Council cancels Place 6 election after Chris Brown runs unopposed

Regular monthly meeting moves quickly, lasting only 7 minutes

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

April 3, 2008 - There won't be an election for one of the two Sulphur Springs City Council races up for a vote this year, but that wasn't the most notable event in this week's council meeting.

Seven minutes after Tuesday's Sulphur Springs City Council meeting began, the panel and the dozen or so in the audience alike seemed amazed that a bureaucratic body could work so efficiently.

"I think that might be some kind of record," said City Manager Marc Maxwell, seconds after Mayor Yolanda Williams banged the gavel to close the Tuesday night meeting just seven minutes after it began.

While seven minutes for local council meeting is not a record (meetings have lasted less than five minutes before), it's understandable why the session moved quicker than a Pixar film short -- there just wasn't much to talk about on Tuesday's agenda.

The lengthiest action item was an ordinance reducing speed limits on Interstate 30 while construction work is performed on the road, and that was only because Councilman Gary Spraggins asked if the speed limits would return to 70 mph when the work was done.

The answer was something along the lines of "Yep."

Other agenda items passed by the council included an ordinance to include small animal clinics with no outdoor kennels in heavy commercial zones, allowing Relay For Life to use amplified equipment, and a specific use permit for a planned restaurant on Main Street.

The council also canceled the election for Place 6, currently held by Chris Brown, who is running for re-election unopposed. State law allows city councils and other forms of local government to save the cost of conducting balloting by canceling an election when candidates are unopposed. As a result, Brown will return for another three years on the council.

There will still be a City Council election, however, as Yolanda Williams, currently serving as mayor, is being challenged for re-election to her Place 7 seat by Charles Oxford.

The city manager probably took up more time than anyone else at the meeting simply by going through his monthly report on the progress of various projects, such as the second phase of construction on Rockdale Road, which is on hold, probably until late August, while the city's Capital Construction Division concentrates on relocating sewer and water lines along Arbala Road, State Highway 19 and Holiday Drive in preparation for work on the extension of State Highway 11 from Wal-Mart to SH 19.

Maxwell also discussed plans to begin replacing water and sewer lines on Houston Street, which will begin after the work relocating lines for the SH 11 extension is finished.

He also talked about the progress of downtown revitalization work in the area of Main Street, where a grease collection line and grease trap were recently installed to serve future restaurants on Main and Conally streets and the west side of the downtown square. Crews have also installed conduit for cable television wiring and electrical lines, and Oncor has started relocating the overhead electric wires on Main Street to T-Bone Alley.

The full text of the city manager's monthly report was included in Wednesday's News-Telegram.

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