Council approves budget and doesn't approve Old Town restaurant awning
City Council approved the fiscal-year 2023-24 budget and discussed adding an awning at Old Texas Brewing Company in Old Town and more at its meeting Tuesday at City Hall.
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BURLESON – City Council approved the fiscal-year 2023-24 budget and discussed adding an awning at Old Texas Brewing Company in Old Town and changing meeting structures at its meeting Tuesday at City Hall.
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The budget council approved includes a decrease in the property-tax rate to $.6325 from $.6572 in fiscal-year 2022-23 and a 20% increase to the solid-waste fund and a 3% increase in the water-waste fund.
Although the overall tax rate is decreasing, the Maintenance and Operations No New Revenue Rate will increase 3.5%, which is allowed without voter approval due to Senate Bill 2.
Meeting attendees Jake Wernette and Mattew Lucci spoke in response to the proposed budget at the meeting Tuesday.
“The people of Burleson are not stupid,” Lucci said. “You will not pull the wool over our eyes. We will remember if you lie to us, and we will feel it when you reach your greedy little fingers deeper into our pockets, so I urge no new taxes.”
Jake Wernette, who lost to councilmember Phil Anderson for City Council Place 2 in the city election in May, disapproved of increasing the No New Revenue Rate 3.5%.
“On behalf of the citizens in the timeless philosophy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness put forth by Thomas Jefferson and many other founding fathers, I declare that, as the bosses of our elected officials, the only tax policy we support are no new taxes,” Wernette said.
Council will meet for a special session to hold a public hearing on the budget at 9:30 a.m. Monday at City Hall.
While the budget passed unanimously, one item council didn’t pass was adding an awning over the Old Texas Brewing Company patio area in Old Town.
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Burleson has allowed Old Texas Brewing Company to set up tables, chairs and portable umbrella canopies on parking spaces in front of the restaurant in Old Town as a temporary patio area, and the restaurant wants to build a removable awning over the area.
Council didn’t file a motion to approve or disapprove the request after discussing it and voicing concerns about building a permanent structure on what’s supposed to be a temporarily-used space, the safety of the space in general and the aesthetics of the structure.
Mayor Pro Tem Dan McClendon said he’s been on the fence about this issue since he first saw it.
“If I were not absolutely convinced that that would look at home in a turn of the 20th century building in a small town in Texas, there’s no way I would support this.” McClendon said.
Anderson doesn’t support the awning idea at all and wants the temporary patio area removed entirely, he said at the meeting.
“I’m scared to death of those people sitting out there going to get hit by traffic one of these days.” Anderson said.
Councilmember Larry Scott recognized that building a permanent structure could be less hazardous than the umbrella canopies but said council needs to make sure the permanent structure fits what Old Town needs.
McClendon is reluctant to approve the awning because it’d set a precedent that the restaurant owns that space, which belongs to the city, he said at the meeting.
“I don’t really see how going from portable umbrella canopies to a metal-built permanent canopy does really anything to the nature of the business, but it definitely commits the real estate to the business for their use indefinitely for all time permanently,” McClendon said.
Anderson also voiced concern about other restaurants in Old Town wanting their own awnings if Old Texas Brewing Company builds one.
Mayor Chris Fletcher said he wants council to be open-minded about the awning.
“They(Old Texas Brewing Company)’ve had a history for how long with no accidents and now we’re assuming something’s going to happen,” Fletcher said. “And I agree, it needs to look better. This is somebody that generates revenue for the city. They’ve got a history of it, and now we’re kind of badmouthing him.”
Council also discussed changing its regular meeting start time to 5:30 p.m. and changed the meeting structure to hear reports last so presenters have a better idea of when they’d need to arrive at meetings.
Council also discussed amendments to Council Policy 40, City boards, commissions and committees appointment process, including adding responsibilities of members and adding value expectations.
A member responsibility mentioned was arriving at meetings on time and providing 72-hour notice of expected absences.
These responsibilities would also apply to youth council members. It’s responsible for youth members to learn accountability and responsibility because youth members missing meetings has been a problem, Fletcher said at the meeting.
The value expectations council discussed adding to the policy include members living exemplary lives publicly and privately.
These expectations serving as a code of conduct can be a “very slippery slope,” councilmember Ronnie Johnson said at the meeting.
“When you start setting out a code of conduct, I think you should be extremely careful because my code of conduct is not the same as others,” Johnson said. He added that it’s unrealistic to expect people to change their lives to be on boards and committees.
Burleson should “edge away” from dictating what people do in their private lives, McClendon said at the meeting.
Burleson secretary Amanda Campos will bring these proposals back to council for approval at a later meeting.
Council’s next meeting will be a special session at 9:30 a.m. Monday at City Hall.
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