FERRIS — In regular session of the Ferris City Council last week, city manager Eric Strong introduced two new members of the Ferris Police Department.

Officer Ernesto Fierro, 42, a native of El Paso, Texas, joined the FPD with nine years experience as a Dallas police officer, serving the past five years as a felony investigator with the Dallas County District Attorney’s office. Fierro also worked as an inspector for the Texas Department of Transportation.

Fierro and his wife, Cecilia, who is a nurse, have been married for 19 years and have a daughter, 14, and a son, 10.

Officer Damon Hooper, 41, a Waco native, and his wife, Christy, also a nurse, have been married for 1 ½ years, and have three daughters from prior marriages, ages 9, 16 and 17.

Hooper served as a deputy constable with Dallas County for two years, a private investigator, a route delivery manager and a security officer. Honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, Hooper is enrolled at Eastfield College in Mesquite and, in December 2007, completed his basic peace officer training at Cedar Valley College.

Mayor Rick Barrett gave a proclamation recognizing National Police Week, May 15-21.

He also issued a proclamation designating May 2011 as National Preservation Month.

The council voted to waive commercial permit fees up to a maximum total of $10,000 per structure in an effort to attract new business to Ferris.

“Whatever we can do to make Ferris more attractive to business and residents, we need to do it,” Alderman Bill Pardue said. “I totally support it.”

Other items of discussion included issues with water/wastewater winter averaging on multi-family units as well as single-family homes. Concern was raised to Strong by a multi-family unit owner, who has requested that the council revisit the present water/wastewater ordinance.

The council instructed Strong to draft a revision to the ordinance to be considered at a later meeting.

The council adopted a resolution allowing the city to partner with a private investor who is building four new homes in Shaw Creek to place a billboard on Interstate 35E at Ovilla Road to help drive traffic to the Ferris downtown and stimulate growth to the city. The city’s portion of the expense would be $1,000 per month for 12 months.

“This move is going to help every homeowner out there (in Shaw Creek),” Alderman Bill Dunn said.

Pardue noted that it had been considered before.

“We talked about getting 4B on board with this about four years ago, but because the economy took a downturn, we backed off of it,” Pardue said.

Alderman Gary Ross suggested that the city’s website be included on the sign.

The council went into a closed, executive meeting for the annual review of city manager Eric Strong.

“Everyone is generally very pleased with the direction the city is going and with the implementation of some new projects,” city secretary Pat Bradley told the Daily Light. “Eric was given great reviews for his excellent service to the city.”

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.