At its September 9 meeting, the governing body of Blanco approved the 2008-09 budget, which would raise more total property taxes than last year’s budget by $19,794, or 7.53 percent. Of that amount, $2,973.79 is tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year. Council members unanimously approved an ordinance setting the ad valorem tax rate at $.2583 per $100 valuation.
Chamber of Commerce director Julie Dill reported that the chamber is taking nominations for new board members, to be elected in October. She invited council members to make recommendations. Dill also reminded the council of Yett Park’s annual fund-raiser, Ranch Roundup, to be held September 26th and 27th, with the goal of 1000 people in attendance. A barbecue will be held on the 26th before Blanco High School’s Homecoming; and a giant birthday cake, designed and baked by Dorothy Troppy to feed 400 people, will be served on the 27th as part of the final Blanco sesquicentennial event. The next chamber mixer will be held October 9 at Flat Creek Forest Cottage. A request by Dill for $7500 toward staffing and economic development was approved with the contingency that a contract be formulated between the city and a representative of the chamber to show what the city gets for the $7500 investment. City attorney Ricky Simmons stressed that economic development corporations typically work under the authority of cities, and that the chamber as an entity, not Dill as an individual, needs to request funding. A subsequent request by Dill for hotel-motel tax revenues from 2007 was tabled pending further study. “I’m not in favor of sending all our money to the chamber of commerce,” said Mayor Jim Rodrigue, referring to Dill’s attempt to get money from the city’s reserve fund. “It sounds like you want the money just because it’s there. We have other things we could spend the money on.”
Assistant police chief Carl Bragg introduced a new Blanco police officer, Hayden Holman, whose hiring was approved officially after discussion in executive session. Holman will begin work at a salary of $25K at a Patrolman I rank. Council also voted Bragg a raise in salary to $33K. Bragg reported 183 citations for the month of August and 85 calls.
Council members also accepted the resignations of three Blanco Historical Commission members: Mary Jane Holden, Candy Cargill, and Nell Krueger. New member Linda Howard reported that Rebecca Doll and Rebecca Greathouse have been nominated to serve on the commission. Council approved their appointment. Uptown Blanco architect Bill Epps and general contractor John Hancock requested and were granted permission to tear down an interior wall of the Wagner and Chabot Building as part of the restoration of historic buildings on the west side of the square. The wall was not part of the original structure.
As the new president of Keep Blanco Beautiful, Linda Howard also reported that KBB has several projects underway. A new live oak tree is to be planted where the old tree fell near City Hall. She also requested two 110 electrical plugs to prepare for the Christmas Trail of Lights in Bindseil Park. The city will receive 50 trees, 40 of which would be crepe myrtles, through an LCRA program. Howard said that a landscape architect has been consulted about proper placement of the crepe myrtles along the four “gateway” roads into the city. KBB is also applying for an HEB Green Bag Grant for communities who want to increase their recycling efforts. The grant would make the city eligible for recycling containers to be used at public functions such as the lavender festival and Yett Park events. Council member Ron Houston commended KBB for its landscaping and maintenance of the areas around City Hall and into Bindseil Park. Cigarette butt receptacles placed around the square by KBB are being emptied regularly, cutting down on cigarette litter.
Council also approved the purchase of a new skid steer with a one-year warranty for $36,962.58. The vehicle has a one-year warranty and comes equipped with a tooth bucket, smooth bucket, and grabber for picking up large items. Surplus vehicles from the city yard and the police department will be offered for sale. An old Moped and a water truck will be put up for sealed bid, and a 2000 police car will be auctioned on e-bay.