The Ballinger City Council voted to extend a contract to City Manager Bryan Grimes during their meeting on Dec. 5. Grimes, who has been city manager since June 2, 2014, has not had a contract until now. 

The contract, which is indefinite, outlines Grimes’ salary at $82,000 annually and specifies that his duties and actions are approved by the council. 

“The contract is standard,” said Councilman Phillip Arp. “We are trying to do a lot of things in the city right now and we wanted to make sure he does his best to do what we (as a council) lay out.” 

Ballinger Mayor Sam Mallory agreed saying that in today’s world, a verbal agreement and a handshake “are not like they were 130 years ago when this city was formed.”

Both Mallory and Arp praised Grimes for his work on the city’s water and infrastructure issues and said that the council wanted to “solidify and agreement with Grimes,” since he is a commodity and has had offers from other cities.

Plus, the mayor and the city council can change in any election, Mallory said and they wanted to make sure it was understood that he had the support of the council. 

Arp said there were also provisions in the agreement should questionable incidents occur, which is standard in any contract. 

“The fact is he has done a fantastic job with this city and made significant in-roads in the last two-and-a-half years,” Arp said. 

Grimes said he was thankful for the contract, which is indefinite. 

“I am grateful and thankful to the City of Ballinger for their trust in me and I think the city is improving day by day,” Grimes said. “We are very close to having a secure water source in in our future and our sales tax is doing well – there is a lot of positive energy and positive momentum and I am thankful they have the trust in me.” 

In other business, the council selected Gayla Fullerton as the new auditor, replacing Richard Bowman who had done the city’s audit for the last several years. Fullerton will be charging the city $20,000 for her services and the audit is expected to begin immediately.  

Also during the meeting, Grimes reported that work was underway at the railroad crossing at Highway 158 (Broadway) and that the Texas Department of Transportation will be placing an arm at that crossing. There is a tentative offer from TxDOT on the table to permanently close the intersection at 10th Street, with TxDOT offering the city $150,000 in in-kind services to close the intersection.

Grimes said TxDOT is conducting a study on the traffic flow at U.S. Highway 67 and FM 2133 to determine the need for an additional traffic signal. 

“We also discussed lowering the speed limits to 30 miles per hour coming off both bridges – everything coming through town would be set at 30 miles per hour,” Grimes said. “The best thing is if we could slow traffic down."

Grimes said that TxDOT officials were also receptive to requests for banners, benches and trash receptacles downtown. 
In other business, the council: 

*Approved building permits.

* Chief Stanley Maresch reported 309 calls for November, 30 reports taken and 11 arrests made. There were also 76 citations issued with over $5,600 in court costs. Maresch also told the council that two new officers had been hired.