City Secretary Molly Jacobsen (right) delivers the oath of office to Mayor Wyman Williams on Tuesday. Williams was unable to take the oath at the May meeting of the City Council due to a medical procedure.

Scores of interested community members were added to local boards and committees and presentations were given regarding hotel tax funds at the June meeting of the Commerce City Council on Tuesday.

Council member Gene Lockhart was not in attendance Tuesday.

The council appointed members to six different boards. They are as follows:

  • Parks and Recreation Advisory Board: Kathleen Hooten, Debra Farquar and Richie Bruister.
  • Animal Shelter Advisory Board: Jennifer Foster, Kalei Beelitz and Chelsie Bass
  • Sulphur River Municipal Water District Board: Mike Roberts
  • Beautification Commission: Teddy Reel and Bobby Taylor
  • Planning and Zoning Commission: Gary Thompson, Terry Harris and Jonathan Myers.
  • Airport Advisory Board: Tim Sullivan and Russell Armstrong.

The Airport Advisory Board was a special case, as there were three vacancies, but only two appointed. The council did this deliberately to allow Ted Oats to continue to serve on the board with a replacement not named. Oats, an Air Force veteran and experienced pilot who served on the board for years, no longer lives in Hunt County, which is a requirement for board members according to city ordinance. The council wished to look over the residential requirements to the ordinance and see if changes should be made. Council member Jean Klaus said that the board would benefit from having someone as “well-qualified” as Oats to continue to serve. 

Oats will serve on the board until a decision is made by the council at a later date.

Several presentations were made regarding the allocation of hotel tax funds. The Commerce Parks and Recreation Department, Chamber of Commerce and Northeast Texas Children’s Museum all applied to received some of the funds. Parks and recreation is asking for $5,000 while the chamber and museum are asking for $15,000 each. A marketing agreement between the city and Texas A&M University-Commerce is also commanding $5,000 from the fund.

The council took no action on the matter on Tuesday, but are expected to make allocations at the next meeting in July. Between now and then a workshop will be held to hammer out more details, with a date yet to be set.

Beth Dattomo with Atmos Energy gave an update to the council on infrastructure projects being performed in the city by the company on its gas lines.

Projects had been underway in January and May that replaced hundreds of feet of gas lines with new polyethylene lines. A project is currently underway that is replacing 1,300 feet of lines on Taylor and Washington Streets.

A future project to replace lines on Washington and Chestnut streets is scheduled for July.

The council was split on the authorization of a street assessment study to be performed by Halff Engineering to better gauge which streets are in most need of repair. The study was first introduced at the May City Council meeting, with the council voting to table the measure to get more information. The survey would cost $55,400.

The vote was locked 2-2 to allow City Manager Darrek Ferrell to negotiate the contract, with Mayor Wyman Williams and council member Stephanie Muller voting for it, while Klaus and Beckey Thompson voted against. The measure did not pass due to lack of a majority.

Also during the meeting, Williams was officially sworn in, having missed the May meeting due to a medical procedure.

Sales tax collections for the month were once again higher than expected. Overall, the city has collected roughly $799,000 up to this point in the fiscal year, an increase of more than $42,000 over this point last year.

Property tax collections were announced at $1,958,503, which is a collection rate of 96.97-percent.

The next meeting of the Commerce City Council is scheduled for July 16 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.