Sealy may increase police force

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With the anticipated growth of the city and traffic problems related to the expansion of Interstate 10, Sealy Police Chief Jay Reeves is seeking three additional officers for the police force.

Reeves made his request at the July 16 meeting of the Sealy City Council. Reeves presented a department report to the council in which he detailed that the current average response time is 3.5 minutes. Reeves expects response times to increase due to highway construction. He suggested adding at least one officer per shift, or three new officers.

“The city council understands the need for more officers on the street and we appreciate them asking us to add the additional officers to this year’s budget,” Reeves said.

“City council has many jobs and one of those jobs is to ensure the safety of its citizens,” said Councilman Chris Noack. “Our police department is truly one of the best police departments I’ve seen. It is functioning very well, and their response time is just 3.5 minutes. If all of the current housing projects within the city take place, there will be an increase in almost 900 new residences. To ensure we are allowing the police department to continue to do their job well and to keep response times down, it is important that we look at the number of citizens-to-police-officer-ratio. We have to do what we have to do to absolutely ensure the safety of our town and everyone in it.”

In other action by the council, a public hearing was held regarding the proposed annexation of a 45.11-acre tract of land near the intersection of Rice Field Road and Farm to Market Road 3013.

After a short discussion about legal fees related to the annexation process the council voted to approve the ordinance.

The council also discussed an ordinance regulating parking on Schmidt Road. The ordinance would ensure emergency vehicles would not be impeded by cars parked in the ditch.

Councilwoman Dee Anne Lerma explained that at some points the road are only 25 feet wide, and she is afraid vehicles parking there would impede emergency vehicles. The ordinance would ensure a smoother flow of traffic.

“If we are going to do, then it we just need to do it and there is no parking on Schmidt Road. Otherwise, we let them park there and we still have the problem,” said Lerma.

Residents expressed concerns about having enough parking for guests at their residence if the ordinance is passed. The possibility of issuing parking permits to park on the road was discussed. The council decided to postpone the vote.

Mike Darlow of Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins and Mott, LLP delivered the city’s tax collections report. Current total for the amount not collected is approximately $117,000.

“We will be sending out a letter this week to citizens that still owe,” said Darlow.

Prior to the meeting the council held a budget workshop to discuss the fiscal year 2019-2020 budget.

In other action:

· The council approved and ordinance amending section 2-102 of chapter two of the code of ordinances regarding the Main Street Program.

· The council approved the final plat for Dove Landing Section One located on the southeast corner of Farm to Market Road 3013 and Farm to Market Road 3538.

· The council approved amending the City of Sealy Fee Schedule to include additional financial policies.

· The council approved an agreement between the City of Sealy and Union Pacific Railroad.

· The council approved the renewal of the natural gas contract with West Texas Gas.

· The council approved a resolution to implement the City of Sealy municipal gas public awareness program.

· The council received a report from Warren Escovy, director of planning and assistant city manager. Escovy discussed progress on some current and upcoming projects in the city.

· Councilwoman Sandra Varblec was absent and all other council members were present.

The next city council meeting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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