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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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February 13, 2013     Hays Free Press
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February 13, 2013
 

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Page 2A NEWS Hays Free Press * February 13, 2013 c re__Le The Hays Free Press (ISSN 1087-9323) published weekly by Barton Publications, Inc., 122 N. Main St., Buda, TX 78610. Periodicals postage paid at Buda, TX 78610 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Barton Publications, Inc., nO. Box 339, Buda, TX 78610. ISSN#1087-9323 NEWS TIPS If you think it's news, we probably do too! Newsroom phone: 512-268-7862 E-mail: news@haysfreepress. com Mail: P.O. Box 339, Buda, Texas 78610 CORRECTIONS Any erroneous reflection uponthe character, standing or reputation of any person, firm or corporation which may appear in the pages of the Hays Free Press will be corrected upon being br ought to the attention of the publisher. DEADLINES The deadline for display advertising and any contributed news copy in the Hays Free Press is 5 p.m. Friday the week prior to publication. * The deadline for Letters to the Editor and classified word advertising in the Hays Free Press is noon Monday the week of publication, though we encourage readers and advertisers to observe the Friday deadline. LETrERS GUIDELINES We welcome locally written letters to the editor on timely topics of community interest. We ask that you keep them to about 350 words in length and that you not indulge in personal attacks on private individuals. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. All letters should be signed by the author and include a daytime phone number where the author can be contacted for verification. Letter writers are limited to one letter per month. Letters can be emailed to csb@haysfreepress.com HISTORY Founded April 10, 1903, by Thomas Fletcher Harwell as The Kyle News, with offices on the corner of Burleson and Miller Streets in the town's oldest remaining building. It merged into The Hays County Citizen in 1956. The paper consolidated with The Free Press in October, 1978. During its more than 100-year history the newspaper has maintained offices at more than a dozen locations in Kyle and Buda. BY ANDY SEVILLA andy@haysfreepress.com As a Kyle resident steps up to fight for a position on the city council, another one drops out of the race. "Recently, I undertook a new business venture, one that has to be my first priority," Bill Sinor, ~vho filed his candidacy for the at-large District 3 seat on Jan. 30, said in an email statement. "Unfortunately, this doesn't leave time for much else. I know the city needs strong leadership, leadership that at this time I feel I can't provide." Sinor, who was the lone can- didate for council member Brad Pickett's currently held seat, drew an opponent Mon- day. Pickett said earlier this month he would not seek re- election. "I will not be running again in May," Pickett said. "My fam- ily and I have made this a mat- ter of prayer. Our family has had a rough 3 years in regards to my health and I need to take some time to take care of my health. Chad Benninghoss, who said his child and Sinor's played on the same little league team, filed his candidacy to the Dis- trict 3 seat out of an interest for city gov- ernment. "I wasn't looking to get on a soapbox and make a complete change in one area of the city," Benning- hosssaid."I BENNINGHOF justwanted to be a contributing member, I have the time and I have some education experience." Benninghoss who is a nurse practitioner for the Central Texas Medical Center's emer- gency room and holds a bro- ker's license in real estate in Texas and California, said his new employment position al- lows him the time necessary to commit to service on the city council. "I want to continue to do some of the good work other folks have already started," Benninghoss said. Benninghoss is no stranger to city politics. He ran an un- successful bid against Lucy Johnson, where she took the majority vote and began her political career as a Kyle coun- cil member. Johnson is the present Kyle mayor. Benninghoss said he lives in Hometown Kyle, is a family man, and just wants to make the city a "better place." "I think every city can im- prove in some areas, just like every household can improve in certain areas, every govern- ment can improve in a lot of ar- eas, maybe financially our city can improve or stabilize itself, as far as the amount of debt that it's accrued," Benninghoss said. "If there's options out there to look at, I might have a good eye to help out when budget time comes around." With Sinor's withdrawal, Benninghoss will be the lone candidate for Pickett's expiring seat. Council member Diane Hervol, whose at-large Dis- trict 1 seat is also set to expire in May, has filed for reelection and remains the lone candi- date in that race. The filing deadline for a place on the ballot is March 1. Sinor said he ~11 withdraw his candidacy for the District 3 seat with a "heavy heart," but remains committed to serve on the city council. "Once we are up and run- ning, I have no doubt that serv- ing on Kyle City Council is in my future," Sinor said. "I plan on filing next year when I have more time to commit to the great people and the wonder- ful city of Kyle." / BY ANDY SEVILLA "Obviously things that are yeah, so, yeah," Grant said. confidential are confidential, "I instantly got in touch with andy@haysfreepress.com but my best policy is that if them (the Omni in San Anto- something is confidential you nit), and I was told that (City Sensitive city information talkwithsomeone," Grantsaid. Manager) Lanny Lambert was could have been leaked af- "Yea_h, there's stuff here (in the in the process of picking it ter the city's attorney forgot city issued cell phone)certain- up." his city-issued cell phone in a ly that, there are certain emails "It's probably not the first downtown hotel in San Anto- that I might give the council time I, or anyone else, has left nit Sunday. or send them a confidential a cell phone somewhere ... I At around noon Sunday memo. Obviously if anyone's don't know what else to say. the Hays Free Press received a office is open at any point it's We're all human, we've all done phone call from the Loss Pre- there, or if a cell phone is left it," Grant said. vention department of the somewhere, there's always that Kyle council members were Omni hotel asking if it was problem." alert to the potential problem. known to whom the cell phone Grant said he accidentally "I called the hotel and en- from which they were calling took his cell phone wi~ him sured the phone is being kept belonged, on his personal trip to San An- in the hotel safe and will be re- The cell phone was, in fact, tonio and human error was to trieved early tomorrow morn- the one issued to Kyle City At- blame as the cause for leaving ing," said council member Sa- torney Julian Grant. the city phone behind, mantha Bellows-LeMense. The hotel said they were "It was forgetfulness," Grant Council member Becky Sel- calling phone numbers that said. "It was a personal trip, bera did not discount the im- had recently been dialed on and you were the last person portance of the misplaced city that cell phone in an effort to apparently I talked to and property and the existing po- find the owner, that's why they called you." tential for sensitive city busi- In an age of evolving tech- Grant said he noticed near- ness being leaked, but said nology, city employees connect ly 24-hours later that his city that it was a personnel matter their city email to their smart phone was missing, that the council, as a whole, phones, effectively rendering "I have a secure place that will look into. any information in it avail- I keep it (the phone), person- "I can assure you this matter able to anyone who could find ally, and noticed it wasn't there will be dealt with," said coun- missing or lost city property, and at that point realized that cil member Diane Hervol. City Manager Denied Continued from pg. 1A one against Aqua Operations, Inc., and one against the Bar- ton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. Council members also were to have "an attoruey-client consultation, on a matter in which the duty of the attor- ney to the governmental body under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas con- flicts with this chapter." "Nobody on council, in- cluding myself, knew [Lam- bert] was not going to be at executive session," said Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson. Pickett, too, said he was perplexed at Lambert's ab- sence in executive session, "except for maybe the last is- sue of executive session on the agenda [the attorney-cli- ent consultation[." "[Grant] told me a head of time, a couple of days before, that he needed the opportuni- ty to meet with the city coun- cil, his bosses, and tell them about his goals, directions and ideas for his department; and to brief them regard- ing what he's discovered and found, and his impressions of the cit, of the organization," Lambert said. Respecting that privacy, Lambert said he agreed to for- go involvement in executive session during that part of the closed meeting's agenda. Grant said the "attorney- client consultation" in the executive session agenda was just a discussion between the council and city attorney on matters that are going to re- main confidential. "I couldn't discuss anything about that," Grant said. "But no, I mean [Lambert] and I did a mutual thing about that. You know, in most cities, any- thing that somebody wants me to meet with the attorney for some frank discussion, you know the way we handle that is, you know, kind of part of the discussion. You know what I mean; it's just kind of the same parcel of it. But cer- tainly a mutual decision." Pickett, however, said that the authority to ask someone to attend or not attend an executive session should be up to the council as a whole. Echoing him, Johnson said the council should be asked, not the city attorney, whether Lambert is to attend execu- tive sessions. "To be truthflfl... I thought they would call me back in for the litigation [discussions]," Lambert said. "But I had not spoken with the mayor about it, I had only spoken with [Grant], so I think it probably was just an oversight, I don't think he thought about it and I don't think the council knew why I wasn't there." Grant, however, said that because he and Lambert de- cided it would be too early and premature to bring in outside counsel for the litiga- tion discussions, he, too, de- cided not to include Lambert in those discussions on Feb. 5, because "there wasn't any- thing to discuss really." "We took the matter up and just felt that, like I said, we're not in a state where we have much to share with [Lambert] this was kind of a status, here we are." "We would have our outside counsel there to discuss it if we were really doing much in detail and certainly [Lambert] and the outside counsel and any other staff members that might have some relevance would be in there, things that are necessary for the council to be informed, but it wasn't anything that's of that really, it just shook out that way," Grant said. When told that Lambert said he thought he would be involved in the litigation update agenda item during executive session, and that Johnson said the council did not participate in the decision behind excluding Lambert from that discussion, Grant was in disbelief. "Honestly, I assume that they haven't been, that no one in the council would be discussing even the merits of what we talked about with you, and they've certainly made that aware to me," Grant said. "So I would be cautious, I would just say be cautious there, because I wouldn't want you or anyone else to be incit- ing them to violate the Open Meetings Act." The Hays Free Press sent an email requesting comment to all seven elected officials. In the email, questions were asked about why Lambert did not participate in the execu- tive session and who decided that. They were also asked if discussions during that ex- ecutive session deviated from the agenda, by discussing personnel matters or hearing complaints on Lambert. Council members Saman- tha Bellows-LeMense, Diane Hervol and David Wilson all expressed discomfort with discussing matters of execu- tive session. According to a July 11, 1989 opinion by then-Texas At- torney General Jim Mattox, Section 551.146 of the Open Meetings Act "does not pro- hibit persons who are pres- ent at the executive session from afterwards talking about the subject matter of the ses- sion." Other state statutes or du- ties, however, may limit what a member of the governmen- tal body may say publicly. Grant said there was noth- ing "nefarious" behind the Feb. 5 executive session. "It's just the way it procedurally was." Road Bond: Kyle citizens get to say yay or nay Continued from pg. 1A Subscribe to the $28 for one year and get 2 TICKETS FREE ($80 VALUE) FOR SHOW ON FEB. 21 AT 8 P.M. Limited tickets available! New subscribers only! CALL 512-268-7862 FOR MORE INFO. Perwez said the bond issu- ceiving the benefit of that important; but safety is num- ance cost would not have an roadway being constructed for ber one." added tax impact to the fig- the needs of the city," Widacki Widacki said each road ure already estimated. City told council members at the plannedforimprovementshas officials have forecasted an Feb. 5 meeting. "So that's ba- about a 25 percent contingen- increase of $0.2075 per $100 sically why there are no right- cy built into their estimates, of property valuation to cover of-way costs in the estimate "so between the five different the project's cost, based on for Marketplace (Avenue)." roadways there's, I'd say real- current overall property valu- Council member Ray Bryant istically, an excess of probably ations, tookissue withWidacki's belief several million dollars." Thus, Openly, city officials have in donated right-of-way, with- Marketplace Avenue's exten- stated they do not foresee im- out having any written agree- sion could still be built even if posing a tax increase of nearly merit with property owners, area property owners decide $0.21 cents brought on by the Bryantsaidthatjustbecause against donating right-of-way project, and instead are hope- conversations have been had, land. ful the road improvements "that doesn't mean that they're Perwez said that, depend- will attract residential and going to accept it." ing on the final wording of the commercial developments "I would hate to approvebond election ordinance, sav- to help defray the cost of the a road to be built where we ings on a road's reconstruc- road improvements, as well as do not have the land for it, or tion could be used to cover any added sales taxes brought have no means of acquiring increased expenses on anoth- on by the expected population the land," said Silverado er road in the improvement influx, homeowner Lisa Furler in her project. In a Silverado Homeowners HOA's meeting at city hall. Mobility committee mem- Association (HOA) meeting at Council member Brad Pick- bers Joe Bacon and Gayle City Hall Friday, the city's mo- ett askedWidacki to pursue on Meiser appeased Silverado bility committee made a brief an agreement in writing with HOA members' concerns over presentation and then an- the propertyowners. Marketplace Avenue's right- swered questions on the road "I would like you to pursue of-way uncertainty. bond proposal, that in whatever matter we "It does look favorable that Several homeowners ex- feel is necessary, because we the land will be donated and pressed approval for the proj- want to be able to tell the citi- that's what we're going by," ect at that meeting, but also zens that vote for this (bond Meiser said. cautioned they would like election) that that is the end Council members unani- concrete answers regarding cost," Pickett said. "If it's not, mously approved calling the right-of-way for the Market- then we need to be able to tell $36 million road bond elec- place Avenue extension before them that as well." tion at their Feb. 5 meeting the election in May. For Fufler, Marketplace Av- and they are scheduled for City Engineer Steve Widacki enue is a priority because of their final vote on the matter said the estimated $4 million the access, not only to shop- Feb. 19. cost for the extension of Mar- ping but to the hospital. Furler said she thinks put- ketplaceAvenue does not have "if we have the means ofting the road bond election to right-of-way acquisition fac- acquiring the (right-of-way) the voters is a"great idea." tored into it, because property land, whether that's through "We really need to be con- owners have said they would donation or purchase, then cerned about the children that donate the land. yes, (Marketplace Avenue) are walking on roads with no "It's been posed to the prop- needs to be built, sidewalk," Furler said. "Just erty owner on two different "We really need to be con- knowing the growing number occasions that we would an- cerned about the safety of all of our population, we're in a ticipate they would donate the our citizens," Furler said. 'And rush and not always watching. right-of-way for (Marketplace access to the high school, to I don't want us to wait for an Avenue), because they're re- the hospital, to shopping, is accident to build the roads."