The Jasper City Council has taken another step towards becoming a broadband internet provider, and has tabled a proposed game room ordinance.
During their regular monthly meeting on Monday, when considering departmental reports, Councilman Anderson Land raised a question regarding the recent decision to close the Jasper City Jail and to instead house all arrestees in the Jasper County Jail. Land wanted to know why the decision was not included in the departmental reports and had not been presented to council for consideration and approval. Mayor Randy Sayers answered by saying that the issue will be an agenda item and will be discussed in a future City Council meeting.
Council heard a presentation from Nathan Watkins, a broadband consultant who oversaw the implementation of broadband internet in Mont Belvieu. Watkins spoke about his work in Mont Belvieu and the comparative needs for Jasper, such as an underground line coming into the city to ensure that internet still works despite a catastrophic event, such as a hurricane.
Following his presentation, Councilman David Shultz made a motion for Watkins to submit a contract proposal to be the broadband consultant for the City of Jasper, which was seconded by Councilman Michael Daniel. It passed with the exception of a no vote from Councilman Anderson Land who questioned why a vote and asked for clarification that it was not an action item on the agenda. Mayor Randy Sayers replied “Well, not really. Right now it’s just approval to do it”.
Council has also voted to table a proposed game room ordinance, which contained the same wording as the ordinance recently passed by the Jasper County Commissioners Court. David Shultz, saying that he would like more time for Council to study the proposed ordinance, made a motion to table, which was seconded by Councilwoman Laura Golden. Anderson Land made a motion to pass the ordinance, but it died with lack of a second. When put to a vote the motion to table was passed.
Council also accepted a petition that was recently circulated by Councilman Anderson Land. The petition contains the signatures of those who would like to see an issue placed on a ballot which, if passed, would limit the City of Jasper to selling electricity at no more than 10% above cost.
City Secretary Robbie Peek said the city is waiting for a consultation with an attorney, and she said that matters to be explored include the wording on the petition, how such a proposal would be worded on a ballot, and the exact areas of the City Charter which deal with this issue.
In other action, Council has approved City Manager Denise Kelley to make an early pay-off of tax and revenue certificates of obligation. Kelley told Council that the funds are there for an early payoff which will save the city approximately $69,000.00 in interest payments.