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TBB bar vendor attracts bidders

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The Navasota City Council held a Regular Meeting Monday, Jan. 11, and awarded the Texas Birthday Bash (TBB) alcohol sales vendor agreement to Laura’s Bartending. The vote passed 4-1, with councilman Bernie Gessner voting nay.

According to City of Navasota Marketing and Communications Coordinator Madison Brooks, there was increased interest this year and proposals were also received from 7D Ranch and Rail and Rye Restaurant. The amount of revenue projected by each vendor was based on 2020 sales and varied from 40% of net profit, guaranteed payment of $5,000 to 40% of gross sales. Two vendors were on hand to comment and respond to council questions.

A concern expressed by council member Pattie Pederson related to previous experience in serving a crowd of 10,000-plus. Councilman Josh Fultz noted that Laura’s Bartending has provided satisfactory bar services for TBB for a number of years.

Variance triggers ordinance amendment

A variance request submitted by Blanch Steward for property at 101 Abraham Street will result in the creation of an ordinance as an exception to an existing ordinance. Due to the “emergency” nature of Steward’s variance request, a Special Meeting will be called in accordance with the required 72-hour notification once the new ordinance is written. Resident Jonathan Jennings representing Steward, asked that the minimum required 750-square feet for residential dwellings be waived and that council allow construction of a 288-square foot dwelling.

According to Jennings, Steward is a retired city employee living on a city pension and Social Security, is legally blind from cataracts, has no water, electricity, telephone, or transportation. Steward also owes $17,817.23 in back property taxes.

Jennings said that he and several concerned citizens would like to construct a new home that meets code, install electricity and running water, and that 288-square feet is “feasible and economical” for Steward’s needs. In addition, they will assist Steward in arranging a tax repayment plan with the Grimes Central Appraisal District as well as a direct withdrawal for utility payments.

According to city legal counsel Cary Bovey, under the Equal Dignity Rule, an ordinance is required to amend an ordinance and the City charter may allow for one reading as an “emergency measure.” Since this is not a zoning issue, conditions can be placed on the variance making it specific to this situation.

According to City Manager Brad Stafford, past efforts by the City to secure Steward a place in Navasota’s affordable housing units were unsuccessful because of lengthy waiting lists. In the meantime, efforts will be made to connect Steward with free services such as transportation through the Grimes Health Resource Center.

City election time again!

City Secretary Susie Homeyer announced that filing for a seat on the Navasota City Council ballot begins Wednesday, Jan. 13, and ends Feb. 12. Positions 4 and 5 currently held by Bert Miller and Grant Holt are up for reelection.

Applications are being accepted in person from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at City Hall, 200 E. McAlpine Street. Applicants may also submit by mail to City of Navasota, P.O. Box 910, Navasota, Texas, 77868; by email to shomeyer@navasotatx.gov; or by fax to (936) 825-2403.

Other council action:

•Approved awarding the bid for engineering services for the 2020 Capital Improvement Project to Bleyl Engineering in the amount of $867,000.

• Approved an addendum to the lease agreement with Anderson-Grimes, LLC, to reimburse the cost of an additional ramp at the Navasota Municipal Airport, not to exceed $115,000.

• Approved adoption of a revised policy for individuals, families or businesses wishing to name or rename a city facility, street, meeting, public park, or other improvement.

• Approved the adoption of a Navasota Municipal Library display case policy.

• Received the Navasota Quarterly Investment Report for the quarter ending 12-31-20.

• Approved the Consent Agenda which included the minutes and expenditures for the month of December 2020.

• Council met in closed session per Texas Government Code 551.074, concerning the annual evaluation of the City Manager.

• Council met in closed session per Texas Government Code 551.074 concerning the annual evaluation of the City Manager, and in lieu of a salary increase, approved a supplement to Stafford’s retirement.

Staff report:

• Introduction of new employees included new NPD officer Crystal Martin, Firefighters Jessica Bomar, Jordan Odle and Bobby Harris.

• Railroad Commission Audit resulted in no violations. Staff to be presented at next meeting.

• Stafford praised City staff for their response Friday after a truck accident on Washington Avenue that knocked out electricity for five hours and internet for 24 hours.

• Economic Development Specialist Rayna Willenbrink reported on the most recent Navasota Economic Development Corporation meeting and the renewal of an agreement with the Retail Coach, a possible NEDC retreat, and the City’s receipt of $436,534 from TDEM (Texas Department of Emergency Management) under the Coronavirus Relief Act. The funds were reimbursement for the cost of personal protective equipment, payroll for public safety employees including police and fire, and the NEDC Small Business Relief Grant.

Mayor’s calendar:

• Wednesday, Jan. 13 – New member Coffee with the Chamber, 9 a.m., Classic Rock Coffee Café

• Saturday, Jan. 16 – Grimes County Crime Stoppers Awards Dinner, 6 p.m., Knights of Columbus Hall, Anderson, Texas.

Public comments: Roosevelt Ellis, Sr. asked City Council to keep him and his legal team updated on the investigation resulting from an incident in which he was arrested.

City council meetings may be viewed in their entirety at www.navasotatx.gov/ city-council/pages/2021-city-council-meeting-videos.