King assumes mayor’s throne

Councilwoman Dalley elected mayor pro-tem

Outgoing Mayor Larry Jones (L), new Mayor John King share a lighter moment at Monday’s city council meeting. 
Reporter/Bill Martin Outgoing Mayor Larry Jones (L), new Mayor John King share a lighter moment at Monday’s city council meeting. Reporter/Bill Martin After a delay of nearly half an hour in order for a quorum to be present, new mayor John King, along with re- elected council woman Joyce Dalley and newly elected councilman Nathan Bland, were sworn into office.

City secretary Terry Blanchard administred the oath of office and presentations were made to outgoing mayor Dr. Larry Don Jones and councilwoman Toby Johnson.

Dalley was then unaimously chosen as mayor pro-tem by present council members Willie E. Phillips Sr., Colby Fisher and Bland.

Councilmembers Doug Calame and Melody Dawson were not present.

Neither were they or former mayor Jones present at a special called meeting on Friday. That ended in the meeting being canceled for the second time in a week for lack of a quorum.

Those issues, as well as not being prepared for council meetings, was one of the first things new mayor King mentioned when addressing the council after he was sworn in.

“Pick up your packets and be prepared for the meeting. There is no excuse for seeing the packet and agenda for the first time at the council meeting,” King said. “You were aware of the monthly meeting times when you ran for office. To be effective we all need to attend and be on time.”

King also has set a time limit for the meetings.

“I am setting a two hour time limit for our meetings. At the end of two hours we will finish the agenda item we are on and schedule a meeting to cover the remaining items if they need action before the next scheduled council meeting.”

FINE— Counci l members assessed the fine to the owner of the dilapidated structurers located at 1300 E. Cameron Ave. Richie Thrasher must pay a $1,900 fine to the city for the structure not being up to code within the allotted time.

This was one of the agenda items on the special meeting cancelled on Friday.

The other agenda item was to consider and take action setting a workshop to discuss the 2013 street paving program.

RISING ABOVE—Texas Street in east Rockdale has been around for over 80 years and Rising Star Baptist Church has been on that street for over 50 of them.

The church’s pastor Royal Johnson showed that they are willing to go the extra mile to get Texas Street paved.

“We’ve gone out and done some leg work,” Johnson said. “We have brokered a special price for this project.”

For two months Johnson, with the help of Milam County Precinct 2 commissioner Kenneth Hollas, contacted the three suppliers the county uses to get paving supplies for projects.

Instead of the $81,301.95 that the city estimated the cost of paving Texas Street from Belton to the end of the road north, Johnson managed a supplies cost of $20,000. However, that cost was not on the table much longer.

“The county will do the work and even haul the supplies,” Johnson said.

The county owns one-third of Texas Street and the city owns the other two-thirds

The city has budgeted just $49,000 for the entire street paving program for 2013.

City manager Kelvin Knauf asked Hollas who would cover the cost if the cap went over $20,000, but the commissioner gave no definitive answer.

“You aren’t going to get these prices anywhere else and you also have to look at the other things the church is doing,” Johnson said. The group has started a community garden on its property.

“We are wanting our citizens to get involved and they have set a good example,” Dalley said. “They wanted something badly enough and were willing to go out and get it. I commend you.”

Several Rising Star members were also in attendance at the meeting.

The council then unanimously voted to enter into an interlocal agreement with the county for the project.

A future workshop is planned to set what other streets will be paved this summer.

In other action, the council:

• Heard appeal from owner Gloria Thrasher on the status of the Cameo Building (see separate story on page 1A);

• Extended the current juvenile curfew ordinance, which they are required to do by the state every three years;

• Entered an interlocal agreement with the Rockdale Municipal Development District for administrative and MDD employee benefit expenses;

• Agreed to send a letter of interest in a regional airport plan;

• Accepted the bid of $28,092 from Miller-Starnes Chevrolet-Buick for a new 2014 police vehicle; and,

• Heard audit by The Resource Group, of Dallas, on the lodging establishments and collection of any funds owed to the city. Approved sending out letters to the three establishments that were found to owe the city money. Four establishments were found to be in compliance.

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