ENNIS – During the Ennis City Commission’s workshop prior to Monday’s meeting, City Manager Steve Howerton announced he had been notified of the upgrading of the city’s general obligation bond rating.

“I was notified today our bond rating has been upgraded from A+ to AA- by Standard and Poor’s,” Howerton said, describing the new rating as the next to the highest rating possible.

“This signifies a very strong capacity to meet financial commitments,” he said. “The Standard and Poor’s bond upgrade is an especially significant achievement in view of the current state of the economy and the number of governmental bond downgrades that have occurred recently.”

During the regular session, the commission approved an amendment of the city’s zoning ordinance as requested by Marvany Inc. for a special use permit – special exemption permit for about 10.2 acres.

While the request unanimously passed the commissioners’ vote, to get the approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission, special restrictions were added.

“There can be no adverse environmental effects on neighboring businesses,” Howerton said. 

The request initially received an objection from neighboring business Nightingale Architectural Doors and Windows, which cited several environmental concerns, including noise.

Manvany told the P&Z it will control any environmental problem, saying there will be no noise or dust problems from its operation and that it will use state of the art technology for sound reduction. 

Marvany grinds marble to a fine powder, which it supplies to cosmetic, pharmaceutical and construction materials manufacturers. The raw materials and finished product are shipped by rail.

In other action, commissioners approved an ordinance calling for a general election May 14 for commissioners in wards 2, 4 and 6 and the city marshal for two-year terms.

Also on the agenda was the approval of the 2010 Historic Reinvestment Tax Abatements. Howerton said there were 28 requests for the abatements, representing $121,522 in improvement investments. The 2010 tax credit totals $23,321.