Following an executive session Tuesday evening, Sulphur Springs City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Police Capt. James [Jay] Sanders to the position of police chief to replace Chief Jim “BJ” Bayuk, who will be retiring from the office at the end of June.
Sanders, who has been with Sulphur Springs Police Department for 26 years, came up through the ranks from patrolman to captain in charge of all patrol operations.
After his appointment was announced, Sanders said he was enthused about leading the department.
“I'm excited to take over and continue what BJ got started. After 13 years working with him, I learned a lot,” Sanders said. “He got a lot of good things started in our department and I just want to continue doing what he started.”
In his role as captain of the police department, Sanders worked closely with Bayuk.
“We've done a lot of stuff together,” the new chief said. “I just really enjoyed working with him, and I look forward to continue working with him over at the school district. We've got a lot of plans.”
In looking ahead, Sanders said there were a number of things he wanted to do for the police department.
“Right now, we are looking at some equipment, stuff that needs to get upgraded. We are kind of behind on some things and working on getting some grants to get those things taken care of,” he said. “Our personnel, we're in great shape for personnel right now and our vehicles. Other than that, we're in pretty good shape.”
One of the first tasks the new police chief will face is preparing the budget to present to the city council for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
In other business, Kayla Price and John Sellers were sworn in for new terms on the council following the municipal election held last month.
Each year, following the installation of new or returning council members, the council selects a new mayor and mayor pro tem.
Councilman Freddie Taylor, who was out of state on business Tuesday evening, was named to serve as mayor. Price was named mayor pro tem to serve in the mayor's absence.
With Taylor's absence, outgoing Mayor John Sellers handed the gavel to Price, who conducted the remainder of the council meeting.
Two agenda items, one dealing with the adoption of a property maintenance code and the other dealing with signs and identification regulations, were discussed and council members said they felt more time was needed to fully study both items before taking action.
Action on both items was postponed, and the council will schedule a workshop for an in-depth study of the ordinance proposals.
The council was quick to give support to a resolution supporting Ark-Tex Council of Governments' efforts to obtain a federal study of the Interstate 30 corridor.
City Manage Marc Maxwell told the council that studies are planned for both I-10 and I-20, and that traffic, especially truck traffic on I-30, was as heavy as either of the other interstates.
That freight load is expected to increase in coming years as expansion of the Panama Canal is completed and more imports come into the Port of Houston.
Approval was given to a resolution changing the name of Coca-Cola Drive to Commercial Services Drive.
Johnny Heilman and John Berry, owners of the former Coca-Cola building, said theirs was the only business on the street and they felt the name change was only appropriate.
The council also approved, on first reading, a zoning change for property at 1317 West Ave. from multi-family to professional office.
Property owners Jonathan and Joe Dan Kennedy requested the zoning change.
The council accepted recommendations from the city manager on awarding contracts for the summer street program and the purchase of materials for the program.
Both contracts were awarded to Richard Drake Construction. The cost of the paving program will be $119,800 and the cost of materials will be $794,000.
R.K. Hall also submitted a bid for the materials at $903,000.
The streets to get a work-over in this summer's paving program include League Street from Main to Industrial, along with Russell Drive, Live Oak Street, Fuller Street, North Davis Street, Morris Drive, Hinnant Street, Kendall Street, Tomlinson Street and Vonda Drive.
The streets will receive an overlay, a new surface of plant-mix asphalt, that will result in a very smooth driving surface.
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