The Magnolia City Council wrapped up the summer Aug. 14, with a lengthy agenda of activities and resolutions. The oath of office was administered to City Secretary Lynne George, Municipal Court Judge Jimmy Thornton and Municipal Court Administrator Karla Bussey.
The council agreed to annex several acres adjacent to the Canrig Drilling Technologies offices, along FM 1488 in Magnolia, which pushes the city limits eastward. They agreed to consider a contract for improvements to Commerce and 10th streets, near the Walgreens store that is being constructed. They also agreed to award a new contract for city janitorial services to Alpha Cleaning Concepts. Approximately eight bids were received and council decided that Alpha provided the most services for the cost.
The council will allow a variance of less than the required five feet on one lot within the Magnolia Ridge subdivision, because the permit has already been issued for a home to be constructed, but they wanted to state that any additional lot deviations would need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Residents of Connie Street, near Nichols Sawmill Road, requested city action regarding a serious drainage problem that they said caused flooding to several homes three times within the last two years. The council agreed to consider a corrective action of larger culverts at that corner to accommodate high rainwater volume.
Mayor Todd Kana proclaimed the first full week of September to be National Payroll Week for Magnolia, as a means to promote economic health and to educate the business community and the public about responsible payroll practices, laws and guidelines. The American Payroll Association, which promotes itself as the nation’s leader in payroll education, has declared September 3-7, 2012 as National Payroll Week to celebrate America’s 156 million wage earners and the payroll professionals who pay them.
Kana also presented a City of Magnolia flag to Magnolia ISD Superintendent Todd Stephens. The flag, which was designed by a Magnolia student, will be displayed at the Celeste Graves Education Center.
The council terminated an agreement with Magnolia ISD regarding joint maintenance for the planned recreation center pool and tennis courts, based on the recommendation of Deborah Rose Miller, president of the Magnolia Community Foundation. She has helped develop a plan that will allow Magnolia ISD to take on full maintenance of the facilities, and indicated that this would be reasonable because the facilities will be utilized by the schools and students.
Police Chief Domingo Ibarra reported a high rate of arrests being made by Magnolia police officers, as well as the benefit to the city from restitution for vandalism to Unity Park, a recently confiscated automobile as a result of the asset forfeiture rule and $113,000 received from fines as a result of the city’s red-light camera at the corner of FM 1488 and Buddy Riley. The camera has helped promote the safety of residents by reminding drivers that they need to come to a complete stop at this busy intersection.
Ibarra stated he was very proud of the recent success realized by the joint efforts of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, local businesses and residents, which resulted in the demolition of a dilapidated structure on Roy Street being accomplished free of charge by volunteers. Several Magnolia police officers and city council members attended the demolition.
“The neighbors on that street are so happy with the outcome,” said council member Anne Sundquist.
City Administrator Paul Mendes reported that the better records being kept by the public works department has resulted in greater water conservation. He also stated the municipal court is in the process of removing outstanding warrants for persons who are no longer in the area, which should allow it to manage the recoverable warrants more effectively.
A public hearing was held just prior to the city council meeting regarding the proposal to make a change in tax revenues from properties on the tax rolls during the last year. This change from $0.4814 per $100 of appraised value to $0.4527 per $100 of appraised value could result in greater or lower taxes for individual properties, depending on their county-appraised value. The tax will apply to properties within the Magnolia city limits only.
This was the first of two public hearings to be held on the subject – the second one will be on Tuesday evening, Aug. 21. The council will vote on the proposal the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 29. No citizens spoke up during this first public hearing.