The governing body of the city of Blanco met on May 13 in the Byars Building to hear concerns of citizens and reports from various organizations. In the Public Comments portion of the meeting, Wayne Gosnell expressed his willingness to work with the city in obtaining a CAPCOG grant to hire a code enforcement officer, noting that a city resolution would be required. Mayor Jim Rodrigue responded, “We are looking at a part-time deal,” and that he would be meeting with police chief Ed Sonier the following day to discuss details.
Council members approved the canvass of votes for the city council election of May 10, in which Tina Gourley, Ron Houston, and Rebecca Howerton were elected. Mayor pro tempore Ron Houston praised outgoing council member Bobby McClung for his efforts in developing the UDC and his work on the Visionaries in Preservation program. Mayor Rodrigue added, “We thank you—you have taken on things that others didn’t want to do.” McClung responded, “I have enjoyed public service and look forward to continuing to work in the community.”
New council members will be seated at the June meeting.
Bob Wilson, president of the Sunset Ridge Homeowners’ Association, expressed concerns that San Saba Road, which provides access into the Sunset Ridge subdivision, is narrow and will become more congested as more homes are built. Although surrounding properties have been annexed by the city, the road belongs to a private individual. The mayor said that he would look into the matter.
Planning and Zoning Commission chair Jud Prince reported that P&Z met April 8 for a special workshop on UDC revisions. Members voted to recommend changing the meeting date to the 3rd Tuesday of the month, so that public works director Nathan Cantrell will be able to attend. Council approved the meeting date change.
Blanco State Park superintendent Michael Young reported that everything was in readiness for the Classic Car Show, held in the park May 18. The tree-trimming project is complete, and invasive chinaberry trees and ligustrum bushes have been eliminated. The park has partnered with a non-profit group to sponsor two one-week long day camp experiences for children. The LCRA River Days event was also very successful, according to Young. New projects include installing self-closing faucets in the lavatories. Fees will be waived for a local Young Life event to be held in the park. Young asked that the city keep the park abreast of progress on the new water line being installed nearby and that care be taken around the historic CCC building and bridge. Both the mayor and Ron Houston complimented Young on the condition of the park.
Blanco Historic Commission representative Retta Martin reported that the commission has voted to work with local philanthropist David Key on a Lamplighter Project, raising funds to purchase historically appropriate lighting for the square, perhaps in partnership with the OBCCPS. The commission also voted on studying ways to bring Pittsburg into the Blanco historic district, including a historic walking trail, with the help of local historian Linda Howard.
Chamber of commerce CEO Julie Dill added, “We really want to look toward historic tourism.” She also reported that the Lavender Festival June 14 and 15 will have a “culinary emphasis” this year, and that a cookbook of recipes from local restaurants and caterers will be sold at the festival. Over 100 volunteers will be needed for the two-day event. The Blanco police department has been asked to help with pedestrian traffic between the square and the croquet tournament in the courtyard of Uptown Blanco. Other upcoming events include the Real Ale Bike Ride on May 31, in which as many as 1000 bikers may ride on one of three different routes, and Heritage Days at Yett Park, renamed Blanco Ranch Round-Up, which will have a Sesquicentennial theme this year.
Police chief Ed Sonier presented the mandated annual Racial Profiling Report to council, reporting, “We do not currently have a problem with racial profiling—84 percent of the traffic stops involved whites, 12 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asians, and Others, 1 percent.” He also reported 179 tickets issued in April and 84 call sheets. Complaining about the poor radio communication, Sonier said, “There is nothing we can do until the (whole) county goes to digital.” The mayor said, “We need to make sure we look at that in the budget.”
In other business, council approved raising the minimum cost for permits to $25, approved a service contract for the Retail Fuel Card, allowing city employees to pay reduced rates for fuel using a state-issued card, and approved appointing Retta Martin as the city representative for the Certified Local Government program. Rebecca Howerton invited council and those in attendance to support the Marissa Vargas fund-raising event to be held on May 17 at Yett Park. Finally, the deadline for submitting items to the monthly agenda has been moved back to the Wednesday preceding each meeting, allowing council members more time to study information.