ENNIS – City manager Steve Howerton reported to commissioners during their meeting Monday night that Lake Bardwell’s level is safe, meaning the city is not planning water usage curtailment at this time.

“Currently, Lake Bardwell’s level is 417.89 feet above sea level. The first stage of conservation is at 417 feet,” Howerton said, saying if the stage one level is reached, “We will notify water businesses and residential consumers to conserve water usage.”

One of the stage one measures is to ask that the watering of lawns not be done between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

If drought conditions continue, causing lake levels to drop due to usage and evaporation, Howerton estimated a stage one plan to begin between Sept. 1 and 13.

“We are only eighty-nine hundredths of a foot from being at the stage one level,” Howerton said

If the lake’s level were to drop to 413 feet, the city would require water consumers to abide by phase two restrictions, with Howerton saying he doesn’t foresee a phase two restriction for another 60 to 90 days.

“That puts us well into the fall, when hopefully we will have some rains,” he said.

The commission held the first in a series of public hearings relating to a 1.63 percent increase in total tax revenues for the year 2011-2012. The increase in revenue relates to properties on the tax roll.

The second hearing will be at the next meeting, Sept. 6. The final hearing will be at 6:45 p.m. in the commission chambers with the final adoption at the 7 p.m. regular session.

The commissioners considered a zoning request from Mike French for a change from single family dwelling to medium density multiple family – planned development. During the first of two public hearings, Howerton said French’s original request was without the planned development designation. Planning and Zoning approved the request after French agreed to add the planned development amendment.   

French plans to build a multi-family community of 36 living units in the 1200-1399 block of North Clay. The dwellings will be in 12 single-story triplex buildings. The commissioners approved the request on first reading.

In another zoning request, the commissioners approved the second reading of a request from Mount Zion Church to use a home as a recovery center for substance abusers. The second reading was unanimously approved with restrictions as placed by Planning and Zoning.

The commissioners unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a $9,061,866 budget for 2011-2012 for the Ennis Economic Development Corporation.

Mayor Russell Thomas introduced Dr. Bill Davis as a candidate to fill an open seat on the Planning and Zoning Board. Following Thomas’ recommendation, the commissioners unanimously approved Davis’ appointment.