The End Of An Era

El Campo Police Chief Terry Stanphill beams at a walk honoring police in Sept. 2015. Stanphill will officially announce his retirement at the upcoming El Campo city council meeting on Monday after serving as the ECPD chief for 10 years. Please look to upcoming editions for more information.

Blight fight planning returns to city council Monday with staff saying it needs “some teeth” in the battle.

Currently, city ordinances do not cover the state of windows (whether they must have glass in them or can simply be boarded up, for example), are limited on items like outbuildings (the condition of aging structures) and even rodents (addressing exterior property in addition to main building) along with other appearance and safety issues.

“We are waiting on direction from the council on this code,” City Manager Courtney Sladek said.

Staff hopes to have a proposed ordinance ready for review by the Sept. 28 session.

In the meantime, staff declined to make a comment on what changes it felt were vital to the fight or on the state of current blight fight efforts.

Establishing clear rules about parades will be another report Monday. After approving a request for a Sept. 11 trail ride from the movie theatre on the West Loop to GOP headquarters on West Monseratte, council said it wanted clear guidelines. An ordinance is being crafted for council consideration, but is not anticipated to be ready for a vote by Monday night.

The El Campo City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday in chambers, 315 E. Jackson. The meeting is open to the public with time specifically designated for citizen comments.

Only 26 people will be allowed in council chambers because of social distancing requirements. Those attending must wear a mask.

Those unable to attend can submit their comments to council@cityofelcampo.org by 2 p.m. Monday to become part of the permanent record.

Other items before Council include:

PUBLIC HEARINGS: Public hearings will be held on a Community Development Block Grant and next fiscal year’s City Development Corporation of El Campo budget.

“The CDBG hearing is for the grant application due at the end of the year for drainage mitigation efforts inside the city limits. The area targeted is along the Tres Palacios Creek,” City Manager Courtney Sladek said.

Tasked with economic development, the CDC is funded by a quarter cent of El Campo sales tax rebates. Its budget and all expenditures in excess of $25,000 require council approval. In addition, its board is appointed by city council.

FOOD TRUCK MANAGEMENT: “The Mayor (Randy Collins) has requested the food truck ordinance review committee (be created) to evaluate the existing ordinance,” Sladek said. “The city currently has an inspection and permitting process for all food trucks.”

CLOSED SESSION: Closed sessions will be held for succession plans based on the announced retirement of Police Chief Terry Stanphill as well as potential land donations along Jesse Street and the Tres Palacios Creek Channel.

SUPPORTING CITY GROWTH: Council will consider approval of a CDC Job Retention Incentive Grant to Gene’s Wrecker not to exceed $75,000. The company is anticipating additional jobs to go with a new site on U.S. 59.

PURCHASES & Other Items: Public Works is requesting an asphalt emulsion storage tank be bought for $51,450. Funding would be pulled from streets.

The department currently has two tanks that are in excess of 20 years old which are outdated and failing.

“Both tanks will be removed after installation of the proposed new tank,” Sladek said.

The budget and tax rate will also be considered (please see related story).

CONSENT AGENDA: General liability and property insurance renewal will be considered as part of the consent agenda along with minutes.

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