BALLINGER– The Ballinger City Council discussed the subject for an hour in executive session last Monday, February 3, 2014, and after reconvening to open session unanimously voted to keep on negotiating with the lone finalist picked for the position of City Administrator.

Monday night, the City Council did not reach an agreement with the applicant. After a lengthy agenda, council members and Mayor Sam Mallory discussed employee benefits and considered a counter-offer and contract with the applicant, but they were unable to find common grounds to finalize the contract.

The City Council voted in January to select the lone finalist to replace long-time City Administrator Tommy New, who retired in December after 26 years of service with the City of Ballinger.

Negotiations will continue and the subject will be brought back to the City Council at a later date.

At Monday night’s regular council meeting the Ballinger Chamber of Commerce presented plans to hold the annual Ethnic Festival on Friday, April 25 and Saturday April 26. Among other remarks of the program the fest will include a street dance on Strong Avenue, a beer and wine taste at the parking lot of Ballinger Feed and Seed, and the traditional parade with the lineup on Sixth Street, going through Hutchings Avenue and turning north on Eighth Street.

The chamber also brought a proposal to the attention of the City Council, to turn the old Carver School, south of town, into a complex to host dances, festivals and other community events.

Following a request by the Water Department a motion was made by Council Member Phillip Arp to increase the water and garbage deposits for new customers. The new rates from now on will be $110 for water and $40 for garbage. The motion also adjusts the leak policy to charge water customers for the total when a leak is found on their side of the meter, and eliminates bill extensions. The motion was seconded by Eloyed Fuentes and was approved unanimously. The City is looking with this policy to balance a total of $58,000 in the past due owed by 516 water customers.

The City Council discussed and passed a motion to approve a specific use permit for Ramon Mota at 904 North Broadway – Thos. Largent Survey – for a retail store. The city sent 13 letters out, received two undelivered and found one neighbor opposing the request. The motion was made by Phillip Arp and seconded by Darlene Kelly passing unanimously.

The City Council also passed a proposal, made by Phillip Arp and seconded by Darlene Kelly, to allow Jacob and Martin to initiate negotiations with the City of Coleman for the purchase of water from Coleman Lake. Ken Martin, of Jacob and Martin, made a presentation and said that the water at Coleman Lake is of a higher quality than the water at Lake Ivie.

The motion, with no commitment attached, authorizes Jacob and Martin to start researching with the Coleman City Council.

Council members Eloyed Fuentes, Darlene Kelly and Phillip Arp, City Mayor Sam Mallory, City Secretary Bonita Shields, City Attorney Ebb Grindstaff and interim City Administrator Steve Nixon were present at the City Council meeting. Council member Jolene McBurney was absent.