Mayor, commissioners sworn in at city meeting

The Sweetwater City Commission met for its regular session meeting on Tuesday morning, May 17 at City Hall.Opening the meeting was the swearing in of the Mayor and two City Commissioners. Greg Wortham will continue to serve as Mayor, while Larry May and Ricky Castro will serve as City Commissioners in Precincts 1 and 3, respectively.Other action items included the adoption of a resolution appointing Mayor Pro-Tems for the city and establishing some terms. In addition, an amendment to the city's Drought Contingency plan was considered to include the total daily pumpage in the Stage I triggering criteria. Both items were approved.Also approved was the proposal for redistricting services for the city. In light of the Census results, the report noted that the population dropped from 11,415 in 2000 to 10,906 in 2010. Two proposals were offered for the rather involved process, one from Knight & Partners out of Austin and the other from Dr. David Guinn out of Waco. The commissioners approved the proposal from Knight and Partners, which was deemed as a financially sound choice. They will first look over the case to determine if there is a need for the redistricting review.Another item which was included in the meeting was the consideration of the first reading of an ordinance regarding a rate increase from ONCOR. The city approved a resolution between a steering committee of cities and the electric company to increase rates. Negotiations began with a need of $353 million by ONCOR yet dropped 60% to $136.7 million, which the committee deemed as the best offer which would be received. As a result, residents will see a monthly raise of $2.35. Because the steering committee approved the proposal, the city decided to go with the committee's decision, thus approving the matter.In the City Manager's report, a positive report was given on the Commission Budget Workshop. Good discussions were held among the City Manager and various department heads, and progress is being made and continually being worked on for the 2012 budget.The commissioners were also presented with the Conflict of Disclosure Statements of Local Government Officers at this time also. If deemed necessary, the forms will need to be reviewed and filed with the City Secretary.Furthermore, it was reported that the City of Sweetwater received the GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the 2011 Budget, a distinction which typically goes to larger cities. The city has been given this honor for 26 years consecutively, in which only 120 cities in the state are given this very prestigious honor. In addition, the finance staff — headed up by Carolyn Lawrence — was awarded a Certificate of Recognition from GFOA.The City Manager report also mentioned that the city staff met with Atmos gas officials on April 21, 2011 to discuss projects, maintenance agreements and other issues. The meetings on the daily and long-range planning are held on a quarterly basis.When the commission offered the chance for public input, members of the local Woman's Forum presented their concerns over the Pioneer Museum. After January 2012, the facility will no longer have insurance and is in need of funding for various beautification projects.Some funds are available, though it is believed that what is currently available will not entirely cover the renovation costs. In an effort to find the ownership of the museum, it was discovered that the city and county own the Pioneer Museum.While the Woman's Forum understands the lack of funds within the city and county, the group wanted to bring awareness to the issue before the city and possibly gain some funding, as the museum is a top project of the ladies' organization. Along with the city appointee of the museum, the Woman's Forum was directed to also go before the county commissioners to present their urgent request.The City Commission also approved the minutes from the meeting held on April 12, 2011.