The San Angelo City Council met Tuesday to discuss a number of items. On the agenda were items pertaining to businesses offering payday loans within the City limits, consideration of approving funding for fixes to facilities managed by the City’s Civic Events department, approval of the City’s tax rate and code enforcement issues.
The payday loan item was placed on the agenda after a request from City Council Single Member District 1 Bill Richardson, who believes such businesses conduct predatory practices on low income residents.
Richardson said he learned that several cities in the state have particular ordinances regarding these businesses who offer payday loans, short term loans and some automobile loans.
“These loans are predatory loans. The interest rates are up to 500 percent and the highest rate in Texas. And I think we owe it to our citizens to protect them.” Richardson said.
After some discussion and hearing comments from the public and City Attorney Teresa James, Council agreed to table the item after more research.
- Council approved allowing property owners with 10 acres or more of undeveloped property to mow and maintain a 15 foot swath around the property and 100 feet around existing structures for fire purposes. Owners will be allowed to manage their property in that manner.
- In other code enforcement talk, citizens who receive notices of violation in regards to trash in their yards or high weeds and vegetation will be allowed to request a hearing in San Angelo Municipal Court in regards to abatement of their properties by the City. The item was brought to Council by Mayor Dwain Morrison. Morrison said this will stop the first step in the problem by allowing there to be a source that was not involved with the abatement.
It will be up to the citizen to request a court hearing without being charged court costs. The initial request was approved by Council, however, further discussion will be held Sept. 20.
- Council approved and adopted the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 budget showing approximately $323,000 in non-allocated funds until it decides on issues with employee compensation schedules and health insurance.
- Approved the tax rate for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 at 77.6 cents per $100 valuation. The rate has remained the same for several years, but current budget will raise approximately $1.5 million more than property taxes in 2016.
- Civic Events Director Sidney Walker addressed Council with items concerning repairs and improvements to facilities including sewer line and roofing repair to the McNease Convention Center, climate control and an air handler to Foster Communications Coliseum, as well as a wheelchair lift that is ADA compliant, and new chairs for the Bill Aylor Sr. Memorial RiverStage.
Other needs brought forth by Walker included resurfacing the parking lot, door replacement and light replacement at El Paseo de Santa Angela, VIP room lighting, new ceiling tiles and door replacements at the Coliseum.
In total, costs for the improvements would be close to $500,000. Walker asked Council for $450,000. His request was approved.
Council will meet again Sept. 20 at the McNease Convention Center.