Notes from the Council Chambers
January 3, 2017 City Council
Swearing in Ceremony
The new Municipal Judge administered the oath of office to the newly elected City Council members including new Mayor John Turner and Councilors Scott Fairley and Dale Primmer.
Old City Hall
At the meeting the Council heard from the Quezada family who were requesting an extension of time to install a new roof on the old City Hall. This building was gutted in a tragic fire which resulted in the loss of a family member. They did not have insurance on the building.
City ordinances require people who own burned buildings to repair them in a timely manner. Because they failed to make appropriate progress on making these repairs, the City Council gave them until the end of the year to seal it up, which they failed to do.
At the January 3 Council meeting, which was the first meeting after the deadline given by the Council, they heard testimony from the family about weather and building material delays which led to their inability to complete the roof. The Council also heard testimony that if they were cited under the nuisance ordinance and the roof was completed by the time they appeared before the court, it was believed the court might not levy fines. The Council denied their request for an extension and directed the City staff to proceed with enforcement of the ordinance.
It's hard not to be sympathetic to the situation. The City spent countless hours and numerous meetings working with them to develop a funding package proposal to assist in their efforts to obtain financing to restore the building, which was their stated goal. They were advised that the City might be able to use urban renewal funds to assist them but that they should have a funding plan in place that shows there are resources to pay for the entire project. The City does not want to contribute to the project if the building is just going to sit there incomplete. This still has not happened.
This is not easy for anyone, but in the end, whatever strategy the City takes, there are going to be critics who feel the City is being too lenient or too hard with the family. The bottom line is that there is an ordinance, and they are out of compliance. The City has gone above and beyond to assist them and will continue to do so as long as they are willing to work with us and get the building restored or in the hands of someone who can.
Robb Corbett, City Manager