Mayor Ray Jaso appointed council member Karen Watts mayor pro tem after the previous office appointee, Wanda Dukes, lost her council seat to Dale Skrobarcek.
During the items by citizens portion of the meeting, Nancy Bellows addressed a request by Ron Lucich, owner of Tejas BBQ, for a variance to alcoholic beverage permits. Lucich also hosts live bands and DJs on Friday and Saturday evening.
“The noise is horrific,” Bellows said.
However, Bellows said she called and the music was turned down. Her other concern was also discussed. Bellows said, “Should the barbecue business fold,” the restaurant might “stay on as a beer joint.”
Lucich gave assurances to the council that his establishment is a family-style business and will never be a beer joint.
“My restaurant gives people a chance to go and do something without leaving Refugio,” Lucich said. “When (Bellows) called, we turned down the volume. She didn’t have to call but once... the alcohol has nothing to do with the noise.”
Bellows told the council that Lucich’s assurances quelled her concerns.
Lucich explained that people are not allowed to sit at his tables and listen to the music without buying food. Lucich said those who don’t buy food are asked to leave.
The council granted Lucich the variance. Should he sell the business, the next owner would have to reapply.
Skrobarcek was the only councilman to vote against the variance.
“My concern is safety and the potential for a disaster,” he said after the meeting. “I didn’t take my decision lightly.”
In other matters, Ann Fierova, chair of the Refugio County Community Development Foundation, handed over approximately $1,109 to the city council as a refund on the homes study. Other RCCDF representatives at the meeting included Ken Dahl and Ron Nelson and Juanita Freudiger, who serves as the office manger for the foundation.
Nelson, who did not seek re-election as a councilman, asked for the workshop prior to his last official meeting in order to iron out details concerning the legality of using hotel/motel tax money for the annual fireworks show.
During the workshop, Nelson told the council he did not receive an agenda.
“I didn’t send agendas to you or Wanda (Dukes) because they are the ones who will be taking action,” said Callie Shreckengost, city secretary.
“Until they’re sworn in, I’m still on the council,” Nelson replied.
The council agreed unofficially that a billboard with motel names and events could possibly bring the July 4th and other events currently receiving hotel/motel tax money under the guidelines for the fund.
Currently the council approves 85 percent of the money requested from hotel/motel tax for events.