City sales tax numbers up

The Sweetwater City Commission met for their first meeting of the fiscal year on Tuesday morning, Oct. 11, 2011 at City Hall.In attendance at the meeting were this year's Leadership Sweetwater participants, a civic program sponsored by the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce. Jacque McCoy, executive director of the Chamber, presented the group as a whole before each member gave a personal introduction to the commission.A few action items were considered at the meeting, such as an amendment with an agreement made between the city and USDA-APHIS (United States Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) wildlife services. The commission approved aerial hunting as a control method on city owned property due in part to recent feral hog damage and the possible threat to human health and safety.Among the city property which has been damaged by the feral hogs was the Municipal Golf Course, in which a powerpoint presentation was shown. It was noted, however, that the hogs root mostly around the greens only. The reasoning as to why the hogs do not root up the greens itself were unknown, but the cost to renovate each green would be around $10,000 should that issue occur.Other city-owned property which has been damaged is at the sewer farm, Lake Sweetwater, Oak Creek Lake and the wastewater plant. The city believes that the approved aerial hunting will be the most effective way to combat the feral hog damage.In addition, two approvals were given in regards to the 2011 TxCDBG (Texas Community Development Block Grant) Grant for the Sewer Facility Improvements Project which the city recently applied for and received. Out of over 50 applications, Sweetwater was one out of around six who acquired the grant, which will be used to fix the sewer line on Neff Street.One approval was for a resolution authorizing Sweetwater Mayor Greg Wortham to enter an agreement with A&J Howco Services, Inc. for grant management services. The other approval allows Mr. Wortham to enter into another agreement with Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd, Inc. for engineering services.Furthermore, the commission approved the second and final reading of the ordinance which adopts the revised plan for the city's commission member districts. The city will now file the information with the Department of Justice, which will conclude the redistricting process.Approval was also given for the commission to nominate Ben High to serve on the Board of Directors for the Central Appraisal District of Nolan County. Mr. High's term will begin on Jan. 1, 2012 and end on Dec. 31, 2013.Also approved during the meeting was the Quarterly Investment Report for the quarter which ended Sept. 30, 2011. The city's finance director, Carolyn Lawrence, gave a brief breakdown and overview of the report. The minutes from the meeting held on Sept. 13, 2011 were approved as well. Sweetwater City Manager Eddie Brown gave his report, stating that the city has received the GFOA (Government Finance Officers Association) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the fiscal year ending in 2010. The award is not given to many cities and each year has become more difficult to attain. The city's finance department, which is made up of Ms. Lawrence and her staff, were commended for attaining the award for the 27th year. Mr. Brown also reported on the tax collection ratio for the end of the fiscal year 2011, noting that it was a very good year with a 96% average. The September 2011 sales tax numbers were reported up 115%, or $179,393.77 from 2010.The amount from the September 2011 sales tax numbers included a single payment of $132,941.72 from a taxpayer (city's portion), as well as an audit recovery of $6,519.35.Additionally, Mr. Brown informed the commission that he met with Eddy Campbell, Scott Hibbs with Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd, and Jim Clements of Oncor to discuss the recent power outages and impact on the Water Treatment Plant. Mr. Hibbs will bring a report on Nov. 8, 2011, on the discussions held with recommendations on how to solve the problem.