Newspaper Archive of
Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
March 6, 2003     Hays Free Press
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March 6, 2003

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March 6, 2003 Current Events Page 3 The Free Press Bon Ton or bust? Kyle puzzles over new city building site BY BmL PETERSON Editor YLE,---Attempting to put ent strife in the city's rear view mirror, Kyle City Manager Tom Mards spoke at length about infrastructure and capital improvements "to begin Tuesday night's Kyle city council meeting. While water issues have dom- inated the council's attention of late, the city also is underway with $5.1 million in Capital improvements, including a public swimming pool, a fire station on the east side, a new city adminis- tration building and the restora- tion of the historic city hall. Council will have to decide before the end of the month if the city is going to purchase the for- mer Ben Ton property at Center and Front Streets. The city's option on the property expires on Maxch 21. Though the city appears to be leaning toward the Ben Ton site, some councilmembers and citi- zens believe the city ought to save the comer for commercial devel- opment. Others say an adminis- tration building on the comer would stimulate downtown Kyle, where some commercial spaces are empty. Last month, the council heard a feasibility study that found an administration building on the comer could serve the city's needs for 15 years at around $1.5 mil- lion. Tuesday night, Jeff Etheredge of HBC in Austin showed council a conceptual plan for a site that would lie between Gregg-Clarke Park and the pro- posed Home Town Kyle develop- ment west of SH 150. The proposed site is on prop- erty belonging to the Gregg Family, but is not part of the Home Town Kyle land. It is zoned for commercial use. Etheredge said develOpers may be interested in donating the land for a city administration building site just north of Gregg Clarke Park. The site would be modelled on a town center con- cept, with homes and small busi- nesses in the vicinity. However, the project surrounding the pro- posed administration si.te is in the earliest stages of conception. Kyle releases confidential memo about dealings with aquifer board BY BILL PETERSON Editor "YLF_As if to put a period on ll'Jk/he city's long-running feud ! with the Barton Springs/Edwards i Aquifer Conservartion District i (BS/EACD), the Kyle city council ! voted Tuesday night to send a let- ter to residents describing the i affair, and also to release a confi- i dential memo from city attorney i Barney Knight about the city's i dealings with the aquifer board. [ Some city officials believe they have received adverse publicity : from the controversy, which per- sisted for nearly six months before : council agreed on Feb. 14 to pay  the entire $129,124.71 fine for i exceeding its 55 million gallon water pumping permit by 89 mil- lion gallons. Council voted, 5-2, to release the lel and Knight's memo. Cris Martinez and LeD Taylor dissent- ed. Troy Bearden was absent from the meeting. , :ha,, Knight said nei- therdmeit,: 06tmcll, the mayor, nor the city manager had violated the Texas Open Meetings Act dur- ing a Feb. 4 executive session or a special open session on Feb. 14. A group of Kyle residents called "Concerned Citizens for Good Government" has alleged open meetings violations as the basis for its efforts to recall Kyle Mayor James Adldns. In the memo, addressed to City Manager Tom Mattis, Knight said Mattis advised the council during the executive session that he intended to follow legal advice to pay the fine and end the matter. 'TIowever, as always, it was clear that any member of the coun- cil could make any motion or vote that they thought advisable, and obviously the city council could have by motion and vote directed you and the attorneys to take a dif- ferent action than the action you intended to take" the memo said. 'q'here was absolutely no polling of council members, etc., or even the appearance of a violation of the Open Meetings Act during the executive session." Knight also said the special session called for Feb. 14 constitut- ed no violation of the open meet- ings act. The memo made no mention of "threats" that had been described by Councilmember Cris Martinez in the Feb. 14 open ses- sion. Sources said the Feb. 4 exec- utive session included a brief dis- cussion about a confidential memo that had been leaked outside the council. The cotmcil was reminded that the city charter provides that council members who mishandle council business can be voted off the council by the other six mem- bers. In the memo, Knight said the BS/EACD has historically given Kyle difficulty, adding that "the district was purposely generating negative publicity for Kyle, and the district's Board was using Kyle to further its other agenda." Knight added that the aquifer board's political tendencies aren't limited to Kyle. Knight said he has dealt with the BS/EACD as a city attorney since its inception in  1987. "(M)y personal experience with the BSEACD since 1987 caused me to believe that (even if great patience and professional skills were employed by the city) any attempted reasoning with the BSEACD would likely be unsuc- cessful" Knight said in the memo. "...It was possible to transact busi- ness reasonably with the prior gen- eral manager of the dislrict (Stovy BowleD) so long as Board involve- ment was not required. However, my experience (from the begin- ning) is that any issue that reaches the Board is handled as a political matter rather than with any sem- blance of a standard administrative process" Kyle first went to the BS/EACD for pumpage permit- ling in 1998. "Given the applicable facts and the law, I thought the application should be routine," Knight said in the memo. "However, immediate- ly after the relevant agenda item was read at the BS/EACD Board meeting, one of the BS/EACD Board members stated in a loud voice that 'I am outraged and Water Controversy, pg. 7 Regardless, opposition to the Ben Ton site came out Tuesday night when Maxine Weatherford, who has been active in historic preservation in Kyle, asked if the city has had an appraisal done on the land. Mattis said there had been no appraisal. "How can we know if we're paying a fair price for it if we haven't done an appraisal?" Weathefford asked. "We haven't bought the site" Mattis answered. Weatherfbrd also questioned the wisdom of going forward with the capital improvements, consid- ering the state of the economy arid the uncertainty that comes with the possibility of war. Mattis replied that the Certificates of Obligation, at a rate of 3.83 per- cent Over 22 years, pose a negligi- ble risk. Mattis presented a payment schedule based on conservati4e growth estimates. The toughest tax bite for the projects, he said, would come next year, assuming a growth rate of 19.96 percent in Ben Ton or Bust, pg..5 i Building Your Financial Future... COOPER INVESTMENTS AND RNANCIAI2MANAGEMENT SAM C. COOPER, CPA, CFP TM ARE YOU PAYING TOO MUCH IN TAXES? Payroll Services Buda 512-295-8180 Sam C. Cooper, CPA, CFP, Registered Representative and tnvestment Advisor Representative with and Securities offered through Intersecudties, Inc. LD4083-08/02 "1 cam help with air your financial needs." San Marcos 512-353-0800 budadenta PROFESSIONALS e are thrilled to announce the opening of our new office in downtown Buda, right across the street from the public library. While the office itself is new, you'll sense that same feeling of family when you walk through the door... You are invited to share in our celebration at an on Friday, March 7, 2003 from 5 until 8pm. We hope to see you there! March Madness Begins ... NOW!! Hays County's #1 Dodge Dealer is having a Truck Madness Sale Mar. 7-11 Ram 1500 Quad Cab *229"/m Ram 1500 Beg Cab *lR'tm Ram 2500 4x4 s329*/m Ram 3500 Dually '369"1m . ! C3165 C3090 C3199 C3037 i we wen'tile Ilntler$olti... Bringinanycompetitor'sad.and'.] we will meet or beat Chew price. 'i