Breckenridge Texan

City Commissioners set November election for alcohol sales

City Commissioners set November election for alcohol sales
March 08
10:38 2018

On Tuesday night, Breckenridge city commissioners approved a special election to allow the legal sale of beer and wine with a 17 percent alcohol content to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

City Manager Andy McCuistion said Tuesday night’s meeting was the first date the commission could approve the petition since it was filed, which means  the city will not be able hold a May election.

“We determined the timeline didn’t work where we could have the election in May, so it had to be moved to November,” he said.

Also during the meeting, commissioners authorized the city secretary to enter into an agreement with Stephens County to hold the special election in conjunction with the General Election on Nov. 6.

“Since the county has to have an election, anyway, in November, the city secretary was able to work an arrangement where they would handle our election, thereby saving the city funds,” McCuistion said.

Stephens County Tax Assessor/Collector Christie Latham, who is the Election Administrator for the county, said although the details haven’t been worked out yet, each voter will probably still only receive one ballot for the General Election. She said voters who live within the city limits will receive a ballot that has the local liquor option listed on the ballot. Otherwise, everything else on the ballot will be the same.

Latham said a lot of school districts and cities contract with their counties to hold joint elections.

“We’ve never done it here,” she said. “But all the technology today is equipped to do it. It can be programmed to tell the election judge which type of ballot the voter gets. It will be a little more complicated for the election judges and us, but not for the voters. They’ll be handed the ballot that they’re supposed to get, and they’ll just vote.”

Latham said combining the elections will save money for the city. She said it will require some extra ballots to be printed but they will work out that cost with the city to pay for those. She said otherwise it will save on election workers and it saves voters from having to go to different places to vote on election day.

City Manager’s Report

During his City Manager’s Report at the meeting, McCuistion told commissioners the city will offer a brush chipping service around the city during the week of March 26-30.

He also updated commissioners on the February Trade Days. He said they were disappointed with that show but are expecting a much better show in March. He said currently there are 11 booths already reserved for the show but he expects more to sign up.

McCuistion also told commissioners that because the city changed the business model for Trade Days, they will cutting back the expense budget for the event during the next budgeting cycle.

Parks Street Project

In his report, McCuistion also told commissioners the USDA Rural Development had approved the funding for the Parks Street Project. Work on the project covers water, sewer, drainage, streets and curb construction on Parks and Lindsey streets. He said the work on Parks Street will run from Walker Street to Seventh Street, and on Lindsey Street from Parks Street to Rose Street

The city is accepting bids for work on the project until March 28 and will then award the contract for the work at the April 3 city commission meeting. McCuistion said that on April 16, the USDA Rural Development will reimburse the city for the $262,000 it paid to have engineers plan and design the project. He said under USDA Rural Development rules, they don’t pay for any design costs up front. The city has to award the contract before the they will close and make any reimbursements.

The total cost of the project is $5.4 million and will be paid for with a loan from USDA Rural Development. McCuisition said $4.2 million of that costs is for the street and drainage work. and $1.2 million is for water and sewer work.

He the city was able to get $358,000 in grants to help pay for the water and sewer work so the city only has to pay back $846,000 of the $1.2 million for that work.

Construction on the project is expected to start about the time school is out for summer and take about two years to complete.

City Lot Sale

McCuistion told commissioners the city sold 20 of the 24 lots had for sale during their recent lot sale. He said the sale brought in over of $14,000. He said the proceeds from the sale will be split with other taxing entities, based on tax rates.

Other Business

In other business, commissioners approved an Easter Egg Hunt in the City Park on March 31, hosted by the Caddo Volunteer Fire Department. This will be the third time they have hosted the event.

Commissioners also reappointed Bill Hitt and Mike Griffith to the Electrical Board for the City of Breckenridge. Their two-year terms will expire in April 2020.

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: Former Stephens County Judge Cecil Mayes (right) addresses the Breckenridge City Commission during the public comment section of their meeting Tuesday night. Mayes expressed concerns about Breckenridge and discussed several issues he said he would like to see the commissioners address. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)   





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