La Feria News

City commission approves rezonings, vehicle purchases

The La Feria city commission held their first meeting of the new month on Tuesday, November 10. All meetings will continue to be held online via Zoom. Photos: Cayetano Garza Jr. / LFN

By CAYETANO GARZA JR.
LFN

The La Feria city commission held its first regularly scheduled meeting for the month of November last Tuesday, November 10, at 6:30 pm.

In accordance with an order by the office of the Texas governor issued March 16, the commission has been holding its meetings online via Zoom live stream in lue of face-to-face meetings to slow the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining strict social distancing while still allowing the commission to perform the duties and functions of civic government.

After observing the usual protocols of a regular meeting (invocation, pledge, determining quorum present, and call to order), the commission approved minutes for the meeting held October 13, 2020.

There were no community members signed up to present public comments so the commission proceeded with the other items on the agenda.

The commission again voted unanimously to further extend the local disaster declaration pertaining to the public health emergency presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic. This vote means a continuation of online meetings for the foreseeable future.

The next several agenda items for consideration for the night’s meeting involved public hearings and consideration for the rezoning of two separate subdivisions to multifamily districts. One of the subdivisions, located on Bixby Road, was originally zoned as single family residential. The other subdivision, located at 701 Expressway frontage, was originally zoned as commercial.

City zoning is how a community is divided into different use districts or zones. Zoning districts common to most ordinances include residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural.

Multi Family homes are dwellings that house more than one family or household like duplexes, townhomes or apartments.

Both areas in question had been approved for rezoning by the La Feria Planning and Zoning commission on October 28th.

The commission opened the floor for public hearing for each district and, having no public comments, closed the floor and approved the changes.
The next agenda item was for the approval of a final plat for KC Estates III Subdivision, located on South Kansas City Road. City manager Jaime Sandoval described the new subdivision as another development to provide quality housing to the community. A total of 18 lots will be developed with adequate street lighting. The item was approved.

The next item on the agenda was a possible action for the city to join the Tarrant County Cooperative purchasing program. Fort Worth, Texas is the seat of Tarrant County. According to their website Tarrant County Purchasing Cooperative is a leader in providing interlocal agreements that allow other government jurisdictions and districts to obtain goods at competitive prices. The Department’s furnishing of supplies, equipment and services at the best possible price makes its contracts attractive to other entities. Through piggybacking on its contracts, interlocal members may take advantage of cost savings. City manager Jaime Sandoval explained to the commission that in joining the Cooperative it would give the city another option for the purchase of supplies, equipment and services aside from other sources the city already uses like Texas BuyBoard Purchasing Cooperative. A motion to approve was made, seconded and unanimously voted in.

The commission then considered a letter of support for the Community Housing and Economic Development Corporation, USDA RD Community Facility Development: La Feria, TX – Rural Health Clinic. The US Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Facilities Programs offer direct loans, loan guarantees and grants to develop or improve essential public services and facilities in communities across rural America. These amenities help increase the competitiveness of rural communities in attracting and retaining businesses that provide employment and services for their residents.

Non-profit organizations, like the La Feria Community Housing and Economic Development Corporation, can use the funds to construct, expand or improve facilities that provide health care, education, public safety, and public services. Projects include fire and rescue stations, village and town halls, health care clinics, hospitals, adult and child care centers, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, public buildings, schools, libraries, and many other community-based initiatives. Financing may also cover the costs for land acquisition, professional fees, and purchase of equipment.

These facilities not only improve the basic quality of life but assist in the development and sustainability of rural America.

Commissioner Lozano pointed out that this development of a Rural Health clinic was especially important because in the Rio Grande Valley for every 100,000 patients there are only 100 qualified healthcare workers available to fulfill their needs. The letter of support was unanimously approved.

The city commission approed the purchase of two COVID-19 special operations vehicles and related equipment through Buyboard using funding from the CARES act. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, is a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 116th U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020 in response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The vehicles would be useful in helping to decontaminate affected areas in the community as well as transport infected prisoners. City Manager Sandoval stated that the vehicles would be very useful not only during the present pandemic but also in the event of any future outbreaks. The commission approved the item.

Finally the commission approved Resolution 2020-16 regarding a financing agreement for the purpose of procuring a street sweeper and related equipment. Finance director Frank Rios explained to the commission the details of the financing of the vehicle, choosing to take a longer finance option that would give the city more financial flexibility as they paid off the investment. The new sweeper, in his estimation, would serve the city’s needs for at least twelve years.

With no other business on the agenda, the commission voted to adjourn.
The next meeting of the La Feria city commission is scheduled for November 24, 2020 at 6:30 pm. To view the meeting via internet live streaming, please visit https://www.cityoflaferia.com/boards-and-commissions/city-commission/agendas-2020/ where you will find the agenda for the next meeting. The pdf for the agenda will include a link, meeting ID and passcode for the Zoom meeting. More information is available by calling 346-248-7799. Members of the public may sign up for public comment on an agenda item or for another item of public concern by submitting an email to amorales@cityoflaferia.com containing the name of the individual wishing to comment; and the item number or subject matter the individual wishes to comment on. Please submit requests for public comment no later than two hours before the meeting. Join the meeting at the time and login listed above and the Mayor will call on you when it is your turn to speak. A recording of the meeting will be made and is available to the public in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act.

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