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Austwell readies to build wetlands center
Aug 17, 2014 | 579 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AUSTWELL – Residents and city officials were busy Tuesday removing chairs, tables, blinds and even curtains in the Austwell Community Center so it would be ready for reconstruction and an added wetlands education center.

Mayor David Cann announced that the city council was having its last meeting in the community center Monday evening, Aug. 11.

The center will not be rented, as well, during the $247,400 reconstruction project, paid for by a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant.

“This will be our last time in this building until Jan.15 (construction completion date),” Cann said.

The project covers reconstructing the community center with R-45 insulation in the ceilings and R-15 insulation in the walls. Currently, the community center doesn’t have any insulation.

Also, the community center and wetlands center would get a metal roof, hardie board siding, new door, a four-ton central air unit (existing window units would be discontinued as would some of the windows) and ADA compliant restrooms and sidewalk.

The council agreed to meet at the smaller City Hall. If that doesn’t fit the council’s needs, resident Earl Bluhm offered his classroom building for the council’s meetings.

The council also approved the Austwell 2014-2015 budget. A balanced revenue and expenditure budget of $169,162.

Property taxes of $24,146 account for part of the budget’s revenue. The rest of the revenue comes from various fees, building permits, sales tax, tap fees, city park fees and utilities.

The council also agreed to toughen up on its animal and unlicensed vehicle ordinances.

Notices will be sent to those with pets that don’t not city tags, and to unlicensed vehicle owners who have not renewed their permits (golf carts).

The council, after a closed session, approved forms for the city secretary’s job description and job evaluation.

After a second closed session, the council approved of Councilwoman Nadine Garner developing an employee handbook.

And after a third closed session in which the council interviewed two candidates for the position of city secretary, no action was taken, and the position remained open.

Also, Councilwoman Mary Canales reported on her July 24-25 Texas Municipal League workshop in Bastrop.

Canales said she met officials from all over the state, reviewed parliamentary and legal procedures, heard a presentation on community building, reviewed the Texas Open Meetings Act and learned that Austwell was not the smallest city in Texas, with one other having only 46 people.

Cann praised Refugio County Sheriff Robert Bolcik for donating a red Suburban to the Austwell Volunteer Fire Department. The vehicle was confiscated in an illegal immigrant case.

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