The Brownfield City Council had their second monthly meeting Thursday morning May 20, 2021. The main issues of the agenda were the quarterly reports for the fire dept. & Municipal Court.
In Item 3 the council was to hear and consider the 2019-2020 annual financial report from Bennett, Bennett, & Trice (BB&T). The the city is required by law to have an outside auditor to audit the previous years fiscal records within 180 days after the fiscal year was completed. However in late 2020 BB&T acquired Eddie Holloway’s accounting business, and through the process they have not been able to finish the audit. City Secretary/Assistant City Manager Kelly Burris told the council, “Bennett, Bennett, & Trice should have their audit and findings for the first meeting in June.” The item was tabled till the next meeting.
Next on the agenda was to hear and consider the quarterly update from Brownfield Fire & Rescue Chief Dennis Rowe. Chief Rowe showed the council from January 1, 2021 to March 31, 2021 they had a total of 52 calls which included fire, wrecks, and medical assists. Of the 52 calls, 33 were in the City of Brownfield and 19 were in Terry County. There were 10 structure fires, five grass fires, four rescues, four vehicle fires, six EMS calls, 13 false alarms, two arson cases, one fire related fatality, and 10 others. Chief Rowe explained the department has had a busy first of the year.
Chief Rowe also explained during the extreme cold weather we experienced was when there was most of the structure fires. As a result, it caused damage to some of the equipment. Chief Rowe said, “At this time we are still in the process of getting the trucks repaired and equipment replaced.” Councilwoman Judy Besler asked, “What has been the cost so far?” Chief Rowe replied right now between $10K to $15K.” Mayor Tom Hesse asked if the fire dept. was going to have yearly training again, because last year they were unable to do so due to COVID-19. “We are hoping to get it back soon. It is a great benefit for our guys and others across the state,” said Chief Rowe. The council approved the reports.
The Municipal Court quarterly reports were next with City Municipal Judge Ken Cole. According to the reports, in January 2021 there were 50 new cases filed, which was below January 2020 by 19 cases. In January 2020, coronavirus had not hit Texas or Terry County. The same was for February 2021 where there were 85 new cases filed compared to the 90 in February 2020. Moving into March 2021, there was drastic change from March 2020 where there were 145 new cases filed verses only 57 in 2020. “Texas has opened back up from the coronavirus and this led to people getting out more and breaking the law more,” Judge Cole said. Also for the month of March 2021, the city revenue from cases filed was up over 150%. Last year in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a major shutdown ,and the city revenue was $4,302 where as $10,937 of revenue was brought in for March 2021.
Judge Cole then moved on to talk about how community service is now available for non-profits, churches, and private businesses. He began saying that every person who receives a citation is allowed to pay it in full, or do community service. “So you have to give all the options to everybody… if you are indigent, well I just let everyone have the option and so I don’t ask if they are indigent.” Judge Cole said. According to Judge Cole if an entity offers community service then those who perform the work will need to be supervised. Councilman Eric Horton asked, “Who is supposed to do the supervising… is it law enforcement or those who wanted some to come out?” Judge Cole replied, “it’s those who want someone to do community service.” The council approved the Municipal Courts quarterly reports.
The council them moved on to appoint members to the various boards for the city. The council appointed Richard Van Derlist & Russ Taylor to the Zoning Board of Adjustments. The appointments of the Local Housing Authority Board was tabled until further notice due to some personal issues with one of the recommended appointees. The council did appoint Steven Estrada & David Morin to the Building Code Board of Adjustments & Appeal. The final appointment was to the Firemans Pension Board which has to be a council member. Former Councilman Chuck Nave had served on the Firemans Pension Board, however his term was up in the last election. Mayor Tom Hesse recommended Councilwoman and Mayor Pro-Tem Judy Besler to fill that spot. The council confirmed the appointment of Besler to that position.
The final item of business the council went into executive session (closed door) in accordance with section 551.086 certain public power utilities: competitive matters – power supply. The council met behind closed doors for about ten minutes and did not take any action on the executive item.
Council members present were Rick Rocha, Michael Tackitt, Michelle Cooper, Judy Besler, Mayor Tom Hesse, Celso Duran, and Eric Horton. Councilman Isaiah Bautista was absent. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday June 3, 2021 at 7:30 a.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.