Council recognizes Officer Pleasant, approves pay raise for most employees

During its regular Feb. 23, 2021 meeting, the Forney City Council met to recognize Officer Pleasant, consider Holiday Lights RFP, grant for PD equipment, salary increases, expanded food truck rules.
(watch official video)

** PRELIMINARY report **

  • Mayor Penn read a Proclamation recognizing Police Officer Markeith Pleasant for helping a driver blocking a road to obtain fuel, and all Forney Police Professionals appreciate public support.
  • Approved as one consent item:
    • a final plat for Dossett Addition, located northwest of the intersection of F.M. 740 and County Road 209 in the City of Forney extra-territorial jurisdiction.
    • a preliminary plat for Park Trails, Phase 4.
    • a final plat for Park Trails, Phase 4.
    • a preliminary plat for Brookville Estates, Phase 2.
    • a preliminary plat for Johnson Elementary School, located southwest of Vineyard Way and South F.M. 548.
    • a preliminary plat for the new Forney ISD Middle and Intermediate School, located north of F.M. 740 and west of Ranch Road.
    • a preliminary plat for Willett Elementary School, located southwest of Honey Creek Road and South Gateway Boulevard.
    • the authorization to allow staff to seek bids for street work for CR 212 and all related issues.
    • an RFQ for SCADA system consulting and support.
    • authorize staff to seek proposals on an RFP for a Holiday Light Display.
    • authorize staff to seek proposals on an RFPs for Fire, Electrical, HVAC and plumbing trades.
    • a Resolution authorizing the application for grant funding for a TASER & Radio Acquisition Project.

  • Held Public Hearing -
    • Tabled an Ordinance amending the City of Forney Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance by providing a definition and regulations for Food Trucks and Trailers.
      Mr. Morgan explained said current regulation only allows two options for food trucks: mobile (at job sites), and part of special event. A local business wanted to partner with a food truck, staff reviewed other city's ordinances, and came up with this third option: conditional use permit to operate on property of another business, but only for 60 days, and 60 day wait before can request another permit
      There was no public input.
      There was considerable debate about the time periods, the fees of $400, which lead to the tabling of the item for further staff research.

  • a mid-year increase for all employees - Mr. Myers requested discussing in executive session.
  • Approved a revised site plan for Little Flock Baptist Church, located northeast of the intersection of E. Aimee Street and Chestnut Street.
    Mr. Morgan said 7,600 sq ft building, suggesting a 4k addition. This would normally be a consent item, but they want different screening - wood fence instead of masonry. Ms. Powers said she grew up in that church, is excited for them. Other members agreed.
  • Denied a Resolution approving an expenditure under Section 501.073 Texas Local Government Code and a Performance Agreement between the Forney Economic Development Corporation and Best Massage Ever, LLC.
    Mr. Thatcher said this was approved by FEDC, applicant will operate in 1800 sq ft with 7 FTE positions for one year, incentive up to 10k. Mr. Myers asked if applicant requested any other help - Mr. Carson said the original request was for 5k.
    At that time, a lengthy discussion occurred as to why the FEDC would grant them more than was requested. The denial was to allow FEDC to review the request.
  • Approved a Resolution approving a Chapter 380 Grant Agreement with Bloomfield Homes, L.P.; finding that such agreement and grant constitutes a program to make grants and loans pf public money pursuant to Section 380.001 of the Texas Local Government Code to promote economic development and to stimulate business and commercial activity within the City; authorizing the City Manager to execute the agreement and providing an effective date.
    Mr. Thatcher said builders may apply for a permit that allow tax on purchases are allowed to go to city where materials are used, Forney would otherwise not receive any tax. In return, builder wants a portion of the taxes - in this case, builder would get 60% of the city's 1% of sales tax. Other agreements have been 80/20, so city will receive more from this agreement. Mr. Traylor asked how this compares to other cities - Mr. Thatcher said in Fate, this same builder did 80/20, Mr. Carson was able to negotiate higher part. Most plans in this area are 80/20.
  • Discuss Parks and Recreation current and future plans.
    Mayor Penn said as not having workshop this year, asked for updates from department heads. Mr. Rouvaldt was first, a video was shown about events at Community and other parks, volleyball, hockey. 2020 was a challenging year for youth associations. With cancelled events, city was able to host 9 tournaments, partly due to having portable mounds for games. Taking signups for 2021 volleyball spring season. With Wize Academy, providing STEM classes online, not all kids interested in sports. Dek hockey has 11 teams, great reviews, strictly recreational. Doing flag football program. Added adult softball, handed over from another org. Considering tennis. Partnered with local dance studios. Bell Park got new fountain and gazebo. Eastside got new goals. For 2021, plan to have more tournaments, which bring in 3200 people over a weekend, try to offer more youth sports. Mayor Penn asked about the 18k city got from tournaments - Mr. Rouvaldt thinks it goes to park budget. She asked if providing pamphlets for visitors - yes, and on websites. Mr. Myers thanked Mr. Rouvaldt for all the things he's added, and that tournament fees were a contentious item when added, now providing funds. DC thanked Mr. Rouvaldt and staff.
  • Discuss Administration present and future plans.
    Mr. Carson spoke about planned events, if COVID restrictions will allow. Detail to follow.
  • Public Comment (heavily summarized)
    • Mr. Josh Martin, former city employee as FPD, went to Heath. He wanted to talk about Chief Lunt - never worked with anyone who cares about city as much as him ... Chief Lunt is very involved and engaged, wants to serve the city. Everything Chief Lunt does is data driven, no bias or opinion. Mr. Carson is the opposite, seems uninterested in what people say, see it when he overrides other people who don't agree with him. He and other employees have left largely because of how city being run under Mr. Carson.
    • Mr. Jason Johnson, currently constable - in an outside agency must build rapport, Forney went above and beyond selecting Chief Lunt. (details to follow) Chief Lunt was doing what the city hired him to do, the community backs him because he does what's right.
    • Mr. Clint McNear spoke (details to follow) about issues with Mr. Carson's leadership.
    • Ms. Karen Strand requested city contact Oncor about prioritization, for areas such as apartments. Does Oncor or the city view them differently that SF homes. She's an asst city attorney in another city, she chose to live in an apartment, wants to give voice to others in apartments. They were out of power for 48 hours, no way to provide heat. Seems peculiar would lose power that long.
    • Ms. Lori Pierce commended Chief Lunt for speaking up, this is not an isolated event, council has turned a blind eye to this. (details to follow)
    • Mayor Penn said will have a special meeting about grievance on Friday. She was also without power, 18 homes around Heritage Hill were without power for a week, possibly due to tree limbs.

  • Held an executive session
  • A motion to approve all raises as proposed failed, with only Mr. Myers, Mr. Cooper and Ms. Powers in favor.
  • A motion to approve raises for all except the 3 appointed by council passed, with only Mr. Myers and Mr. Cooper against.
  • Adjourned at 2107

corrected voting for raise

Tuesday, 2021, February 23