Nervous put poised, Brownwood High School’s agriculture issues forum team made a presentation to the Brownwood City Council Tuesday morning, beginning a run of local appearances to prepare for upcoming competition.
    The five members of the FFA team — Seniors Mikaela Smith and Dalainy Garza and sophomores Aubrey Kirk, Ashlynn Patteson and Trinitee Skelton — took turns presenting two sides of the issue they chose: are there additional means needed to combat the feel pig population?
    The students spoke from memory, sticking to a script they wrote based on their own research.
    Agriculture science teacher Chelsea Wilson has brought ag issues teams in previous years to the council and other public forums. Wilson said her students were nervous as they took their places next to each other and prepared to begin their presentation.
    “Most outdoorsmen see these pigs as a challenging, tasty big-game species that can be hunted year ’round in most states and a form of recreation,” Kirk, the first speaker, began.
    “However, farmers, ranchers and wildlife biologists see an invasive species turning an annual negative negative economic impact of $1.5 billion in estimated damage in agricultural destruction and soil erosion. This group would like to see feral swine controlled more efficiently.”
    After the presentation, Mayor Stephen Haynes asked team members a few questions before council members moved on to the remainder of a short agenda.
    Council members:
    • Ratified the Brownwood Municipal Development District’s earlier approval of a building improvement incentive for Melda’s Elite Cuts at 500 Beaver.
    Melda Sosa is moving from her leased location in Early into the building she purchased in Brownwood. The business plans just over $40,000 in renovations and qualified for a $15,000 grant.
    • Heard Finance Director Walter Middleton give a year-end budget report. Revenue for the last fiscal year came in at 98 percent of the budget, and the city ended the year with a small surplus of $315,156, Middleton told council members.
    After the council meeting, council members and city staff toured the city’s waste water treatment plant, which recently underwent a $6.5 million renovation. The renovation consisted of replacing aging equipment — some of it from the 1940s — and the addition of new equipment needed to keep the plant current with state regulations, city officials said earlier.