BALLINGER - The City of Ballinger has added a tool in their arsenal for attracting business and industry to the community after the City Council unanimously approved the implementation of Chapter 380 - a program that gives cities the ability to offer incentives to prospective business and industry without passing a half cent sales tax for economic development.

BALLINGER - The City of Ballinger has added a tool in their arsenal for attracting business and industry to the community after the City Council unanimously approved the implementation of Chapter 380 - a program that gives cities the ability to offer incentives to prospective business and industry without passing a half cent sales tax for economic development.

During the meeting, City Attorney Pat Chesser explained that Chapter 360 is part of the Texas Local Government Code.

“The Chapter 360 Program is designed to help cities bring businesses to town,” Chesser told the council. “It gives you the flexibility to craft things for your city to promote for economic development whether it is land, services or whatever your creative minds can come up with. It is to give you more bang for your buck.”

Chesser said the program would facilitate economic development and redevelopment of the city.

“It reduces unemployment and improves the quality of life for citizens,” He said.

Under Chapter 380, the city can create tax incentives, reinvestment zones, enterprise zones and loans and grants assistance.

Chesser suggest the city form a committee to consider economic development projects.

“I think it is a good thing,” Chesser said. “It doesn’t obligate you to do anything - it just gives you the ability.”

Also during the meeting, resident Bobby Jones asked the council when the contract for the certified pool operator job would be available. Members said the applications would be available on or about May 1. The summer contract has paid pays $11,500 in the past two years.

Last year the contract was held by HMS Services, owned by Ballinger Mayor Sam Mallory. Former City Manager Bryan Grimes said he contacted the Texas Municipal League at the time the contract was drawn up and they told him the agreement would be valid under the city’s charter.

During the discussion, Councilman Bob McDaniel said he disagreed with the way the pool operator’s contract had been handled in recent years.

“The people who voted for it should be ashamed of themselves and the person who worked it,” McDaniel said. “I’d rather that money be given to a city employee.”

Chesser said advised the council to open the position up going forward since the local city charter prohibits such a contract because Ballinger is considered a “home ruled city,” which was overlooked by officials at TML when the contract was originally drawn up. However, Chesser said it was not necessary for the amount to be repaid as the job was done in good faith.

Also during Monday’s meeting Ballinger City Council rescinded a previous measure closing a portions of 5th and 6th streets following a complaint by Stella Gonzales, who lives at 405 Ball Ave. and said the closure impeded her ability to get to and from the home she’s owned for 38 years. Currently there are gates blocking passage on the streets.

She told the council that the roads are caliche and when it rains they get “very sluggish”

“I have a small car and am fearful of getting stuck,” she told the members.

McDaniel said the project should not have been voted on.

“If I would have known I would not have voted for this,” McDaniel said.

In other business the council:

Approved a request by Ballinger Police Chief Stan Maresch to apply for a NIBRS Grant offered by the governor’s office. The council approved the application and the city will receive $7,500 to be used to pay fees for CopSync technology. Approved the minutes of the March 19 meeting. Heard City Administrator Randy Everett’s report in which he said that the park at the Ballinger Lake was ready for the summer season. Everett also said there will likely be 10-12 streets on the re-paving list for the summer. He added that the search continues for two employees at the water plant. Amended the contract fees for airport hangar leases at Bruce Field. The leases went from $65 to $100. Agricultural fees went to $350 per month. Approved building permits.