Clarifier project put on hold; HOME grants in progress

The Natalia City Council tabled a decision on whether to join countywide economic development group Go Medina County for another year and approved three appointments to the Natalia Municipal Development District Board of Directors at the Regular meeting held last Monday, January 24.
Council also voted to cancel February’s Regular meeting, as it fell on President’s Day on Feb. 21, when City Hall will be closed. A Special meeting will be called if necessary.
Go Medina membership
Mayor Sam “Chip” Bluemel requested that Council approve a full membership in Go Medina, which costs one dollar per resident for municipalities.
Municipalities that have a full membership in Go Medina have pages on the group’s website that feature photographs and information about the towns.
“If we’re going to get people to come here and get businesses to come here, we need to sell our community,” Bluemel said.
Councilman Mike Fernandez noted that Council had discussed a website with the NMDD, which would be cheaper. NMDD Board member Brenda Fernandez said that the NMDD pays $100 a year for membership in Go Medina.
“Why is y’all’s rate cheaper when y’all are under the City?” Councilman Darin Frazier asked.
Councilwoman Selica Vera suggested asking someone with Go Medina about the discrepancy in rates before making a decision, and a motion by Fernandez and Councilman Sam Smith to table action passed unanimously with the support of Vera, Frazier, and Councilman Tommy Ortiz.
NMDD Board
Council unanimously approved appointing Beatrice Morales, Pat Bourcier, and Dorothy Woodson to two-year terms on the NMDD Board of Directors. The terms will expire in Feb. 2022.

Check out these deals and click or tap for more from Chaparral Ford!

HOME Program
“Every three years we have to renew the City’s eligibility to be able to continue to participate in the HOME program grant, and it’s our year for renewal,” Interim City Secretary Nichole Bermea explained.
The HOME Program is a federal block grant used to create affordable housing for low-income households.
A Fernandez-Smith motion to authorize submitting a new application passed 5-0.
Other action
A Fernandez-Vera motion to adopt a proclamation proclaiming January as School Board Recognition Month passed 5-0.
Council also unanimously approved the consent agenda, which consisted of minutes from the November 2021 Regular meeting, the financial activity report from November and December 2021, the Utility Department activity report from Dec. 2021, the Municipal Court activity report from Nov. and Dec. 2021, and the police department/code enforcement activity report from Nov. and Dec. 2021.
Informational items
Bermea informed Council that a HOME Program house was set to be turned over to a resident on 3rd Street, and that she would have a date for the other HOME houses in progress within the next few weeks.
A new Internet-based phone system for City Hall and the police department was set to be delivered and installed this week.
“It’s no longer a regular phone system,” Bluemel said. “It’s just like what they have at Medina County.”
Bermea reminded Council that the clarifier project at the sewer plant was put on hold due to supply chain and supply and demand issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The contract period for the project has been extending to September 2022.
Marshall Hoak, a representative from Congressman Tony Gonzales’s office, is scheduled to be at City Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 23 from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer