City suspends rate increase requested by Atmos Energy

The rescheduled City Commission meeting took place on Tuesday morning, Feb. 21, 2012 at City Hall.The resolution recognizing the contributions of the Ludlum family to the economic life of Sweetwater along with the 50th anniversary of Ludlum Measurements was approved, following the reading of the resolution last Tuesday, Feb. 14 by Commissioner Jerod Peek.To coincide with the half-century accomplishment, the commission also approved an ordinance naming the street which serves as the entrance to the 88-acre Industrial Park as "Ludlum Drive". The street was dedicated to the city by SEED (Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development), and a street name is necessary to meet 911 requirements.The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011 was also approved. The brief review of the audit report was presented by Cathy Wilks, who noted a clean opinion. Ms. Wilks and members of the commission also commended the city staff for their work over the past fiscal year, which resulted in earning the GFOA (Government Finance Officers Association) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 27th year.Reappointments were approved for the Auditorium Board, as Trey Aiken and John Spaulding will continue to serve as city appointees and Kathy Rainey will continue as the joint city-county appointee. Their terms will expire Feb. 28, 2014.Additionally, the commission approved two reappointments to the City/County Airport Zoning Board. Bill Haley and Ms. Jay Neal--as the city and joint city/county appointees, respectively--will begin new terms which will also expire at the end of February 2014.In addition, approval was given for the city to suspend the rate increase requested by Atmos Energy. Sweetwater is one of 154 cities who are part of a steering committee, and the approval will also allow the city to continue with the committee as their attorneys work toward negotiations with Atmos.Approval was also given authorizing staff to go out for bids on AC5 asphalt--or AC10 should the former not be available--and Grade 4 crushed rock to be used in the 2012 street seal coating project. The project is slated to begin this July.Furthermore, the commission also approved an ordinance ordering the election to be held on May 12, 2012 for the purpose of electing two city commissioners for Precincts 2 and 4.Approval was given of the minutes from the Jan. 10, 2012 meeting, and while no action was taken, Sweetwater Police Chief Jim Kelley presented the annual Racial Profiling Statistics report, which will be electronically filed with the state.In the City Manager's report, it was noted that the election calendar is in the commissioners' packets. Also, notification has been received from the U.S. Department of Justice which gives pre-clearance on the city's 2011 redistricting plan.Notification was also received that the speed limit on Interstate 20 has been raised to 75 MPH (miles per hour); however, the new limit is effective when the new signage is in place.The Senior Nutrition Activities Program, or SNAP, has been relocated to the park building which previously used to store the Trail of Lights fixtures. The tear-down of the old building began on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2012 and is still ongoing.Furthermore, a payment for bond interest was made on Feb. 15, 2012 for $307,045. In other financial-related news, it was noted that the January sales tax remittance from the state was up 29% from the prior year. Sales tax revenue is also up 57%, fiscal year to date.The City Manager additionally reported the he is discussing and negotiating oil and gas leases with landmen and companies interested in leasing city-owned properties. Any lease proposals will be brought to the city commission for final approval.