FERRIS – A resolution proposed to the council to sell approximately 107.8 acres of city-owned land to the Old Brick Yard Group, operators of the Old Brick Yard Golf Course, failed on two separate votes.
Preceding the call for the council’s vote Monday at the regularly scheduled city council meeting, City Manager Carl Sherman went through a discussion on possible agreements between the city and Old Brick Yard Group describing possible agreements for highway signage along the highway on Brick Yard land.
“Your staff is working hard to work in the direction you want for the city. This council already identified needed projects to use the money for,” Sherman told the council, following the first 3-2 vote against the sale. “You identified that a new public works building needs to be built, we need a 12-inch water line run to the east side of the interstate. Where else is the money for these projects going to come from?”
Sherman went on the tell the members of the council, the 12-inch water line is important to have the required infrastructure for the commercial development of the west side area proposed for development.
“There’s only so much land. Once it’s gone; it’s gone. Is there anything in writing that the golf course will not turn around and sell it?” council member Bobby Lindsey asked.
A representative of the Old Brick Yard Group came to the podium to address the council's concerns.
“We have no intention on selling any part of the land and we have no potential buyers,” the representative said.
The council's discussion went to considering reposting the bid in a wider range of newspapers besides the Waxahachie Daily Light and The Dallas Morning News.
“Mayor, if we put this out for bid again, we may lose the only bid we have at this time,” Sherman said.
Council member Carol Wright said to get it done and do what's best for the city and to get it done. Councilman Gary Ross called for the second vote to approve the sale. The same members casted the declining votes
The Old Brick Yard Group currently has a 70-year lease on the land that the city receives $20,000 a year from.
Following the second failed vote, Sherman said that any future plans would have to come from the council. Mayor Michael Driggers said he’s not sure what the council’s plans were.
A request to approve the cost of city road repairs by Ellis County was unanimously approved.
“As discussed, the agreed road projects included in capital expenditure line 4450 exceeded the approved $50,000 and would not cover the cost of three important road projects in the city,” Sherman said. “Those streets are deemed by council as being Birch, Red Bud Street and Ennis Scott, which were discussed at the last council meeting. Per your approval, the city of Ferris initiated a counter proposal that would allow the city to fund the cost of the following road improvement projects in FY 2016 and FY 2017.”
The final bid for the repairs to be completed by the county is $80,368.
Sherman informed the council that Ellis County Commissioner Dennis Robinson got the approval for the projects to be paid out over two fiscal years.
The projects and funding were unanimously approved.
Ferris Police Chief Eddie Salazar requested the council approve a revision to the department's guidelines on off-duty employment. The current guideline prohibits off-duty officers to work for businesses that sell alcohol.
Salazar asked the council to allow off-duty officers to work at businesses whose alcohol sales are less than 51 percent of sales.
“This allows our office to work at places like Chili’s,” Salazar said.
Salazar’s request was unanimously approved.
Ferris Fire Chief Tom Leverentz came to the council requesting they consider an agreement with the Emergency Service Response District (ESRD) for the city to donate a 2005 Chevrolet Suburban.
“The motor does not run and the transmission is in questionable condition. I cannot see putting any money in the vehicle,” Leverantz said.
The agreement outlined by Leverentz was the city would donate the suburban to the ESRD with the understanding they would purchase a 2017 Ford Explorer police interceptor for the fire department. The second part of the agreement was the ESRD would put money into the suburban to get it running as a back-up vehicle.
The council agreed unanimously.
A request was also made by Salazar to the council to approve the police department's guidelines for the use of body cameras.
“We currently have 16 body cameras that are ready to be issued. However, we cannot issue them until you approve the guidelines,” Salazar said.
All of the council members approved Salazar’s request.