Buffalo City Council Discuss Finance

All members of the Buffalo City Council were present for their final regular meeting of the year, Monday, December 18th. Buffalo Mayor Royce Dawkins presided.

The agenda item that created the most discussion was to decide on the financing of the new City Hall/Civic Center which has already under construction on Highway 75 next to the Community National Bank. City Attorney Jerry Nowlin presented the board with options on how to finance the amount of funds that will have to be borrowed for this project. The largest amount of the funds needed will come from the hotel/motel tax fund which currently has a balance of about one million dollars. In addition, about one half million dollars more will be needed.

Nowlin?s recommendation was to sell a tax note. This would be a short term method to borrow the money, and the rate may be as low as 2%. The amount could be paid off in five to ten years depending on how much of the hotel/motel tax fund money will be used. The cost for the tax note would be $25,000.

Board members Martin Housler and Dianne Ryder expressed concern of not yet knowing the exact amount of money needed. They also want to approach local banks for financing. Nowlin disagreed that banks would be a good option. The matter was tabled, and a special meeting scheduled for January 8th was planned when the board can be presented with more accurate figures on what money will be needed.

Bobby Fishbeck, representing the Boys High School Basketball Tournament, addressed the board to request more funds for the tournament that will be held during the Christmas break. The group had originally requested $16,000 for the event, and the board approved $10,000 at the last meeting. (Fishbeck had not been present at the last meeting.) ?I?m here now to ask for the other $6,000,? said Fishbeck citing the positive influence of 18 teams coming to Buffalo for three and four days.

Dawkins recommended that the board allow another $3,000 and the group should request $3,000 more from the BEDC. Ryder disagreed and made the motion to award the group the $6,000 as requested. All members voted in favor of this motion. The committee that reviews the requests for hotel/motel tax funds based on the state requirements for the expenditures of the fund, had originally recommended that the board allow $10,000.

Buffalo Police Chief Lance Pavelka gave the report from his department. Pavelka reported 100 calls recieved last month for service including 1 Assault Family Violence, 1 Burglary of a Habitation, 1 Harassment, and 1 Hindering of Apprehension.

?Calls are still coming in with reports of citizens? credit and debit card numbers being compromised,? said Pavelka who showed the council a skimmer that was taken from a local gas pump. ?The devises are not detectable by the consumer,? said Pavelka, ?but when you swipe your card at the pump, your number is being recorded and then used on a card that the culprit has manufactured.? The safest way to purchase fuel with a credit or debit card is to pay at the register rather than at the pump.

Buffalo Fire Chief Shane Reeder addressed the council on the matter of available fire hydrants. ?This is something that has been discussed in the past,? said Reeder, ?but still not resolved.? Without adequate hydrants, the insurance rate for the Volunteer Fire Department increased. Reeder strongly suggested arranging for a consultant to address the board with a guide for what is needed. The council agreed to put this matter on the January agenda including hearing from a consultant.

Robby Boettcher gave the council an update from the Planning Committee and displayed posters from the recent public meeting held with the Texas Target Team of A&M students and administrators.

The council approved the post event reports from the Buffalo Stampede Horseshoe Tournament and the Bison Belle 60th Reunion. Both of the groups had used funds from the hotel/motel tax account.