Tuesday’s City Council meeting – the first using the new start time of 3:00 p.m. – featured a couple of emotional citizens seeking the city’s assistance and put on public display Mayor Stanley’s depth of leadership skills.
Jennifer Yao, who along with her husband, Andy, own the Pacific Rim restaurant on Paramount, stepped to the podium and told how their business was lucky to have only received two inches of water in their foyer from the flooding created by the spillage from Lawrence Lake during the recent heavy rains. She implored the City to take measures now to protect her business and the neighboring businesses from future flood events. “You inherited the issues of past city councils,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how pretty your downtown is. No one is going to invest in flooding. No one.”
Jolie Billings addressed the council, seeking help with a neighbor who is using Africanized bees for honey. Billings explained that on May 6th, the bees attacked service workers cutting trees on her property and little more than two weeks later, attacked her dog after the owner of the bees admitted they were Africanized and agreed to get rid of them. “It took him two days to die and cost me thirty-four hundred dollars,” she said. Billings asked the City for an ordinance or any help to prevent these bees from being owned or kept in neighborhoods like hers.
Once the meeting moved into presentations and reports from city departments regarding project updates, Mayor Stanley’s construction knowledge and his business experience were clear to see and hear. After updating the progress on the new city hall project – renovating the former Amarillo Hardware building to house city offices – Director of Facilities, Jerry Danforth, fielded questions about some of the plans. Danforth mentioned money, between 4 and 5 million dollars, earmarked for FFE (Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment) for the new building. Councilman Tom Sherlen asked, “Why can’t we use the furniture we currently have?” Danforth said they will be using some of the furniture currently being used, but mused, “Some of the furniture we currently use is leftover from the airbase when it was here.”
Mayor Stanley sought answers to construction-related questions, some concerning undeveloped spaces in the new building intended to accommodate future growth and expansion. While clarifying some of mayor Stanley’s questions, Danforth noted, “Quite frankly, when we met, under your direction, what can we do to control the pricing? Obviously, we are going to do everything to stay within the budget.”
Included in the original plans within the undeveloped gray areas of the rendering were a gym, daycare, and a parking garage. All have been scrapped at this time.
The discussion was tabled but can be taken up again during a future meeting.
The total budget for the new city hall project is $35 million dollars.