, but I wonder what this will cost the city?

In the spirit of his selfless volunteerism, maybe we can get donations to pay for any memorials or sign changes.

No disrespect to him or his family. Really.

IV. Appointments.

1. Rockwall County Committee on Aging annual report.

Lots of Meals on Wheels delivered, that's great.

Lots of seniors helped and counciled and visited, that's great, too.

Lots of volunteers help out, that's wonderful!

$21,500 of public funds given this year from the city of Rockwall? (Other "contributions": $20,000 from county, $14,000 from state, Heath $8,000, Royse City $8,000)

Said it before, sure is easy to be "charitable" with other people's money. Guess Rockwall doesn't have enough residents to donate money voluntarily.

2. YAC kids annual trek to council. Glen is the councilman in charge of the group.

The president of the group presented two options for the YAC's community projects.

The first is a "green" propaganda campaign to make people want to save the earth from asteroids, earthquakes, volcanoes, solar flares, and man. Especially man. The only entity in the universe powerful enough to destroy a rock of 260,000,000,000 cubic miles!!!!!!

They will murder some trees for a kiosk, some books, and some pamphlets to let people help the environment. Magic will be involved to make the "carbon footprint" be zero, I assume.

Don't forget: the envinronment can recover from solar flares, earthquakes, volcanoes, and asteroids - but not man using the combustion engine or hairspray!

The second was an idea to promote Rockwall as a place to live, work and play. Not only to encourage people to live here, but to keep people as well.

Who the heck is that supposed to benefit from promoting Rockwall?!?

Anyway, the group, led by Rockwall's own Green Czar - Glen Farris, luckily chose to do the "green" project before man destroys the earth.

At least they're getting indoctrinated involved in government!

V. Action Items.

1. Bylaw changes for REDC.

2. City looking at a program to get some signs put up around town directing people to various areas of the city. Sounded like the signs would be advertising signs, directing people to different businesses that businesses pay to be on the sign. The program is run by a private company, but Rockwall would get some of the revenue generated from those signs, and the money could be used to fund other directional signs for the city (or possibly other projects?).

City looked at this a while back, but turned down because no one at the time wanted more signs in the city. But, city will look at again.

And Glen Hates Signs. Except monument.

3. Animal tethering. Again. The city wants to further restrict dog tethering, limiting tethering to two continuous hours per day. Luckily, the city will give people 30 days to comply by allowing them to spend a bunch of money to buy a fence or kennel for the dog.

Mark wanted to know how the city would enforce the 2 hour limit.

Jeffrey Widmer doesn't "think" this will be an issue. (I love it when bureaucrats use words like "believe" and "think".) This is to target people,mostly, from long term tethering. So, 2 hours and 1 second is long term? I've seen a dog clean itself for longer than that.

Mark then asked where dogs have been noticed tethered.

Widmer: "Front and back yard".

Mark then asked how the city will find out about the tethered dogs.

Widmer explained neighbors will call on neighbors. What a country!

The code enforcement will drive by and place bright orange stickers on the animals to warn owners of impending towing of the animal.

Margo wanted "exceptions" to replace the "defense to prosecution" wording. (Go, Margo!)

David wanted to know if there was specific issues that have brought this to council.

Widmer explained there were not and the city was doing "just cuz".

David then expounded asking if there was a specific problem.

Widmer "believes it is inhumane".

Someone better call the Air Force. I have personally witnessed hundreds of dogs at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio tethered with no more than a 2-foot leash for hours on end!!! Who knew little ole Rockwall was smarter than one branch of the finest military in the entire world and all of history!!!!!

Mark asked about which areas are dog-tethering havens.

Widmer: None specific, but he explained Rockwall has annexed areas....(I don't know what he said next, when my eyes rolled back into my head, they did so with such force and speed as to bruise my brain causing me temporary loss of brain function for several seconds).

Annexed areas? Let's see what's been annexed lately...mostly a bunch of big empty land and some largely Hispanic area that shall remain nameless.

I am referring to Lake Rockwall Estates. I lied about the area remaining nameless.

Glen wants exceptions put into the ordinance. (instead of "defense to prosecution", you can share the accolade with Margo).

Cliff expressed this will increase demand on city staff.

Cliff and David then expressed their support for humane reasons.

Admission the sole purpose is to address humane treatment?

From the current code:

Tying dogs. It shall be unlawful for any person to tie or tether a dog to a stationary object for a period of time or in a location so as to create an unhealthy situation for the animal or a potentially dangerous situation for a pedestrian as determined by the supervisor of animal control.

So, there is already protection language for animals in the existing code? Why the hell are they amending it?

To punish Lake Rockwall Estates. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, Rockwall.

Mayor Cecil wants a report in 6 months about the enforcement of the code.

Wanna bet where all the violations will be cited?

Passes 4-2, Cliff and Mark opposed.

4. Glen presents a power point and video about social media and how the city should be utilizing it to get better communication between residents and the city.

Some of Glen's points:

1. The internet is the wave of the future (no, he didn't reuse a power point from 1995)
2. Newspapers print mostly bad stuff.
3. City does lots of good things that don't get reported.
4. Journalists often inject their own slant.
5. Rockwall.com not always up-to-date. (He referring to minutes being posted?)
6. City subverted by negative blogging. (I take that as a veiled endorsement.) He also mentioned Topix as an example where bad information is spread.
7. No way for city to rebut me blogs.

He may be right about Topix , but it sure is funny! (Just look for "Ann's" rantings!)

Glen then came up with a bunch of suggestions for staff to look into to start utilizing various social media.

Mark demands live video! NOW!

David said he wasn't worried about negatively blogging. And then called it "mess"! Another veiled endorsement!!

Cliff and Margo said some things as well, but nothing so awesome and David and Glen's worshipful endorsement of my blog!

Finally, only 2200 residents subscribe to the eNewsNow. Sign up, only takes a second!

5. Last item tabled until next meeting.

Over at 1950!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rockwall City Council 2 November

III. Open Forum.

1. Lady lives on Shady Dale and doesn't want city to connect other end of Shady Dale, brought a petition.

2. Another lady was worried the name "Shady Dale" would get changed?

VII. Action Item #4

Water rates for the 4th time. Matt questioned the 12,000 gallon conservation limit, wants it raised to 15,000. Other cities nearby have higher conservation levels than 12,000. Matt pointed out the citiy's requirement that homes have large lots combined with the fact that many young families are moving into Rockwall, makes it hard to keep within the 12,000. Passes 5-2

Logic and Reason? It's more likely than you think.

IV. Consent Agenda.

2, 3, 4, 5 pulled by Cliff.

1 pulled by Mark.

6 pulled by default.

1. Minutes from previous meeting Mark skipped. Passes 6-0, Mark abstains.

2. Cliff questioned the city's contribution into the employee retirement. Employees can contribute up to 7%, city matches up to 14%!!!!! Sure is easy to be generous with other people's money. Passes 7-0.

3. Police Pursuit vehicle purchases. Cliff questioned the money. Won't cost out of budget?

4. Approval of bid award for construction of Shady Dale (or Shadydale?), see open forum. Price tag is $379,000.

Matt explained to the ladies from open forum the road plan had been in place since the 80's and funding for it just became available. Passes 7-0

Where's my fodder?!?

5. Mayor Cecil questioned the time frame on some utility work for 740 widening. Will start end of November, scheduled finish in March or April. Hopefully this will finish early as widening begins in February. (I think) Awarded the bid for the work 7-0.

6. SUP for some solar panels, 2nd reading, passes 7-0.

V. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chairman Michael Hunter noted the P&Z vote on Appointment #3, 5-1.

2. Omega Hawkins, GM of KART presented annual report of KART's activities. They scoot around a lot of people.

City of Rockwall contributes $20,000.

Matt asked about ridership and other cities' contributions. 15k riders from Rockwall (City), out of 106k rides. Terrel contributes $10k, Royse City - $10k, Forney $0 (that's zero). Rest of funding comes from contracts (shuttling private events) and state funding.

When asked for more information about ridership and contributions, she didn't have that info.

Essentially, Rockwall is subsidizing other cities.

Cliff noted that the city is subsidizing $1.20 per city rider.

David asked about number of Rockwall County riders, she didn't know. Mr Sweet also asked about the riders of other cities in Rockwall County (she didn't know).

City of Kaufman and Kaufman County have contributed squat for this year to KART - KAUFMAN Area Rural Transportation.

Matt and David voiced opposition to giving KART money without knowing the breakdown of the information they questioned. Matt wants to make sure the city is paying it's fair share.

Matt on a roll!! 3-0 for the night!

3. Fella wants to add on a small room to his manufactured home in LRE.

Margo doesn't think it will add value to the home and property. Huh?

Mayor Cecil wanted to know about brick and stone requirements. Hardi-board would be the outside.

Fella bought the home 8 months ago and has been fixing it up ever since. Lives in the 3 bedroom (or 2?) with his wife and 6 kids.

Cliff said the PD was passed to help clean-up properties and approving this will lead to more requests similar. Cliff wants the engineered stamped plans before he would approve. He explained to the owner that he bought the home knowing how many kids he had and should just live with the poor decision he made.

Glen asked how long the owner planned to live there. The plan is to make the home a little more livable until he can totally replace the manufactured home with a stick built home in the future.

Matt didn't think it will improve the area. -.25

Glen asked to table until the next meeting to have more time to consider. David also supported this idea, as did Mark.

Margo said it would not make the original better. (I wonder what would, maybe some low income rental housing?)

Mark asked what other repairs had been done: interior has had extensive work, and he is only beginning to work on the exterior.

Margo made a motion to deny. Passes (to deny) 4-3.

VI. Public Hearing.

6 items, all about annexation. No one spoke.

VII. Action Items.

1. Leonard Sinelli Parking Edifice at the Park at Fox Chase. City is leasing 1 acre, will have 22 parking spaces (room for 70). Will start December 1st.

2. "Discuss and consider approval of a resolution accepting and supporting the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program and take any necessary action." Nuff said?

3. "GetFitTexas" program coming to Rockwall to promote fitness in Rockwall. Rockwall has the chance to be named "fittest" city in Texas. I hope so. I will definitely show up for that photo-op!


Actions from Executive Committee.

Lots of stuff read by David in his best impression of the Micro-machines guy.

Right of ways aquired, money spent, folks named to some boards and/or committees.

Early night!