FERRIS — Following in the swearing in and seating of new council members, place four James Swafford and place one Clayton Hunter, the newly seated council’s first order of business was to name a mayor pro tem. By a unanimous vote, Jay Walsh was named to be the new Mayor Pro Tem replacing, Gary Ross who retired.
Hunter and Swafford along with returning mayor Michael Driggers were sworn by Interim City Secretary Deborah Watkins at Monday’s night’s regular meeting.
With the new council seated, City Manager Carl Sherman introduced a resolution asking for the council’s approval for the appointment of new city secretary Callie Green. Green’s appointment was approved by a unanimous vote. She will take the place of Watkins on May 23.
Joint sessions of the planning and zoning commission and the city council were held to hold public hearings and consider proposals to first approve a zoning change to Planned Development -6. With the approval of the zoning change, the two groups and then considered the new zoning, allowing a proposed use for the installation of a stand-alone ice dispensing machine, mobile food vending court, and outdoor dining facilities. The location of the proposed change is 202 South Central Street.
Jake Ellzey previously had the council’s approval to locate his ice dispensing kiosk machine at a location on Farm-To-Market 664.
“Due to the location of overhead power lines, this location was not feasible. Mr. Ellzey looked for other locations, and the city’s staff worked with him to find another location,” City Manager Carl Sherman said.
Mike Moffit owns the location that was presented to Ellzey. Ellzey and Moffit plan to turn the now vacant lot into a food court with spaces and utility connections for food vendor trucks, and outdoor family picnic areas.
“My goal is to beautify the area and make it a nice place for the people of Ferris to enjoy,” Ellzey said.
Both the zoning change and the zoning use unanimously were approved by both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the city council. Planning and zoning members Charles Hatfield and Bill Malloy abstained from the discussion and vote.
During the city manager’s comments, Sherman updated the council on an inter-local agreement between the city and the school district.
“We are making progress on the inter-local agreement between the city and the district. I am very optimistic that we will have an agreement signed by the end of June,” Sherman said.
Information provided by Sherman indicated that the city approximated savings of $1 per gallon. The savings would bring the city’s fuel coast down to approximately $26,000 per year.
“Since we are partnering with the district, I am proposing a 3 percent fee for allowing us the use of their facilities. That would bring our annual fuel cost to $27,584 based on previous years consumption,” Sherman said.
Sherman introduced another partnership program between the city and the school district for assistance with the animal services facility.
“To allow our animal control officer more time for her duties and assist with code enforcement duties, I am proposing using the students in the FFA program at the school to handle some of the facility operations. We are still working on the detail,” Sheman said.
“By mid-June, all of our officers will have body cameras. This will be a great aid to Chief Salazar and our officers,” Sherman said.