Lucas City Council Welcomes New Fire-Rescue Truck Inclement Weather Forces Rescheduling of Annual Trash-off
The “Don’t mess with Texas Trash-Off” scheduled for Apr. 6 was canceled due to inclement weather. Instead, the annual clean-up event has been rescheduled for Jun. 15 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Mayor Jim Olk said, “Lucas participates in this annual cleanup to support efforts in clearing city-maintained areas and roadsides of trash. We encourage the community to volunteer in the cleanup as we continue to focus on litter abatement”. Pre-registration is urged but volunteers may also register the morning of the event at City Hall, 665 Country Club Road. Lunch will be provided. If you have any questions regarding the Don’t mess with Trash-Off, contact Special Projects Coordinator Kent Souriyasak at email@example.com or 972-912-1213.
Councilmembers and staff welcomed the delivery of the city’s newest Fire-Rescue truck, manufactured by one of the nation’s leading producers of Fire-Rescue apparatus Pierce, the vehicle cost $750,000. It will be officially added to the city’s fleet at “Push-in” ceremonies on Apr.18 at the Lucas Fire Station, 165 Country Club Rd at 5:30 pm. The push-in ceremony began in the era when fire apparatus was drawn by horses. Firefighters would welcome new equipment by first washing it and then pushing it into the fire station.
Seventh grader Nathaniel Bognot, a student at Willow Springs Middle School, and a participant in the Lovejoy ISD Independent Studies Program presented a summary of his project before the City Council. His work focused on “How companies moving to Texas would affect the economy.” He received an enthusiastic ovation for his very impressive performance and received congratulations from the Mayor, councilmembers and those in the audience.
The closing of Blondi Jhune Road during construction will result in traffic being re-routed. Forestview Drive and Gold Dust Trail are expected to handle much of the traffic that will be disrupted. Councilmember Wayne Millsap observed that this could become problematic due to five stop signs and several road humps that exist along the roads. Millsap explained, “The stop signs are installed in places where stop signs aren’t really necessary such as at the head of a cul de sac where there are only two homes. The road humps were originally installed by residents of the neighborhood and not the city.” Fire Chief Ted Stephens added, “My principal concern is for the welfare of those being treated in an ambulance. Having to travel over a road hump could be very problematic.” Mayor Olk agreed. The council will consider removal of the road humps and several stop signs but only after residents of the affected neighborhoods are consulted. City staff will inform residents in the area and the issue will be discussed again at the council’s next meeting on Apr. 18.
Scott Sperling, a member of the seven-member Lucas Planning and Zoning Commission is relocating and has resigned. Tim Johnson has been appointed by the Council to replace him while 2nd alternate Tommy Tolson has been designated as 1st alternate. A new 2nd alternate member will be appointed soon to fill the vacancy.
City attorney Joe Gorfida reviewed proposed housekeeping edits to the City Charter. Texas law requires cities to periodically review their Charters. Most of the changes reflect language that is either outmoded or redundant. One issue, however, that Council members consider greater than a housekeeping cleanup has to do with language in the charter providing guidance for selection of a financial auditor to review the city’s financial management. An annual audit takes place and the current charter language states that a qualified auditor is limited to conducting five consecutive audits. City Manager Joni Clarke informed the Council that the pool of qualified auditors with municipal government experience is limited and the current language could present challenges. Councilmember Millsap, formerly a CPA, noted that it is commonplace for the auditor to be one of several auditors in a CPA firm and that rotating the audit among different auditors within any one firm is a common remedy. Mayor Olk suggested the addition of qualifying language to exempt the current restrictions if, for example, no other qualified auditor can be contracted. The council will continue to review this and all of the proposed amendments before taking any action.
City Manager Joni Clarke led the Council through a discussion of the City’s compensation system for city employees. There are 38 employees currently and Clarke has worked with the Council since her appointment in Mar. 2014 to develop job descriptions for all employees and salary ranges for all positions. Clarke and several council members expressed enthusiastic support for the current staff. Mayor Olk said, “We should be a bit above average in our compensation of staff.” Councilmember Fisher said, “Our employees are better than average. But we also need to be aware of the impact of compensation adjustments on our constituent’s taxes.” Clarke ended the discussion for now by saying, “We need to develop a financially sustainable compensation model for the future.”
The Lucas City Council will meet next on Thurs., Apr. 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall.