Constitution day

Commerce Mayor Wyman Williams (left) presents a proclamation to the Charles Croxall Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution proclaiming Sept. 17, 2019 as Constitutuion Day and Sept. 17-23 as Constitution week in Commerce at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The Commerce City Council passed the budget and tax rate for the next fiscal year at its September meeting Tuesday night.

A few tweaks were made to the budget since it was first presented on Aug. 1. The changes include an increase of $60,325 in General Fund expenses, $18,178 in increased Public Utility Fund spending, $42,744 in Equipment Services Fund expenses and $5,194 more in expected revenues for the fund, and a reduction of $2,843 for the Commerce Economic Development Fund budget.

The amended budget and tax rate of $0.82 per $100 of property value, the same rate for the past few years, were approved unanimously by the council, and will go into effect with the start of the next fiscal year on Oct. 1.

Several amendments were made to the current budget to better reflect expenses. Alterations were made to the debt services fund, grant fund, airport fund and recreation fund.

Several residents made their opposition to a proposed zoning change known during a public hearing. A change in zoning from Single-Family Dwelling to Apartment Dwelling for a property at 1109 Aldridge Street was unanimously denied by the council after multiple residents came up to speak against it. The property has been used as a boarding house, and residents complained of the abundance of cars parked on the street, trash and more.

The council tabled a measure that would establish a lien forgiveness program within the city. Council member Beckey Thompson wanted to table the measure to better study the program and make sure it is clear and understandable, and the council voted unanimously to table it to a later date.

Mayor Wyman Williams proclaimed Sept. 17 as Constitution Day and the week of Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week in Commerce. Representatives with the Captain Charles Croxall Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution were on hand to accept the official proclamation.

John Sands was chosen as the city’s nomination to the Hunt County Appraisal District Board of Directors. Sands has also been nominated by the Commerce Independent School District.

Several items were passed unanimously by the council. The items were:

— An Ordinance amending Appendix “C”, “Fees, Rates & Charges” of the City of Commerce Code of Ordinances Fee Schedule; and providing an effective date. (Building permits are now $0.45 per square foot of the property instead of by property value, swimming pool permits are now $100 and there are now discounted rates at the Commerce Animal Shelter.) First reading, requires a second.

— A Resolution authorizing a grant agreement with TxDOT Aviation for the Routine Airport Maintenance Program (RAMP) and authorizing the City Manager to execute all necessary documentation.

— A Change Order #3 to the contract between the City and James D. White Electric, Inc. for Water Treatment Plant Motor Control Center Replacement Project, authorizing a $1,500 deduction from the total contract price.

— A Resolution accepting the work of the Motor Control Center\ Replacement Project by James D. White Electric at the Water Treatment Plant.

— A Resolution accepting the work of M-Pak Construction, Inc. upon completion of the final punch list and award final payment, contingent on receipt of closeout documents approved by engineer. (Skate park)

— A Resolution accepting the work completed on the repairs of the water filters at the Water Treatment Plant by Don Fryer Construction.

— A Resolution accepting the work completed on the sidewalks along Live Oak Street and Maple Street by J.R. Pope Construction, Inc.

— An Ordinance requesting a change in zoning by Rebecca Larsen, from A-2 Apartment Dwelling District to GB General Business District for the property known as Property ID: 37630, legal description A1140 Williams J, Tract 36, Acres 0.55, known as 210 Maple Street. First reading, requires a second.

Final sales tax figures were announced for the fiscal year. For the second year in a row, the city brought in more than $1 million in sales tax revenue, finishing with $1,043, 972, which is roughly $70,000 more than budgeted for and $13,000 more than last year.

Property tax collections were listed at 98.02-percent, for a total of $1,979,697.

Also announced at the end of the meeting was the demolition of the building at 1509 Caddo Street. The house has been a sore spot for the city for years, being in violation of code for more than a decade when code enforcement officer Michael “Pee Wee” Walker was shot and killed while visiting the property in accordance with his duties in 2005. Adam Ward was convicted of the murder in 2007 and executed in 2016. In August of this year, the city gained ownership of the dilapidated property, and plans to demolish it on Oct. 4 at 10 a.m., closing a painful chapter in the city’s history.

The next meeting of the Commerce City Council is scheduled for Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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