Italy resident James Johnson addressed the city council concerning the proposed Kortnei Johnson Youth Center at its monthly meeting.
Johnson said he has obtained a sponsor for the project – Harrison, Walker and Harper, an engineering, building and site selection firm.
Nathan Umanos, vice president of the organization, was on hand to answer questions. He said the firm, based in Paris, is the oldest builder in Texas. He had pictures from numerous schools, civic centers and other structures they sponsored.
Umanos explained the first stage of the project will be the development stage. The next step will be to decide the best use of the land and schematics. Preliminary drawings will follow. He said the full board design for contractors would be the fourth step.
Johnson said he is continuing to accept donations which are tax deductible.
Council members unanimously approved a request from Scott Hoelzle, project manager with KSA Engineering, regarding a Task Order and agreement approval between the city and KSA Engineers for professional services for a $275,000 TxCDBG grant. This money is for replacing water lines along Hardeman, Harris, Washington and Williams streets.
Council members also unanimously approved a resolution authorizing an application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for the HOME Program.
The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME Program) is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The purpose of the program is to expand the supply of decent, safe, affordable housing and strengthen public-private housing partnerships between local governments, public housing authorities, nonprofits and for-profit entities.
The TDHCA HOME Division is responsible for administering the HOME Program on behalf of the state. Entities approved to administer the HOME Program may use funds for eligible activities such as homeowner rehabilitation, homebuyer assistance, contract for deed conversion, tenant-based rental assistance, single family development and multifamily development.
A required part of the HOME Program included the passage of several ordinances and resolutions. All passed unanimously.
City Secretary Teri Murdock said she had three applications from residents for this grant. She said they will be turned in along with the resolutions and ordinance.
She said the applications could be for new construction or home renovations, depending on established criteria. She also noted that the state decides who receives these grants, not the city.
In other business, City Attorney Ed Voss responded to a request from a citizen about term limits for council members. He told those in attendance that council members may not impose term limits, because Italy is a general law community. He said general law communities go by state law whereas home rule cities abide by a charter. State law does not allow council member terms to be limited.
During department reports, Hill presented a 2013 end of year report and strategic plan update.
Public Works Director Dean Carrell said the water project is wrapping up and he is focusing on streets. To make needed repairs properly, he said they need equipment and he is putting together a proposal to present to council members regarding equipment.
Murdock also announced a warning siren, financed from higher education funds, has been ordered. She said the siren will be placed on the water tower and will be loud enough to reach the interstate.
Murdock also said the first day to file for the city council is at 5 p.m. Jan. 29 and the last day to file is Feb. 28.
The council went into executive session regarding a grievance filed by Carrell.
Upon their return, council member Dennis Perkins Jr. said the council is forwarding the complaint to Bill Parker, a private investigator.