At the July 9 meeting of the governing body of Blanco, Police Chief Mike Ritchey presented council members with a proposed curfew for Blanco teens. It would require teens aged 16 and under to be off the streets during school hours and at night by 11 p.m. His theory is that since Boerne and Johnson City have a curfew, teens come to Blanco “because they know they will not be bothered. I don’t know what the downside is,” continued Ritchey. “We should know at all times where our kids are.” He added that the public have an opportunity to weigh in on the issue. Council member Bobby McClung asked what other cities are doing, and Chief Ritchey responded that this curfew is a very standard one,“which has been tested and proved.” McClung suggested that the wording of the ordinance should stress the potential for problems rather than actual problems the city is facing. “What are examples of juvenile crime?” he asked. Ritchey said he recently picked up a minor with a small amount of drugs, and that he has been surprised by the amount of drug activity in Blanco. In response to a question by Blanco Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Libbey Aly about times when school activities last later than a prescribed curfew, he said the ordinance would provide for exceptions in the event of late-running school and community activities. Mayor Homan said City Attorney Eddy Rogers would have to review the document before the city acts on it. In his Police Report, Chief Ritchey said the department has lost one officer and has had to use 12 hours of overtime to compensate for his resignation.
In the Public Comments portion of the meeting, resident Jack Twilley recommended that the city set $1000 aside during the budget process to fund a series of concerts in Bindseil Park. He said the money would be used to pay local musicians to perform and to buy sound equipment. “The results would bring people to Blanco and increase the city’s revenue,” he said. Council member Maria Guerrero suggested concerts that would require people to spend the night in Blanco would qualify the program for HOT money—revenues from the hotel-motel tax.
Chad Stoner, the chief financial officer for Real Ale Brewery, reported to council that the brewery’s wastewater treatment plant came online June 19 and should have the proper pH balance to start processing brewery effluent by July 15. Testing of the water will begin August 1.
Retta Martin announced that the Christmas Committee is getting ready “to rev up”for the annual Trail of Lights in Bindseil Park and lights at businesses as well. The project will be organized by the Blanco Chamber this year, said Martin. “We want a lot of enthusiasm,” she added. “We want the whole city to pitch in.”
Mayor Homan announced that the first of five Automated External Defibrillators has arrived, thanks to a $10,000 grant awarded EMS by Texas Rural Communities, Inc., and will be located at City Hall (see July 10 Blanco County News). The other four will be installed in the courthouse, Gem of the Hills, Stripes, and the Blanco police department.
Auditor Keith Neffendorf, of Neffendorf, Knopp, Doss, and Company, presented his annual report for 2011-2012, describing the city’s financial position as “excellent—one of the best for a city its size.” The city’s General Fund had Net Assets of $487,000; and the Water and Sewer Fund had assets of $5,131,000, giving the city total Net Assets of $9,418,000, an increase of $108,780 over the previous year. Neffendorf thanked City Secretary Bobbie Mowery and her staff for their cooperation in providing data for the report. He also introduced his wife and partner Tracy. Council approved the audit.
Public Works Director Nathan Cantrell reported that bids for re-paving Blanco Avenue came in much higher than expected, so a decision has been made to postpone the project until after the planned residential community at the corner of Blanco Avenue and Loop Road 163 has been completed. The hope is that the contractor will do some paving repair after the inevitable damage done by construction vehicles using Blanco Avenue to enter and exit the site. Thaddeus Millard of Happy Trails Metalwork on Blanco Avenue expressed continuing concern with the poor drainage on Blanco Avenue.
A change to the Personnel Policy was approved by council after Mayor Homan explained that the original policy left out the Fourth of July as a paid leave day. Council voted unanimously to add the Fourth of July as a holiday.
Following Executive Session, council voted to remove Blanco Police Officer Byron Key from probationary status and to hire a new officer, John Livingston.