BALLINGER– After more than 26 years as City Manager, Tommy New is now ready for retirement. Last Monday night, September 9, 2013, at the City Council meeting, the council discussed in executive session the plans to hire a new City Manager.

New, who became Ballinger’s City Manager in June of 1987, said that his last day will be December 31, 2013. The position has not been yet posted.

The council also discussed in executive session proposed contracts with Ameresco and USA International Explorations, and unanimously voted to sign such contracts.

The meeting, in which two out of four Council members — Eloyed Fuentes and Phillip Arp — were absent, started with the monthly activity report by Chief of Police Mark McNulty. McNulty said that in the month the Police Department responded to 498 calls.

The Police Department, McNulty added, has now hired officer Travis Baird to get fully staffed. Baird just got started last weekend.

The issue of a game room was again brought to the City Council with the request by David Nguyen to open a store front game room, but no further information regarding the location or characteristics of the place were provided, and no action was taken on the agenda item. Nguyen did not attend the meeting.

The City Council voted unanimously to approve the appointment of the Planning and Zoning Board members. The appointed members are Carol Stokes, Max Pratt, Johnny Fulton, Elaine Paske and Penny Grissom.

Building permits were approved by the council for a porch on 505 North third Street, and an awning at the back of the house located at 1010 Eighth Street. The council also passed an order to proceed with the demolition of two condemned properties: Mt. Moriah Baptist Church’s at 601 S. Broadway, and Roosevelt Kelly’s at 600 S. Sixth Street.

A 2.9 percent increase was approved to the Republic Service rate for trash disposal service.

The council held a public hearing on the proposed 2014 fiscal year budget, and set the city Property Tax rate at the proposed effective rate of .405773.

The upcoming November election was cancelled due to lack of challengers to the open positions. The only candidates filing for office were incumbents Mayor Sam Mallory, Council member Darlene Kelly and Council member Phillip Arp, all of them running for re-election.

Council members present at the meeting were Mayor Sam Mallory, Council members Jolene McBurney and Darlene Kelly, City Manger Tommy New, City Secretary Bonita Shields, and City Attorney Ebb Grindstaff.