By Emily Banks Wooten
During its regular March meeting, the Onalaska City Council viewed a three-minute video filmed in 1946 by Robert W. Richardson of a Ford Model A utilized to transport people between Trinity, Livingston, Blanchard and Onalaska, which in earlier years was utilized by the Wobbly Bobbly Train. The original film is stored in the Railroad Museum in Colorado and was discovered by former Onalaska resident Rus Schmidt who sent it to Roy Newport to share with the city.
Darla Dear, with Belt Harris Pechacek LLLP of Houston, presented the FY 2020-2021 annual audit and Council approved accepting it as presented.
Either Frank C. Miller or Michael S. Miller was expected to make a presentation regarding property located at 126 Gazelle Loop and 132 Gazelle Loop in Onalaska (Impala Woods Subdivision Section 3, Block 8, Lots 26 and 27 described in a deed dated May 31, 2012 from Jack A. Miller Jr. to Frank Miller recorded in Volume 1847, page 665 of the Official Public Records of Polk County, Texas) to show cause why such building should not be declared unsafe and/or dangerous. However, neither was present. Council subsequently acted, declaring the building dangerous or unsafe.
Resolution 2022-03, an interlocal agreement between the City of Onalaska and the Greater Onalaska Heritage Society for the community garden project, was approved.
Council reviewed and approved updating police department policies by replacing sections specified as follows: 1.7 Department goals and objectives; 2.1 Rules of conduct; 2.3 Sexual or other illegal harassment; 2.4 Internal investigation process; and 2.5 Employee disciplinary process.
Ordinance 422, the continuation of exclusive franchise agreement with Piney Woods Sanitation, was approved.
Council also approved the employment of Adron Seward as a part-time telecommunications operator with the standard probationary period.
Reporting on behalf of the Onalaska Police Department, Chief Jessica Stanton reported that the department responded to 328 calls during the month of February, making five misdemeanor arrests and 14 felony arrests and issuing 123 warnings and 100 citations. The department assisted the Polk County Sheriff’s Department 11 times and the Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department 12 times. The department drove 2,879 miles, working 45 cases and 15 warrants.
Onalaska Fire Chief Jay Stutts reported that the Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department responded to 18 calls in the City of Onalaska and 17 calls in Polk County during the month of February, putting in a total of 91 man-hours. The department responded to two mutual aid calls, 24 medical calls, four structure fires, five grass fires, three motor vehicle accidents and one landing zone.
Fire Marshal/Building Inspector Lee Parrish reported that 13 permits were issued during the month of February, totaling $1,091,000 in project costs and $9,064.20 in total fees. Regarding code enforcement, he reported on a dilapidated building, a dilapidated RV and an unsafe or dangerous building in Impala Woods 1-5 and an unsanitary condition in Canyon Park Section 2. He reported that there were two investigations for illegal burns where no evidence was observed of anything other than brush and leaves being burned and both were ruled unfounded. Additionally, the fire marshal’s office assisted the police department four times and the volunteer fire department four times.
Library Representative Sherry Brecheen reported there are 1,751 current patrons of the library and a total of 15,227 holdings. The library was open 19 days during the month of February with 356 patrons, a circulation of 481, a circulation per day of 25 and 94 people using the computers. Thirty-eight volunteer hours were put in and $502.15 was the total income for the month.
City Administrator Angela Stutts reported that the 2020 TDA project construction is complete in Oakridge Subdivision. The work has a one-year warranty, so she asked if anyone sees anything that needs to be addressed to let her know as soon as possible. She said the city is waiting on materials for Holmes Road, Pine Grove and Sycamore. She reported that the potholes on Town and Plaza Streets were filled in. Volunteer assistance is being sought to clean up around the city sidewalks. She additionally asked that if anyone has a road complaint that they please let her know so that it can be documented and evaluated.
Other business included approval of the minutes, payment of vouchers and financial reports.