The Ranger City Commissioners met in a regular meeting Monday, February 11, 2019.
Mayor Joe Pilgrim gave an update on board action from the January meeting requesting an opinion from the state attorney general in the matter of Chad Roberts holding the positions of police chief and city manager. Pilgrim said the city attorney plans to send a letter to the attorney general by Wednesday, February 13th. In December a citizen had come before the board with concerns that holding the two positions at the same time were not legal. Although Pilgrim had stated that they had checked with the city attorney and had been told that it was acceptable because of the way Ranger was incorporated, the board, at that time, voted to request an opinion by the state attorney general.
Cameron Gulley, CPA, presented a glowing audit for the City of Ranger starting off with the statement that the city’s financials “are getting better and better”. Gulley stated that in the past there would be three or four pages of findings and control issues that he felt needed to be addressed. Last year there was only one finding and this year there were none. He reported that cash has not improved a lot, but assets have increased because of grants that were used to buy ambulance equipment and police vehicles. FEMA funds were used to repair some streets. Short term notes for last year totaled $269,000. This year it is zero. He said the city has done a good job of cutting costs and the other thing they needed desperately to do, according to Gulley, was to increase revenue. Gulley said that in the past, water rate and utility rate structures were so low that the city would have never been able to “get their head above water”. Those rates were structured in the 1980s until just a few years ago. Gulley said the city was not over charging their customers, but had raised rates to where they needed to be to cover costs. Previously the city owed on police vehicles, a sewer jetter, and mini excavator. Starting this year they have paid all that off and have no short term debt. All accounts payables are up-to-date. Gulley reported that employee pensions are fully funded. Mayor Pilgrim credited that to past city leaders who set that up and said the current board has just continued it. City Manager, Chad Roberts credited the good financial report to a team effort.
Commissioners approved the city manager’s request to apply for the Criminal Justice Assistance Grant from the Office of the Governor through the West Central Texas Council of Governments. Last year the City was awarded $32,000 through this grant for a patrol vehicle. This year they are applying for a technology upgrade of almost $20,000 which would include a state-of-the-art server, two laptops for officers and three desktop computers for the station. This is a 100% grant with no matching funds required from the City.
Commissioners approved a request from Jeane Pruett for the closing of State Highway 101 (Main St) from the Ranger Swimming Pool to Commerce Street for the Centennial Day Parade on April 6, 2019, sponsored by the Ranger Historical Preservation Society.
Gerald Gunstanson’s request was approved for hotel/motel tax funds not to exceed $2,500 for the Ranger Centennial 3-Day Celebration to be held April 5-7, 2019. During a discussion Commissioner Gerdes asked if that was the maximum amount they could offer for the event. Roberts stated that the fund had over $28,000 in the account. Board members mentioned they could award more upon approval if the event planners brought a future request and a budget. The funds will not be released without receipts and accountability.
Gunstanson also requested approval of a design and to designate an offical City of Ranger flag. Ranger ISD students entered a contest to design the flag using specific details to be used on the flag. Of 101 entries, one student’s design was selected by a committee and would be incorporated into the flag. The winning student will be announced and the flag will be revealed and dedicated at a ceremony after the parade on Saturday, April 6th at 12:30 at City Hall during the Ranger Charter Signing Centennial event.
Other action approved for the Centennial: Closure of the 100 block of South Marston Street from 5 pm to midnight for a street dance on Friday, April 5th and closing the 100 block of South Austin Street for Centennial celebration activities being held on Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
To keep up with plans for Ranger’s Incorporation & Charter Signing Centennial celebration April 5-7, 2019, follow the event on Facebook.