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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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February 6, 2003     Hays Free Press
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February 6, 2003
 

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February 6, 2003 Current Events Page 3 • Tbe Free Press County comes under fire for administrator pay raise BY BRENT STRONG Staff Writer OUNTY - A promotion and a $22,000 raise for Hays County Director of Environmental Health Alan Walther caused a few eyebrows to be raised as well. The commissioners' court voted 3-2 coming out of execu- tive session last Tuesday to give Walther the pay raise from $67,804 to $90,000, along with the new title of County Administrator. The money will come from a $70,000 contin- gency fund used to pay for items not budgeted during the fiscal year. To those wondering why Walther received such a dra- matic raise in pay, County Judge Jim Powers offered a simple answer. "When you look at the fact that he was making close to $70,000 and he'll be oversee- ing people like the county engi- neer (who is) making $90,000, it was an easy decision," Powers said. Walther's responsibilities as County Administrator will include overseeing all of the department heads in Hays County and acting as a liaison between the court and the dif- ferent departments in the coun- ty. In the past, department heads have reported to commis- sioners court. Powers said the change will streamline the process. "Anytime you're running an operation with a $54 million budget and consolidate to one person it's helpful," Powers said. Pet. 2 Commissioner Susie Carter, who voted against the pay increase, said she doesn't see Walther's new responsibili- ties as a benefit to the county. "If the man already is hav- ing problems, then increasing his responsibilities won't help," Carter said. 'q'he environmental health department is needing to do a better job and Alan is always given the money he has requested and doesn't do a bet- ter job or even a good job, in my opinion." Walther provoked Carter's ire when a 1,54 l-lot subdivision partly in the Kyle Extra- Territorial Jurisdiction came to commissioners court Tuesday for preliminary plat approval without the proper plans for water and wastewater use. Oddly enough, the original motion to give Walther the raise was proposed by Pet. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales-Ingalsbe and Pet. 4 Commissioner Russ Molenaar. During the vote, though, Ingalsbe voted against the raise. Ingalsbe said she believed Walther would do a good job and that the position is needed, but the court needed to have further discussions. As to whether or not the new salary, which dwarfs the $69,231 in compensation for the county judge, diminishes the power of the county judge, Powers said, "I used to think that might be an issue. It does- n't bother me. I didn't run for this job just for the money." One person ignored in the debate over salary is the person receiving the money. Walther said he's received plenty of sup- port in light of the controversy. "I've had some wonderful calls and e-mails," Walther said. "I've been very thankful for that." When asked how much of a raise he would give himself, Walther responded, "I haven't even considered that. I'm pleased with what the court did concerning my pay raise. I couldn't even put a dollar fig- ure to it." Kyle agrees to option The Free Press 268-7862 • 262-6397 • ax: 268-0262 E-Mail: ads@haysfreepress.com or news@haysfreepress.com on Bon Ton property BY BILL PETERSON Editor YLE---Within two months, yle's city government will decide whether to build its new administrative offices, or anything else, on the former site of The Bon Ton, which perished by fire last Nov. 30. Finally, after nearly two months of speculation, the city and Bon Ton owner Craig Fuller have entered into an option agreement on the property, according to Kyle City Manager Tom Mattis. The city has until March 21 to close on the proper- ty, should it determine a suitable use for it. 'q'he owner wants us to have the ability to do our delibera- tions," Mattis said. "But if we're not going to buy the property, they need to move on." The city has approved an issue of Certificates of Obligation to capitalize five improvements, including new city offices. Mattis has frequent- ly said the present offices, at the former Post Office on Center Street, leave the city staff with inadequate room. Whether the site of the for- mer Bon Ton at Center and Front Streets would fill that bill remains to be determined. The city has retained consultation to study the feasibility of such a move. Mattis has also said the site could be suitable for some other city use if city offices aren't feasible. The Bun Ton site is bounded by city streets on three sides, with a commercial building on its remaining side. Some city officials believe administrative offices can't fit on the lot unless the city builds a multi-storied structure. Councilmember Troy Bearden said he would like to keep the city's options open for the site of a new office building, as the former site of the leg- endary grocery story might not afford sufficient flexibility. In other developments: • The city adopted, on sec- ond reading, a four-month extention of its residential build- ing moratorium, which first went into effect last March. • Council also approved a site development plan for a 23,000 square foot complex of professional offices near the intersection of FM 2770 and SH 150, on land formerly owned by Benchmark Development. Kyle Pumpage Fine, from page 1 Kyle City Manager Tom Mattis said at the end of a long state- ment issued Wednesday. Mattis said after the Tuesday night's council meeting that the city doesn't intend legal action against the water board, as had been contemplated late last year. "We're focused on a quick, final resolution," Mattis said. "Obviously, you're not going to accomplish that through the courts." If Tuesday night's episode effectively ended a rancorous four-months of hostility between .the city and the water board, it also extended and enlivened ten- sions that have existed for at least as long between Mattis and factions of the city council. On the former front, Mattis said council was put off by the water board's grandstanding on the city's problem, while BS/EACD President Jim Camp said the city - particularlyMattis - dragged its feet on the problem from the moment last summer when the board first alerted the city about the overpumpage. The city and the water board last met on Jan. 16, after Mattis had proposed that the city make $45,000 in water system improvements with hopes of reducing its fine by $31,389.18. The aquifer board's next propos- al, which was to have been pre- sented to council Tuesday night, Would require the city to pay the entire fine with the possibility of receiving $22,000 back if the water board finds a 15 percent reduction in the city's water sys- tem losses in two years. However, said Mattis, the water board's proposal not only departed from the framework of earlier negotiations, but the board violated the bounds of "professional courtesy," by first taking its proposal public in a column, written by Camp, which ran earlier this week in two Hays County newspapers. Along with his irdtation at Camp's column, Mattis expressed disdain that the news media was out in relatively large force for Tuesday's council meeting and accused the aquifer board of orchestrating the con- troversy for its own political benefit. "It's contrary to our interests to have publicity that seems to be designed to embarrass the City of Kyle," Mattis said. Camp said his column and the aquifer board's cooperation with the news media, have been motivated by a desire to be open with the public. In addition, said Camp, the city left the board with little choice. Camp said the city responded much too slowly when it was originally informed of the water problem, then continued a slow pace of cooperation during the succeeding months. Camp said the board met with Mattis on Nov. 27 and requested informa- tion on the Kyle's number of liv- K,le Pumpage Fine, pg. 10 €&J GREENflOUSES 512-357-6153 SPRING BEDDING PLANTS • TOMATOES & PEPPERS 6" GERANIUM, BEGONIA, IMPATIEN SPECIAL SALE SHRUBS: • DWARF YOUPON • DWARF NANDINA • BURFORD HOLLY • DIGUSTRUM • PHOTINIA • ELEAGNUS • VARIGATED • BLUE POINT JUNIPER 3-GAL, $9.95 • 1-GAL, $3.45 Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.nL to 5:30 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hwy 142,1/2 mile NE of Martindale I I "NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON AMENDMENT OF IMPACTS FEES" IOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the City Council of the City of Buda, Texas will mid a public hearing at the Buda Elementary School Lunchroom, 300 San Marcos ;treet, Buda, Texas on March 11, 2003 at 7:00 p.m., to consider the amendment of land lse assumptions and a capital improvements plan and imposition of an impact fee for lew or expanded services from the City of Buda water and/or wastewater systems. he shaded potion of the map shown below is the area in which the fee may be applied in-full )r in-part, depending on the service arrangement and in no way obligates the City to extend ervice beyond its incorporated area. The maximum amount of impact fee that can be charged )er service unit is estimated at $2,721 for water service and $1,514 for wastewater service. The 'xact amount of the impact fees to be levied, at or below the maximum, will be determined by he Buda City Council subsequent to the Public Hearing. kny member of the public has the right to appear at the hearing and present evidence for or tgainst the plan and proposed fee. Information on prospective growth, land uses, and needed :apital improvements that were used to calculate the maximum fee amount is available from €Ir. Grey White, Assistant City Manager, at the City Hall address listed above.