Thursday, September 20, 2007

City Council Meeting September 20

Mayor Don Hudson called the City Council together (minus Mary Evans) promptly and Councilman Eugene Lowe lead the group invocation. A brief review of the consent items initiated no discussion and was passed on voice vote.

The first order of business on the agenda was to review and accept the audited financial report for fiscal year ending September 2006, a full fiscal year late. There was no discussion of the report and upon approval of the resolution to accept it, the report was presented by City Administrator Thom Lauer to Kevin Kline representing the Texas Water Development Board, both of whom were in the audience. The second item on the agenda listed Mr. Kline as a speaker, but when asked if he was allowed to comment, Mayor Don Hudson asked Mr. Kline if he had a positive comment. Mr. Kline responded that his comments were as positive as he could manage under the circumstances. The Mayor replied to Mr. Kline that "You have your report" and did not allow public comment from Mr. Kline, even though he was documented in the agenda. (ED NOTE: It is highly unusual for City Officials to limit comments from state regulators in an open meeting, however, the City of Wilmer has not posted an adequate timely financial report during the current century according to past reports in the Ellis County Press. The Mayor's remarks were described as "hostile" and "rude" during the break before executive session.)

The three following agenda items related to ordinance 07-0920-A. A public hearing was called on a proposal to create an investment zone fund, with no comments from the public. At no time was any information available or presented to the public for review prior to the public hearing. When the measure for adoption was proposed, Councilwoman Tiny Lange questioned that there were two different versions of the proposal. City Administrator Thom Lauer, in an increasingly characteristic outburst complete with flushed appearance, interrupted the meeting stating that one copy was a resolution and the other copy was the ordinance. Tension in the room was high as Mr. Lauer's tone was openly hostile and apparently sanctioned by Mayor Hudson, effectively shutting down any further discussion of the matter from Tiny Lange, the only female council member present.

BWR Corporation Consulting Engineers presented a verbal proposal to work for the City on a comprehensive package of civil engineering, development and planning services. Councilman Billy Wickliffe asked the audience if any one had worked with this firm, seeking the counsel and opinion of long time Wilmer developer Mike Rader. City Administrator Thom Lauer interjected that his objective in scheduling the presentation for the council meeting was to bring on BWR as ad hoc interim civil engineers to review and approve plats and plans. At some point it was brought out that one of the presenters was the current Mayor of Cedar Hill as well as a business partner in BWR Corporation.

Before adjourning into executive session to consider hiring a new Water Department employee (approved), the approval of resolution 0920-07-A to adopt a city investment policy was scheduled. However, it was unclear if the measure was separate from the ordinance and resolution previously discussed. Again, there were no materials available for public inspection, comment or review of this proposal. The measure was passed with Tiny Lange the lone dissenting vote.