Kempner City Council addressed municipal education courses, changes and additions to the city park, and future roadway projects at an open workshop last week.
On June 11, prior to the regular meeting of the council, Mayor Keith Harvey readdressed Texas Municipal League education for City Council members that had been discussed in the May 28 meeting.
“I need everyone to understand … that when I raised my hand and took this seat, I had not spoken with an auditor or attorney or anyone, and it would have been foolish to make a decision without knowing anything,” Harvey said regarding a discussion on training that occurred in his first meeting as mayor.
Since that time, Harvey said he spoke with the city auditor and attorney about standard operating procedure -- including two, one-hour courses that council members are required to complete within the first 90 days of office.
“The city has been following it very well,” he said.
Council members discussed the possibility of taking webinar courses, as opposed to in-class courses, which may be more cost-effective.
“Everyone has different schedules; we don’t know when they are all going to be available,” Harvey said. “But some people need a classroom.”
He added that budgeting for these courses could be done during the creation of a new budget for the fiscal year, which begins in August.
The council also discussed the possibility of changes to Sylvia Tucker Memorial Park.
“I’ve only been in the office two weeks, and already I’ve heard so many things as to, ‘How come we don’t have this,’ ” Harvey said. “I’m laying it all out to see what y’all want, and let’s talk to the people to see what the people want in this city.”
Harvey said one major request from residents was to keep the park open for visitors.
“I went out to other parks, and they’re not locked,” the mayor said.
While the city doesn’t have the manpower to enforce park hours, council members discussed leaving the park unlocked and adding a sign with the open times, which are dawn to dusk.
A second request from citizens was for a dog park within Sylvia Tucker Memorial Park, Harvey said.
“I went around and saw dog parks in several other cities,” he said.
A dog park for Kempner would be feasible for small dog breeds, Harvey added.
In the future, the council may consider an ordinance that would include keeping the park open, allowing for development of a dog park and installation of a sign stating park hours, Harvey said.
The mayor also said he is working on two grants that, if awarded to Kempner, would provide up to $150,000 total for city projects, including improvements to the park.
“My big dream and desire is an activity center” that could be located behind City Hall on property the city already owns, Harvey said.
In other discussion at the meeting, the council noted several construction projects that are slated to begin within the next 12 months.
Texas Department of Transportation will adjust the turn lane on U.S. Highway 190 to allow for a left-turn lane for both the City Hall entrance and an entrance into the Dollar Tree parking lot.
“They’re going to fix that in less than six months,” Harvey said. “It was an oversight that the Dollar Tree driveway wasn’t lined up with the City Hall driveway.”
The second project will be installation of a traffic light on U.S. 190 at the FM 2808 intersection, as well as a deceleration lane for motorists preparing to turn onto FM 2808 and an acceleration lane for those turning from FM 2808 onto the highway.
A third project will be the addition of a right-turn lane at the intersection of FM 2313 and U.S. 190.