Bullard City Council donates $12,500 for improvements at Bullard Kids Park

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The Bullard Rotary Club’s planned improvements for the Bullard Kids Park received a vote of confidence and commitment from the Bullard City Council during the council’s regular scheduled monthly meeting, held Tuesday, April 11, at Bullard City Hall.

Representing the Bullard Rotary Club at the meeting was Rotary President John Jones and member David Detten, who presented council members with information regarding the planned improvements project.

During the presentation, Detten and Jones reminded council members of the park’s beginning, as the Bullard Rotary Club approached the City Council with a proposal to construct the park four years ago. The park was built in approximately five days with over 1,300 volunteers contributing over 15,000 man hours to building the facility. During its construction phase, the Bullard Rotary Club was able to raise more than $450,000 for the project.

According to both Detten and Jones, Bullard Kids Park has been a great asset for city of Bullard, but the Bullard Rotary Club would like to do improvements to make even better. The ongoing fundraising project is aiming to raise a total of $125,000 for the improvements, which include the construction of walking trails, two new pavilions, and eight stretching/exercise stations along the new trails.

Jones stated that Bullard Rotary Club has already raised a total of $30,000 for the project, and is currently approaching local businesses and banks to provide donations for the project.

For the new stretching/exercise stations and new pavilions at Bullard Kids Park, Bullard Rotary Club is attempting to raise approximately $8,000 and $10,000, respectively.

The project will also raise funds through the selling of bricks that can be engraved with six lines of text with 20 characters per line for a cost of $125 each, which can be purchased at www.secureserver.net/etcf/brick.php. In addition, Bullard Rotary Club will be selling pickets like those already at the park for $75 each.

According to Detten, with the demolition of the old tennis courts located adjacent to Bullard Kids Park, the park has been able to increase its parking lot. However, Detten said the Bullard Rotary Club would now like to asphalt the lot, making parking at the location easier to manage. Detten told council members he had spoken with City Manager Jay Abercrombie and Smith County about the project, and that WRL General Contractors would pay for the asphalt if an interlocal agreement could be reached.

After the presentation to council members, Detten and Jones asked the council to invest financially in the park at a cost of between $10,000 and $15,000. In a unanimous vote, council members approved a donation of $12,500 to go toward the new improvements. Mayor Pam Frederick praised the Bullard Rotary Club and called the plans for new improvements at Bullard Kids Park “the next step” for the park.

The council also unanimously approved an interlocal agreement with Smith County for boom axe services. Mayor Frederick said the council has approved the agreement in the past, with the last agreement approved in 2008. According to Utilities Director David Hortman, the city of Bullard has had issues with Cherokee County in the past with overgrowth, so he proposed the interlocal agreement with Smith County.

Council members also heard an update on East Texas Medical Center Emergency Services operations. According to the representative from ETMC who spoke to the council, ETMC started EMS services in the 1960s. During the 1990s, ETMC began Paramedics Plus, allowing the business to operate outside of the state in a total of four other states. Now, ETMC wants to sell off their EMS services while maintaining their current management, crews, contracts, and service. According to the representative, the sell of the EMS services will benefit ETMC in their bond coming up this year. The expected sell will not bring any changes in services, but the contract will need to be redone.

The council also voted to adopt an ordinance denying a request by Oncor Electric for authority to change rates as requested in a petition and statement of intent filed with the Public Utility Commission for statewide rates.

According to Charles Hill, regional manager for Oncor, the company asked for a file rate date case on March 17. After being presented with the file rate date case by Oncor, the council has a total of 35 days to take action. If denied by the council, Oncor has the opportunity to appeal the denial. Hill asked council to deny the request, and said they are trying to consolidate with the Public Utility Commission and reach a settlement with Oncor, which currently has a uniformed rate, but the rate is six years old.

Council members also approved unanimously a proposed rate increase by CenterPoint Energy effective May 29. Abercrombie informed the council the measure is the same measure approved by council last year, and that if council doesn’t approve, the increase will be pushed back a couple of months but will ultimately go into effect.

The council approved unanimously on an annexation service plan document for voluntary annexation of 5.101 acres in the Vinson Moore League, Abstract 15, adjacent to and west of US Highway 69 and adjacent to and east of Robert Walker Road (CR 145).

Council members also heard from several city department heads regarding City of Bullard staff reports.

In the absence of city finance director Sonja Richey, Abercrombie shared the city’s financial report. According to Abercrombie, the city has used approximately 41.66 percent of the annual budget to date, while property taxes are still being received and revenue from waste water will come more in the months of June through August.

Abercrombie also spoke to council members regarding the City Manager’s report, in which he stated that there are several bills in the Texas Senate and House of Representatives currently being watched, including Senate Bill 2.

Hortman shared with council members the city’s utility report, saying that the city’s seventh water well’s lines have been tested and completed with the electrical lines set and on schedule. Hortman also said the phone line from the water tower to the water well has been delayed because approximately 800 foot of telephone line needs to be replaced.

The next meeting of the Bullard City Council will take place Tuesday, May 8, at Bullard City Hall.

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