Recreation program ‘on hold’

Council cites legal, procedural questions about MDD project

Rockdale city council members like the idea of a Municipal Development District (MDD)-funded summer recreation program for local youth in 2012.

They’re just not sure it’s legal and how it would be administered.

Those concerns caused the council to table a decision on the proposal during a mostly-routine session Monday at City Hall.

RECREATION—The MDD has proposed hiring a project director, likely a college student, to create such a program in 2012 and was asking the council to authorize expenditures.

Councilman Allan Miller noted City Attorney Michelle Lehmkuhl had expressed concerns about the legality of the city authorizing such expenditures.

Miller noted the MDD proposal was presented to the council without a recommendation by City Manager Kelvin Knauf.

“You usually tell us you are recommending something,” Miller asked Knauf. “Is this your recommendation?”

“I’m not ‘lawyer enough’ to say if this is legal or not,” Knauf said. “This is one for the attorneys.”

Bottom line legal question is whether an MDD can expend funds—collected through a sales tax—on projects such as a summer recreation program.

Mayor Larry Jones also asked for more information on the duties of the director in developing and/or executing programs.

“Before we authorize spending $15,000 of taxpayer money, I’d like to know a few more details,” he said.

“We think the idea is good,” council member Joyce Dalley said.

“We just need to know a few more details,” council member Melody Dawson added.

In other business, the council:

• Heard Police Chief Thomas Harris field questions from visitor Larry Martin on purchase of patrol cars. Harris said he has switched to less-expensive Chevrolet units, purchased through a state program in recent years, and that Ford declined to submit an offer the last time a patrol car was bid.

• Assured Fire Chief Herbie Vaughan the city would work with the fire department in its duties at parades, which Vaughan said are becoming more difficult as volunteers work longer shifts at their regular jobs. Knauf said the city will change the time required for the public to request a parade permit from 10 days to 14 days before the event.

• Voted to continue with the city’s authority to tax “goods in transit,” those stored temporarily in third-party warehouses. Knauf said there are presently no such “in transit” goods taxes in Milam County.

• Okayed agreements which will result in a second “gateway sign” being installed. This one at the US 77-US 79 entrance to Rockdale.

• Hired KSA as engineering firm and Langford Consultants as consulting firm for federallyfunded water line projects on MLK and Third Streets.

• Aut hor i zed t he MDD to expend matching funds for development of an airport action/ business plan with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) aviation division.

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