Council appoints new Election Judge, tables Little League contract

In addition to discussion about street repair and the Devine Golf Course clubhouse renovation, the Devine City Council took care of a number of other issues during the October 20 meeting, including naming a new Election Judge and postponing action on a contract with Devine Little League.
Allen named Election Judge
Glenda Allen was appointed Election Judge for the November 3 municipal election after Bill Schneider stepped down from the role.
“She had said that she was interested,” Interim City Administrator Dora Rodriguez said, “and so they contacted her and she’s willing to do it.”
A motion from District 5 Councilwoman Debra Randall and District 4 Councilman Chuck Guzman to name Allen the new Election Judge passed unanimously with votes from District 1 Councilman Rufino “Flipper” Vega and District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez.
District 3 Councilman David Espinosa was absent.

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Devine Little League contract
Council unanimously agreed to postpone action on the City’s contract with Devine Little League for use of the City-owned fields.
Devine Little League representatives Aurora Hernandez and Jessica Ornelas requested that action be postponed until the November Council meeting after the new Little League Board decided to table action on the contract.
“I advised them if they don’t like the contract, then they need to come up with a new one,” Hernandez said. “Not the one that was submitted to you, because we have not even seen that one.”
Hernandez said the Board would like Devine Little League’s contract to end in August before picking back up again in December in order to have the fields in shape by April.
“If y’all decide to use it for the remaining of the year, then y’all can use it for the remaining of the year,” Hernandez said. “And then we pick back up when we need it again.”
Ornelas asked about Little League’s liability should an injury occur in the offseason when the City has leased the fields, and City Attorney Tom Cate said it would depend on the facts.
“If you guys didn’t do anything wrong, you guys are not going to be responsible,” Cate said. “If somebody gets hurt on City property, we’re the primary defendant on that. And of course we have insurance, and we’re also protected by the law.”
Mayor Cory Thompson said he was happy with the prospect of going back to the original contract between the City and the Little League and not opening the fields to the public.
Guzman said the Council would review any contract the Little League Board came up with, but that he thought maintenance of the facility should return to the Little League.
“I think the Little League should maintain the whole thing all year round,” Guzman said.
Ornelas asked how the Little League would go about asking the City for help should year-round maintenance revert to them.
“You are more than welcome to go to the Parks and Rec Board meetings and be on their agenda and have discussions, and not just what’s happening now, but what Little League wants in the future,” Thompson said. “Obviously we are at a point where y’all cannot grow at those facilities.”
A Vega-Guzman motion to table action on the Little League contract until the November Council meeting passed 4-0.
Water pipe replacement
Project Manager Bruce Moran of De La Garza Construction updated Council on the ongoing water pipe replacement project.
De La Garza contractors were scheduled to bore under the railroad track at Colonial Parkway on October 27 as work continues on Phase I of the City’s water pipe replacement project.
De La Garza planned to bore 12 feet under the railroad track, install a 20-inch steel pipe, and then run a 12-inch water pipe through that.
The contractors are currently working on Colonial Pkwy. and plan to move clockwise as they install new PVC water pipes south of that street.
Water pipes north of Colonial Pkwy. will be replaced in Phase II of the project, which has yet to go out to bid.
Coronavirus Relief Fund application
Cate explained that the Texas Department of Emergency Management is in charge of disbursing federal funds to reimburse municipalities. The City has spent $269,225 on coronavirus-related expenses and has been reimbursed for $53,845.
“Carrington Coleman is a law firm up in Dallas, and they have come up with a way where cities can submit their applications to be reimbursed for all of their police department salaries that were incurred during this time period, which runs from March 1 and through the end of the year,” Cate said.
Cate said Carrington Coleman is recommended by the Texas Municipal League, and that he had spoken to Ted Harrington, an attorney with the firm.
“If we tried to go through each category and get reimbursed, I don’t know if we’d be able to do that,” Cate said. “But if we seek reimbursement for our police department salaries, this law firm is telling me that that’s almost a sure thing.”
Money reimbursed will go into the City’s General Fund, where Council can decide how to allocate it. Carrington Coleman’s fee is $5,000.
A Randall-Vega motion to move forward with Carrington Coleman and amend the budget for $5,000 passed 4-0.

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Public health emergency declaration
Emergency Management Coordinator Rob Flores said the biggest change in restrictions to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was the opening of bars.
“Not that we have a good amount of bars here, but that has been the big issue,” Flores said. “We’re also keeping an eye on what’s going on in North Texas, El Paso. They’re spiking over there.”
Medina County had 33 active COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 26.
A Randall-Vega motion to extend the City’s public health emergency declaration passed 4-0.
TIRZ Board of Directors
Council unanimously adopted Ordinance 10-20, naming the five Council members, the mayor, and a member of the Medina County Commissioners Court to the TIRZ Board of Directors.
“Right now with the TIRZ Board, we have to be sworn in as individuals,” Thompson said. “Basically we are appointed as individuals to that Board. From here on out, it will be automatic.”
While the mayor and Council spots are elected by City residents, the county commissioner who is appointed to the Board will be selected by Commissioners Court. Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Beck joins Thompson, Vega, Lopez, Espinosa, Guzman, and Randall. Terms are good for two years.
Ordinance 10-20 can been seen in full in the Public Notice section of this week’s paper.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer