The Ennis City Commission met this week in the first regular meeting since the recent election and due to the election results there was no disruption within the commission members and it was business as usual.
Commissioners Lola Searcy and Carolyn Frazier were up for re-election as well as Mayor Pro Tem Bob Taylor. Frazier was the only candidate with opposition for her position and all three retained their seats, leaving the commission with familiar faces.
City Manager Steve Howerton began the meeting by giving a summary of the city’s year to date budget expenditures with 58.33 percent of the budget year elapsed, 77 percent of general fund revenues have been collected. General fund expenditures totaled 61.30 percent of the annual budget with only the refuse disposal department having used up its allotted funding at this point of the year.
“The reason refuse disposal costs are so high is because we have condemned and disposed of a year’s worth of structures already within the city," he explained.
A discussion concerning properties slated for demolition by the building and standards commission focused on a gas station on Kaufman Street that burned more than a year ago and the efforts the city is taking to see the matter resolved.
“We will try to work with a person but we do have to move the process along at some point,” Howerton said.
Concerns over liability for the underground storage tanks were raised by Mayor Russell Thomas with Howerton assuring the commission and the mayor that the issue was being handled without the city taking on any liability issues thus far.
An emergency agenda item concerning the Ennis Rotary’s bed race fund-raiser was added to the agenda as the organization requested a public facilities use permit it had overlooked. The permit will allow the racers to block off a section of the city streets from South McKinney to Brown Street from about 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, May 26. The city approved the permit and will block the street the evening prior to the event to avoid people parking in the area.
The city has also been busy cleaning and preparing the downtown area for the National Polka Festival, which runs from May 25-27.
In other items, a letter will be sent to all downtown business owners this week, asking them to remove any reserved parking signs they may have up. Commissioner Byron Walker asked that an addition to the letter request that the signs are removed prior to the beginning of the Polka Festival.
“With the added pedestrian traffic we will see, I just think we need to avoid any potential liabilities with people tripping over the signs or knocking them into traffic,” he said.
Howerton noted the changes would be made but that he did not foresee any issues with compliance with the business owners.
Ennis Regional Medical Center has scheduled tours of the completed facility for July 14. Anyone wishing to tour the facility now should contact the city manager to arrange a tour. Alliance Data will hold a grand opening at 10 a.m. June 27. The commission agreed to rename a section of Rudd Road (Interstate 45 to Sterilite Drive) to be renamed National Drive at the request of new business, National Envelope, which operates from that location. The company has invested more than $25 million and will create 297 new jobs by the end of the year. John McIntosh was named to the Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum board and was sworn in during the commission workshop.
The Ennis City Commission meets at 6 p.m. in workshop, with the regular meeting at 7 the first and third Monday of each month at City Hall, 115 W. Brown St.