For the second month in a row, Loree and Kenneth Vandewater appeared before the governing body of Blanco concerning loose livestock on their property. At the April 10 meeting, council discussed whether there is an ordinance banning loose large animals within the city limits. City attorney Eddy Rogers explained that City Ordinance #307, Section 8, makes it illegal to have dogs running at large. All dogs in the city limits must be leashed and have proof of vaccination; however, there is no ordinance concerning large animals such as horses and cows, which show up from time to time on the Vandewaters’ property and even on their porch. Rogers promised to have an ordinance drafted by the May meeting. Meanwhile, the property owner whose animals stray onto Vandewaters’ property will continue to be fined for each infraction. Mayor Chuck Homan said there can be an escalating fine up to $2,000.
In a related matter, Blanco Avenue has been opened up between FM 165 and Chandler Avenue. According to Director of Public Works Nathan Cantrell, gates and fences erected by property owners have been removed, allowing traffic on the unimproved stretch of road. Council member Danny Ray said, “There are people who don’t want that road open,” but council member Al Turner responded, “It’s open—it’s a city street.” Mayor Homan asked Cantrell if it would be a big expense to maintain the road in its present condition, and he responded, “Not too much. We could put some road base down.” Kenneth Vandewater expressed concern that the road will deteriorate if an existing hole is not repaired. The mayor suggested that the city “leave it as it is, and if it gets really bad, we can go in and fix it. I think only people who live there will use it.” He added that re-engineering the street is not in the city budget.
Entrepreneurs Tony and Joann Nandin asked council to allow the Tony’s Barbecue trailer to be open on weekends on the square. “We want to help the community by providing barbecue,” said Nandin, who added that he has been in operation for 15 years and has a current food inspection license. Eddy Rogers responded that the issue of food trailers is bigger than just one vendor, that other food trailers could avoid paying the fees associated with the Blanco Lavender Festival in June and set up adjacent to it on the square. The current ordinance allows only the sale of produce on the square. Danny Ray suggested, “It is not really fair to restaurant owners who are paying taxes on the property they own.” Mayor Homan asked, “Have you checked into the old (Riley’s) barbecue place? We had a really good barbecue place right here.” Nandin said he has received offers from several people to let him set up on their property. Rogers said, “We could pass a resolution, but we need an ordinance that prohibits selling on public property.” Council voted to extend the permit for Tony’s Barbecue for 30 days until an ordinance is passed.
President of the Blanco Rodeo Association Darrell West presented a request for Hotel-Motel (HOT) funds to help advertise the upcoming Annual Tiny West Bullriding on May 12. These funds are used to further tourism in Blanco for events which “put heads in beds” and generate income for restaurants and other retail businesses. West said the October rodeo drew over 1000 people to Blanco. Council voted to approve the request for $2,069.
Planning and Zoning Commission chair Tony Vela reported that a request for a variance to the setback requirement for a property on Jones Avenue was tabled at their April meeting. Neighbors had not been notified of the property owner’s intent to reduce the easement from the 15-foot requirement in mixed-use areas.
Police chief Milton Willmann reported that the call volume was up in March, although suspicious persons/vehicles calls were down. There were “a lot” of reckless driver calls, but citations were down. He described a recent case in which a former Blanco resident was apprehended in Comal County after a stabbing incident. After a call from Comal authorities, Blanco officers were able to consult their records management system and pass on useful information. Willmann credited a drop in car burglaries and property crime to stepped-up patrols by Blanco officers. He also introduced new officer Keith Williamson, formerly of Spring Branch, to council.
Chief Willmann presented his request to council for two new police vehicles. Two of the current cars, one a 1998 model and the other a 2003, both have over 120,000 miles on them. In previous meetings Willmann has discussed the fact that the cost of repairing vehicles has become higher than the value of the vehicles themselves. The department has found two Ford sedans, through the Houston-Austin co-op, which would cost $59,595.28 completely outfitted except for video cameras. Eddy Rogers suggested checking with local banks for financing options, which might offer a lower rate to tax-deductible entities. City secretary Bobbie Mowery said there is currently $19,000 in the budget that could be used to pre-pay monthly payments and which must be spent by the end of the fiscal year. In response to questions, council member Maria Guerrero, who is employed by the Boerne Police Department, said “This is a good quote—I have no concerns.” She made a motion, which was seconded, and passed unanimously, to purchase the vehicles. Willmann assured council members that all equipment will be professionally installed.
Finally, council discussed the fact that the city’s contract with IESI for trash collection has expired. There are several other companies who are interested in bidding on the city contract, so council voted to let the contract for trash service out for bid. As there was no action on Executive Session items, the meeting was adjourned.