The City of Lytle voted to start having two regular meetings each month to handle the load of items needing attention by the city council and to limit the meetings to 10:00 p.m. They will start meeting on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month now as determined at the March 9, 2021 meeting, a move that should help keep the midnight meeting from happening. The 4th Monday can be cancelled if there isn’t a need for it, but judging by the number of items on each agenda this past year it looks like two meetings a month will be standard for a long time.
It was noted that brush pickup will take place next week, and will be a big help since many have leftover debris from the big freeze and damage. Trash collection is weekly on Thursday. Bulk collection is the last Monday and Tuesday of every month.
Lytle extended the Emergency Disaster Declaration to June 1, 2021 with some revisions. The city office will begin to open up to the public, two people in the lobby at a time, on April 1. Drive thru will continue to be open. Masks will be required still at all city offices and properties. Various options were discussed about the library and how to open it up safely as well. Check with them to see the various options. Curb side services will still be offered.
The City of Lytle Animal Care and Control will open up also, masks required and appointments will be made for those wanting to come inside and look to adopt or take care of other business.
Masks will be required in city building and facilities. They strongly encourage businesses to require masks, but no longer require it. Dr. Richard Neel spoke at the meeting and when asked about requiring masks or not he said, “I wear a mask and so does my staff. I have worn a mask from the beginning of the Covid pandemic, have been around a lot of patients with Covid, and haven’t gotten it. I will continue to wear a mask. The numbers are down some, but as you know we had a surge after spring break last year. I am optimistic we won’t have as big a surge in the next few weeks but time will tell.”
The Lytle Chamber of Commerce asked for permission to use the Community Center parking lot since they have outgrown their current location, the Lytle Antique parking lot across from HEB. They host their monthly market on the last Saturday of the month to local vendors of homemade items, hand crafted and homegrown items. They are proud of the quality and diversity of vendors. The council was open to the idea and discussed coming up with a policy for use of the parking lot for requests such as this. For the March market they will continue at the Lytle Antique parking lot from 8 am to 3 pm on Saturday, March 27.
The Lytle Chamber of Commerce asked for support of a membership directory/business listing. The council was open to the idea and using HOT funds. The chamber was asked to come up with a figure of what they need and what it will be for and what it will include. The thought was to include all businesses and not just chamber members plus with a good map with listings and phone numbers. Something small enough to fit in a glove compartment.
The Devine News produces a special section each year as a service for their towns, so Lytle will have their own annual Lytle Visitor/Community Guides, which is a full-color magazine style with lots of stories, history, school and city contacts and accomplishments, non-profits, athletic and civic organizations, and businesses.
The council considered a proposal from Cumorah Eldredge for creating an Emergency Operations Plan for the City of Lytle. After the current crisis and freeze it was evident that a current emergency plan was needed although those who stepped up did a great job and made things happen to keep people safe and warm as possible. Eldredge has extensive experience in this area and has lived here all her life. She is the school safety officer for Lytle ISD and knows a lot of contacts already through her profession. She did make it known that she would be doing this on her own, not through the school, at nights and on the weekends and thought she could have a basic plan done in about 6 months, approximately 260 hours and extend time if needed. Fees of others doing this range from $45 to $99 an hour. She was proposing $50 an hour plus supplies, so about $15,000 for a Basic Plan with 10 Annex’s. There are also two higher levels of plans that can be looked at in the future if the need arises.
Eldredge’s experience includes, “I have taught a wide array of emergency preparedness items from self-defense to 72-hour kits, to water storage and much more. -Interned with Atascosa County Emergency Management Office for a year, under David Prasifka. -Interned with Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) for 6 months in their Recovery Section, dealing particularly with PA and IA. -Worked with DSHS to plan and carry out a FSE pod event. -Worked as the Homeland Security Planner with AACOG, where my focus was all of our regional plans, working with multiple entities and agencies on a daily basis. All grants in the region also funneled through my office where I made sure they met all of the qualifications and provided feedback before submission to the state.”
“We need to take care of our city and network. I have reached out to several and she stands out, the right person based on her connections, communication skills and network,” said Mayor Ruben Gonzalez. “I think we should hire her and work it into next year’s budget, make a contract”, said Councilman Sam Cortez.
In other action the City voted to go with Civicready to provide a mass notification system for emergency and routine notification. It will offer more than the current one they are using and link with the website as well. Cost would be $3,800 for the first year. “We could have it up and go live on April 1. We would push out notices to the citizens to sign up as soon as it is up and running,” said Chief Richie Priest who recommended the change.
Thank you Lytle
Mayor Gonzales opened the meeting to a house full and introduced several teams of people at the beginning of the meeting and thanked them for helping the citizens through the recent crisis during the big freeze that hit all of Texas February 14, 2021. Each person was greeted and thanked personally and given a plaque. From checking up on people, to obtaining generators, to keeping propane lines open for long lines of people, to keeping restaurants open, bringing food and gas back to Lytle, to keeping the water lines running, communication going, spotting broken water lines to fix, to feeding hungry people, handing out water and food, to keeping bank lobby open so people could get money when the ATM froze up, to working day and night to help others and much more. He thanked everyone for doing their part to not only take care of Lytle citizens but the surrounding communities as well. Councilman Lupe Castro thanked Mayor Gonzalez for his actions and all his efforts day and night and for providing hope and light. He also thanked Councilman Cortez for finding a generator to keep the well going and all his actions during the crisis. The audience stood up for a standing ovation in thanks for the leadership.
The meeting started at 6:30 and ended at 11:24 p.m.
By Kathleen Calame