|Auditor: City in fine shape financially|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Feb. 6, 2004 -- Sulphur Springs financial health is excellent, according to the annual audit report presented to the City Council in a regular meeting Tuesday night.
Randy Howard of Howard and Company told the council the city is in better condition than most of the cities his company audits each year, and was complimentary of the city staff for the manner in which the different funds are managed.
Mayor Brad Burgin said while many cities the size of Sulphur Springs have had financial problems over the past year, the audit points to an even better report next year.
"I think that, overall, we are in great shape to have what we have," Burgin said. "To come out of '03 the way we have and starting '04, it looks really good - we're in really good shape."
In other business, the council gave unanimous approval to a preliminary plat for property located at North Jackson Street and Pipeline Road. Plans for the tract of more than 166 acres call for the development of 181 residential lots.
The first phase of the planned development will involve 51 lots for custom-built homes.
Grace Custom Homes will be building homes that will allow buyers to make changes in the design of the home or build new homes from plans the buyer might bring in.
"Our thought process behind that is we don't want to create a 'cookie-cutter' type neighborhood," said Mike Blake of Grand Saline, representing Grace Custom Homes. "We want to create something that is unique, that is long-lasting and be something the city will be proud of."
Blake told the council his group has begun developing residential housing in several communities the size of Sulphur Springs. The main attraction here is the current growth, along with the growth potential.
"We are in towns such as this that are thriving and growing," Blake said. "We're very excited to be here and be a part of that growth."
Mayor Burgin said the prospect of new residential development can be also be attributed to city's financial status.
"I think that goes back to the growth and financial stability the city has," Burgin said. "A lot of people are seeing this town as growing, and a lot of people not only want to bring retail and industry, they want to bring housing development, and that's a great thing."
In other action, the council gave approval to a plan that would change the way the city pays its share of the costs to Sulphur River Municipal Water District for the construction of Cooper Lake.
City Manger Marc Maxwell had asked the council to clarify the proper fund reserve level to by held by the water district on behalf of the member cities.
Maxwell told council members he was "not just real comfortable" with the current financial management practices of the water district.
The agreement, expected to be presented to the cities of Cooper and Commerce, specifies the amount the member cities would pay to the water district until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers makes a final determination on the costs of Cooper Lake.
A number or agenda items approved by the council were directly related to the HOME Grant the city recently received, including one designating the city manger as Fair Housing/Equal Opportunity Standards Officer.
Council approval was also given to city's annual matching grant for the Tactical Narcotics Task Force grant.
In one of the final items of business coming before the council, the order calling for a city election to be held in May was approved. Two seats on the council, Place 4 held by Brad Burgin and Place 5 held by Larry Powers, will be on the ballot.