The Midlothian City Council approved a resolution to institute eminent domain proceedings against Richard and Sheri Miskimon for the acquisition of a 25-foot waterline easement and a 50-foot temporary construction easement for the U.S. Highway 67 grade separation interchange at RailPort Parkway after reconvening from executive session Tuesday night.

The easement is required to relocate the city of Midlothian and Mountain Peak Special Utilities District water lines. Four of the five easements necessary have already been acquired by the city. The approval authorizing the resolution passed unanimously at the Tuesday night council meeting.

At the Feb. 22 meeting, the council voted to approved a motion authorizing Kevin Kendrick with Baldwin and Associates, acting on behalf of the city of Midlothian, to make a formal offer of $6,005 to the property owners for acquisition of the waterline easement and $5,586 for the temporary construction easement.

Financial director, Chris Dick, presented the item, saying that the city made an official offer to purchase the property and there has been no response from the property owners.

After considerable discussion, the council passed a motion to approve an update to the city’s human resources policy manual to include a flex-time policy for exempt employees in a 6-1 vote with council member Bill Houston dissenting.

Harold Cates, human resources director, presented a staff recommendation that exempt employees be offered compensatory time on an hour-for-hour basis for time worked beyond 45 hours per week. Cates explained that municipalities typically offer additional time to exempt employees due to the numerous after-hours and weekend meetings that require attendance.

“Having worked in the private sector I’ve never worked at a place that had a policy like this,” Houston said, suggesting that the council table the item for further consideration. “I am definitely not in favor of it.”

Cates said flex time would require the approval of the employee’s supervisor and would have to be justified. Employees would be limited to two consecutive days off at a time with a maximum of 80 hours that could be accrued.

Council member Jamie Wickliffe said she favored the policy and that with the staff in place, she was not concerned about the employees taking advantage.

“Every organization has some level of comp time. This policy formalizes it so comp time is consistent and uniform and will give predictability to the employees,” said Don Hastings, city manager, saying that the policy would not increase the burden on the staff. “Exempt employees are not limited to 40 hours and are expected to work whatever is required.”

Two public hearings were conducted to consider changes to the development standards in the central business district and proposed amendments to the city’s subdivision regulations.

Central business district proposed revisions included a reduction in maximum height from 10 stories to three stories; elimination of a minimum parking space standard; the addition of design requirements for new or substantially remodeled structures; establishment of review authority for the Historic Advisory Board; revisions to the use table with respect to the CBD zoning district; and the addition of development design guidelines. Following discussion, the council approved the item as presented.

Additionally, the council passed a motion approving proposed amendments to the city’s subdivision ordinance designed to speed up the platting process by making final plats administratively approved if they meet regulation requirements and creating a conveyance plat process for the transfer of property from one owner to another without requiring public improvements such as right of way and utilities.

Places on the ballot of the May 14 city election were drawn under the direction of city secretary, Lou Jameson. For the mayoral candidates, Tyda Shields will appear first on the ballot followed by Boyce Whatley.

Prior to the drawing of names, incumbent council member Jamie Wickliffe said she had withdrawn her name as candidate for Place 1 on the city ballot.

“I would like to explain to the citizens that I have made a decision to remove my name from the upcoming city council ballot. Some things in my schedule have changed and after prayerful consideration I’ve decided that my family needs me more. I would like you to know that I have been reminded how much I truly enjoyed this service,” Wickliffe said. “I appreciate the public’s trust in me as I fill this unexpired term. I feel like I have accomplished what I came to do. My goal was to get us moving forward in a more positive direction and with a lot of help from the gentlemen at this desk I have accomplished that. I will be leaving it in good hands and quite confident in the direction the city is headed.”

Place 1 candidate Wayne Sibley and Place 2 incumbent Bill Houston will face no opposition in the election.

Whatley recognized two departing city employees. Donna Brown, code enforcement officer, is retiring after 21 years of service to the city. Harold Cates, human resources director, has been with the city for eight years and has accepted a position with the city of Fort Worth.

Contact Rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.