Seven city residents spoke up against a number of proposed fees and increases, ranging from fees for owning pets to the use of the softball field at Veterans Memorial Park.
Some of the fees being considered included charges for farmers market vendors, garage sale permits, non-neutered domestic animals and solid waste brush pickup.
One speaker said she understood the need for additional revenues for the city’s general fund, but she said charging a fee for holding a garage sale would discriminate against women because women are the ones who most often organize such sales.
“I really take issue at a charge of $30 to hold a garage sale,” Delia Barrera told the council.
Aaron Silva spoke out against animal ownership fees, recommending that if the council wants to charge fees for animals, it should charge the people who abandon pets inside the city limits.
Sandra Perez was opposed to higher rental fees for using the softball field at Veterans Park.
She said she and her husband have organized numerous softball tournaments in recent years to benefit people who need money for medical expenses. Two of those who benefited in recent years were city employees, she said.
“If the price goes up on the field, is somebody going to maintain it?” she asked.
Currently, no one does routine maintenance at the field other than mowing. She said her husband, Benito, provides the maintenance when they plan an event at the park. She said that they can get the field mowed but they always go directly to parks department employee David Chapa to make that request.
“I’d say a large percentage of the fees listed here are already being charged,” City Manager Tom Ginter told the council. He went on to recommend that they not be increased at this time.
Council members then voted to postpone action on increasing or setting any fees and unanimously approved increasing municipal court fines.
Also, the council voted to adopt the latest version of the International Building Codes and delete the council members’ comments from future agendas to avoid confusion regarding the Texas Open Meetings Law.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.