Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

February 7, 2013

City talks makeup of Housing Code committee


Mineral Wells Index

— By CHRIS AGEE



Following Mineral Wells City Council's approval last month to create a seven-member board to oversee the city's new minimum housing code, council members discussed the committee's makeup and length of application period at Tuesday night's meeting.

Council took no official action but Mayor Mike Allen expressed his desire to see a mix of landowners, realtors and residents on the committee.

As of Tuesday evening, the city had received 13 applications and Allen said he would like to set Feb. 13 as the deadline to apply.

Councilman Thomas Lively said he has been in contact with a number of potential applicants he feels should be considered and agreed one more week should be sufficient for any interested candidates.

Selection of committee members was also discussed, though no official method was adopted. Lively noted he preferred a vote among all council members on each potential candidate rather than each member simply appointing his or her recommendation.

City Manager Lance Howerton presented proposed details about the minimum housing code to local landowners and council members at two separate meetings last month.

He explained the details are still open for debate but suggested an amended version of the 2006 International Property Maintenance Code to govern declining rental properties within the city.

The purpose of the code, officials say, is not to remove anyone from their homes but to deal with substandard residences by bringing them up to minimum standards.

Following public comment on the issue at a January meeting, council members voted 4-1 to approve the motion to accept applicants for the committee.

The opposing vote came from Place 1 Councilman Rick Bennett, who expressed concern about government overreach and wanted to table the motion in order to further discuss the proposal with constituents.

Lively voted for the motion, though he stated his opinion the code should be enforced on both rental and owner-occupied properties.

Stage race street closures

Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan presented council with the proposed streets to be closed in advance of the Iris Stagner Memorial Stage Race set for Feb.  16.

The race, sponsored by the Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce, is renamed this year in honor of Stagner, who was struck and killed by a motorist as she rode her bicycle along U.S. Highway 180 West last year.

Sullivan said the street closures are the same as those approved for last year's race and explained the race will result in added local tourism.

Council voted unanimously to block off the two northernmost lanes of East Hubbard Street between N.E. 6th and 1st Avenues and block the east half of N.E. 1st Avenue from Hubbard to N.E. 2nd Street.

Additionally, portions of N.E. 1st and 2nd Streets, and N.E. 2nd through 6th Avenues will be closed.

The closures will last from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Election details set

Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution contracting election services between the city and the Palo Pinto County elections administrator's office.

As introduced last year, City Clerk Juanita Formby said county elections administrator Judith Evans will largely supervise the election, which will once again be held at the Palo Pinto County annex at 109 North Oak Ave.

Formby explained the central location coincided with a marked increase in voter turnout in 2012.

Nearly 1,300 voters went to the polls last year, a jump from the recent low of 142 in 2009. While a number of ballot initiatives, including off-premise alcohol sales, likely represented some of that increased interest, she said the location will hopefully help maintain a higher level of voter response.

Board appointments

Following the Jan. 15 meeting of the Mayor's Committee on Boards and Commissions, City Clerk Juanita Formby presented recommended additions to three city boards.

In response to the recent resignation of Larry Gaines from the Airport Advisory Board, the mayor's committee recommended Roger Smith to fill the vacancy.

The committee suggested Clif Wright and Michael Ward replace two outgoing members of the Board of Adjustment. Marty Logan was reassigned to the Planning and Zoning Commission and Bobby Jenkins moved away, creating the two vacancies.

Two vacancies remain on the Boyce Ditto Public Library Advisory Board, created by Donneita Lampley's recent resignation and Michele Nations' reassignment to the Friends of the Library.

The eleven-member board can still operate with nine members while the city recruits potential replacements, Formby said.