Official Facebook pages for the Driscoll Public Library and the Animal Control department were authorized, and an attempt to negotiate with Republic Services for lower garbage rates for churches and nonprofits was approved, during the Regular Devine City Council meeting held on November 16.
Though Council approved a social media policy for both City employees and themselves in August 2020, no official City pages or accounts have been created (see “Council approves social media policy for members, employees” in the Aug. 26, 2020 edition of The Devine News).
Head Librarian Debi DuBose addressed Council to advocate for an official Facebook page for the Driscoll Public Library, describing it as an “astronomical” advantage in terms of sharing information about library events.
“it’s the best way for us to get out information of programs we have, fundraisers we’re having, even just displays that we have,” DuBose said.
DuBose said she contacted other area libraries for feedback about Facebook accounts.
“They don’t have any negative feedback because we’re not a negative place,” DuBose said. “That’s what some of the directors explained to me, because that’s a fear: what kind of comments are you going to get, what kind of negativity. And all of them said it’s not even countable. They haven’t received it because we’re not that kind of a place. Everything we’re putting out to the community is positive, informative, educational.”
DuBose also expressed support for a Facebook page for Animal Control.
“Anybody who follows the Friends of the Animal Control, it helps so much to getting animals adopted, finding owners, all of that,” DuBose said.
City resident Josh Ritchie asked if a decision could be made to include social media outside of Facebook, and DuBose said that only Facebook and possibly Instagram would make sense for the library’s purposes.
Mayor Cory Thompson asked if DuBose would have the power to make posts on a library Facebook page herself or if it would have to be approved by an administrator at City Hall first, and DuBose said it would be up to the City.
“Anything that would be a standard post, I would hope that y’all would have confidence in me,” DuBose said, giving weekly notices about Preschool Storytime as an example. “But anything that might be out of that realm, I would definitely run through somebody before I posted anything.”
Thompson voiced confidence in DuBose and clarified that his question was about the employees under DuBose, and she said that she would be the only library staff member with the authority to post.
“I would have the ultimate [authority],” DuBose said. “Nobody else would have that…I would be held accountable for any actions that I took.”
DuBose added that the library would be able to livestream programs and events on Facebook, and that the library had recently been awarded a grant that includes a camera-equipped computer.
“We’ll also be able to offer telehealth appointments,” DuBose said. “We have had a lot of requests for that. [The computer] will be in a private part of the library…there’s a lot of families here that don’t have that accessibility but they have that need, and so we will be providing that at the library.”
Interim City Administrator Dora Rodriguez confirmed that since Animal Control falls under the police department, Chief Kandy Benavides would have the authority to post on an Animal Control Facebook page.
A motion by District 1 Councilman Rufino “Flipper” Vega and District 2 Councilwoman Angela Pichardo to allow the library and Animal Control to use Facebook passed unanimously with support from District 3 Councilman David Espinosa, District 4 Councilwoman Kathy Lawler, and District 5 Councilwoman Debbie Randall.
Garbage services inside the City are provided by Republic Services. According to the City website, the residential rate for one waste wheeler that is picked up once a week is $26.07 a month, with an additional wheeler for another $11.17.
The commercial rate for one waste wheeler is $35.88 a month, and an additional $11.18 a month for a second waste wheeler.
Randall said that the City’s contract with Republic Services charges nonprofits and churches the commercial rate, and read aloud a letter from Reverend Randall Wehmeyer, pastor of Divine Savior Lutheran Church, that noted that in addition to generating less trash than a typical residence, the church also receives fewer services because it isn’t eligible for quarterly brush pickup.
“So what I’m asking Council [is] to see if Dora can get with Republic and see if we can make the ones that are using waste wheelers charged as residential rates,” Randall said. “I’m not talking about the big containers, the big dumpsters, that’s a definite commercial-sized trash rate. I’m talking about just the ones that use the [waste wheelers].”
Thompson pointed out that one area church has seven waste wheelers, and Randall suggested limiting the number of waste wheelers that would qualify for the residential rate to two.
“Anything more than that would be commercial,” Randall said. “Because that is, then, getting past the residential amount of garbage.”
A Pichardo-Randall motion to authorize Rodriguez to work with Republic on allowing up to two waste wheelers for churches and non-profits at the residential rate passed 5-0.
In a letter to Council, Chief Benavides requested that the $2,730.42 in the Police Department’s K-9 account be moved into its forfeiture account in order to support the joint effort of the PD and the Medina County Sheriff’s Department to combat drugs in Devine.
Thompson said that Rodriguez had gotten an okay from the City’s auditor.
“Everything was good, we can do this, we just had to have a vote from Council to be able to do it,” Thompson said.
A Pichardo-Vega motion to approve the transfer passed 5-0.
Council voted unanimously to increase Rodriguez’s compensation while she is Interim City Administrator as well as City Secretary; cast all of the City’s 79 votes to keep Mamie Navarro on the Medina County Appraisal District’s Board of Directors; to pay BMA’s $155.00 flat rate assessment fee and amend the budget for the same amount; and to move the date of the next Regular Council meeting to December 14.
An archived livestream of the Nov. 16 meeting is available on the City website at cityofdevine.org/live-council-meetings/.
By Marly Davis