Fire marshal in hot seat
Jul 13, 2012 | 1877 views | 1 1 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — Mayor Pro Tem Mike Scotten asked that a discussion of the city/county fire marshal’s position be placed on a future agenda for discussion during a Tuesday night City Council meeting.

Scotten made the request after hearing local businessman Armando Musquez speak during the hearing of visitors portion of the session.

Musquez mentioned a problem a local businesswoman had when the marshal, James Barrie, showed up to conduct an inspection of her business.

Musquez said the fee that Barrie collects for inspecting a business is “extortion”, because the fire marshal forces the businesses to pay it.

The businessman said Barrie sets his own fees, and the money goes into his pocket.

He said the county and city should be the ones setting the fees and money collected should go to the governments and not directly into the fire marshal’s pocket.

The council also heard from Albert Garcia, a member of Beeville’s New Life Church.

Garcia complained that a group using the same “New Life” name has been soliciting cash donations for a ministry located in San Antonio. He said local residents have been confused, thinking they were donating to the local church.

Garcia said the group apparently has a permit to solicit donations, but he does not want local citizens to think they are donating to a Beeville church.

Garcia said the San Antonio ministry is part of a national organization and those collecting have been accused of getting violent when trying to obtain donations.

“Is there a way to not allow them here?” Garcia asked.

Mayor Santiago “Jimbo” Martinez said the council could take no action on the situation at Tuesday’s meeting, but he assured Garcia that the matter would be included in a future agenda.

In other business Tuesday, the council voted to:

— Take no action on a zone change request for two lots in the 1100 block of East Taylor Street.

The owner of the property in the Bordeaux Estates subdivision wants to rezone the lots so he can build duplexes there. But several neighbors objected, saying they do not want rental property in the area.

When council members asked if the city’s Planning Commission has recommended approval of the request, the council was told the commission had reviewed the request and had recommended against it.

Martinez told the property owners the council would take up the issue and consider formal action later.

— Approve a request for a “Zombie Walk” to be held on July 21 on several city streets. The streets will not be closed for the event, but security measures will be taken to assure the safety of the walkers.

— Approve some minor changes in an agreement to sell bulk water to a recreational vehicle park being built just outside the city limits by Jessy Garza.

— Grant a reduction in bonding requirements for an oil and gas well from $50,000 to $10,000.

— Extend an agreement with Tomas P. Saenz to continue serving as the civil service director and to increase his compensation from $275 to $360 a month.

— Appoint Bee County Tax Assessor-Collector Linda Bridge to calculate the city’s effective and rollback property tax rates.

— Approve an agreement for software services for the collection of past due court fees and fines through Bridge’s office and the assessment of a $20 special expense fee for those services.

— Authorize Beeville’s Angel Care Ambulance Service to install an antenna on the city’s communications tower. Angel Care is the provider of the city and county EMS.

— Change the names of those allowed to sign on dealings with the city employee fund at First National Bank to Deborah Ballí and Tami Dubois.

— Postpone action on naming the football field complex at Veterans Memorial Park and the new facilities at Flournoy Park.

— Schedule a public hearing on a request to abandon parts of Reyes Street for the construction of a home there for July 24.

— Approve a legal settlement to end threatened litigation involving a recreational vehicle park on the U.S. Highway 181 Bypass. The settlement will allow the owner of the property, Riley Vega, to go ahead with the project.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at
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July 13, 2012
Why don't they just get rid of Barrie. Him setting his own fines is like a loose canon.