Breckenridge Texan

McCuistion retiring after eight years as Breckenridge City Manager

McCuistion retiring after eight years as Breckenridge City Manager
February 11
18:44 2020

The local community will experience/another leadership change in the near future with Breckenridge City Manager Andy McCuistion turning in his letter of resignation, effective April 30, at the City Commission meeting on Feb. 4.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working here. This is the best job, best city job I’ve ever had,” he said in addressing the commissioners. “I’ve had a great council, all the different council members and mayors that have been here to work with, and the staff – great staff! This has been a good experience for me, these last eight years, and I appreciate all of you.”

In his letter of resignation, McCuistion said that he finished college and started his career when he was in his 30s, so he expected to “die with my boots on.” However, he explained, his wife wanted him to retire now so that they can enjoy their “Golden years.”

McCuistion said he and his wife intend to move back to Canton, where they lived before moving to Breckenridge eight years ago.

Attached to his letter were lists of his accomplishments and the most serious problems he thinks the city will face in the future.

Under “Accomplishments,” he listed things such as reducing the number of City employees, thus affording to provide three raises in the past eight years; improving accounting and budgeting practices; developing a new website for the City; replacing old waterlines; upgrading wastewater treatment plant; adding improvements to the city park, such as a walking path, skateboard park, disc golf course, other playground equipment; founding Breck Trade Days; establishing a community garden; improving the Booker T. Washington School site; obtaining new police and fire department vehicles; launching a Code Red system; and more.

In assessing the city’s future, McCuistion identified the following problems as “most serious”:

• Cash and reserves inadequate – While the city has adopted a policy regarding a minimum level of reserves for each fund, having the ability to fund the reserves at the required levels has not been possible in recent years. (McCuistion went on to detail unplanned expenses that the city has had to spend money on.)
• Aging infrastructure – Water lines, wastewater collection system, including lift stations, streets, pool (that is) 28 years old
• Additional substandard houses to be demolished
• Aging heavy equipment and vehicles
• High taxes/high utility rates/high debt
• Lack of adequate housing
• City workforce – low wages
• Overall esthetics of the city – Drive around all parts of the city and “kick the curbs.” What does it look and feel like to you?

After presenting his letter of resignation, McCuistion suggested that the commission appoint a search committee to narrow down the applicants for the City Manager position. He advised that the committee include himself, former mayor Jimmy McKay, current mayor Bob Sims, former city commissioner Sherry Strickland and current commissioner Tom Cyprian.

McCuistion said that such a committee can recommend one to three applicants to the commission to interview.

Election

During the meeting, the City Commissioners approved ordinances to set the General Election and a Special Election for local Sales Tax for May 2, as well as to appoint Anita Lockhart as the Election Judge and Bonnie Robbins as the Alternate Judge.

Additionally, Breckenridge City Secretary Heather Robertson-Caraway was appointed as the clerk for Early Voting, and the following people were appointed as deputy clerks for Early Voting: Diane Latham, Denise Akins, Angie Crowder, Heather Neely, Christi Tidrow and Pam Wright.

The City has three positions up for election this year – the mayor, commissioner place 1 and commissioner place 2. As of Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 11, the incumbents in each of those positions – Bob Sims, Russell Blue and Rob Durham, respectively – are the only ones to file for a place on the ballot.

If Sims, Blue and Durham are not opposed in the election, the City will not be required to have the General Election. However, the City will still be required to have a Special Election to reauthorize a sales and use tax for street maintenance.

“We have to re-authorize the street maintenance sales tax every five years, so it’s time to do that again,” Robertson-Caraway said. The tax is set at the rate of one-fourth of one percent (.25%).

For the General Election (for mayor and commissioners) and/or the Special Election (for the sales tax re-authorization), Early Voting will take place at the City offices, 105 N. Rose Ave. Early Voting will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 20 and 21; from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 22-24; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 27-28.

Voting on Election Day, May 2, will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at a polling place to be determined later. If the school and hospital are required to have an election (depending on whether or not they have more than one candidate in any of the races), on Election Day, the ballots will be cast at the Breckenridge Senior Center. If the other two elections are canceled, the city’s election will be at the City offices.

Construction Projects

During the meeting, Sage Diller, a project engineer and associate vice president with Enprotec/Hibbs and Todd, the firm overseeing several local road construction projects, talked to the commission about several of those projects.

Project Engineer Sage Diller talks to the Breckenridge City Commission about local projects. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

The commissioners approved Diller’s recommendation that they award the bid for a sewer line relocation on U.S. Highway 183 North to Fambro Construction, based out of Stephenville.

Diller explained that there were seven proposals for the project and that each proposal was ranked, based on the companies’ experience, pricing and other criteria. Fambro had the highest ranking, in part due to their experience with other City of Breckenridge projects.

“(Fambro) was not the lowest priced contractor, but once you took into consideration all of the evaluation criteria that advertised, past project with the City, the requirements of the proposal process, and then also, price being part of that evaluation, then … Fambro Construction had the highest ranked proposal,” Diller said. “Fambro has done the last two TxDOT projects here in town, as far as relocating utilities. Obviously, they’re mobilized. They know the process with TxDOT; they know how to deal with traffic control. They know a lot of the items that go into these types of projects.”

Additionally, Diller presented the commissioners with a change order that reduced the amount owed for a paving improvement project by more than $2,000.

And, finally, Diller gave the commission an overview of the City of Breckenridge’s 2019 construction projects, including:

  • Prison Elevated Storage Tank Rehabilitation
  • North U.S. Highway 183 Water Line Restoration
  • Parks Street Project
  • Wastewater System Improvement Project
  • Waterline Replacement Project

Audit

Daniel Hungerford with George, Morgan and Sneed Certified Public Accountants presented the City of Breckenridge’s audit for the fiscal year 2018-19.

“We issued an unmodified opinion, a clean opinion since your financial statements were fairly presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles,” Hungerford said. “It’s the same we’ve been issuing for the past several years.”

Other Business

In other business, McCuistion announced the upcoming SkyWarn severe weather class for Breckenridge, scheduled for Monday, March 2, at Texas State Technical College. The program is slated for 6 to 8 p.m.

In the Consent Agenda, the commissioners approved several reports and statements, as well as resolutions to re-appoint Genoa Goad to the Planning and Zoning Commission and to appoint Will Thompson to complete the term on the West Central Texas Municipal Water District Board of Directors, a position previously filled by Paul Prater, who is retiring from the board.

Daniel Hungerford with George, Morgan and Sneed Certified Public Accountants (standing) presents the City of Breckenridge’s annual audit to the commissioners on Tuesday, Feb. 4. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Story by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Top photo: Breckenridge City Manager Andy McCuistion, right, addresses the commission, including Commissioner Russell Blue, left, during the Feb. 4 meeting. McCuistion officially submitted his letter of resignation during the meeting; his last day will be April 30. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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