City rejects cost of moving poles
Gonzales City Council on Tuesday rejected what it considered too high a cost for moving five utility poles owned by Verizon, throwing plans for completing renovations in the 300 block of St. George St. into doubt.
City manager Allen Barnes told council members that efforts to negotiate a settlement with the communications company to move its five utility poles off the street and behind buildings on St. George have proven fruitless.
“All of our advances toward Verizon were not acceptable to them,” said Barnes.
The city had balked at Verizon’s estimated cost of $72,000 for it to move the poles, and had offered to put the project out for bids to see if a more economical price could be had. Barnes said the company rejected the city having anything to do with moving the poles.
“We are stuck with a dilemma,” he said. “I feel the expenditure of $72,000 for the removal of five poles is not responsible at this point.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, council members also got word that housing and retail development appear to be following the expansion of the oil business.
Nathan Neuse, president of the Gonzales Economic Development Corp.’s Board of Directors, presented a report on the agency’s financial status and an update on a number of projects being funded by GEDC.
He also told council members that GEDC has heard from developers who are interested in bringing in an apartment community to the area, as well as an adjacent retail center. Neuse identified the area near the intersection of State Hwy. 97 and US 90 Alternate as a possible location for those developments.
Neuse also noted several other projects already under development, including a new bakery and several hotel/motel projects.
Council approved GEDC funding for two projects during Tuesday’s meeting. The council gave approval to a GEDC offer of a low-interest loan of up to $150,000 to Win Bin Ventures for the 53-room Microtel hotel project. Council also gave a thumbs-up to a GDEC small business incentive grant of up to $10,000 to the owners of Frames & Things for roof replacement.
The council also took steps Tuesday to update the city’s horse ordinance and to bring the city into compliance with its charter.
Council passed an updated horse ordinance which now bans stallions being housed on property in the city limits. Barnes told the council the previous ordinance already prohibited breeding horses within city limits, but “we’ve had to file vicious-animal complaints on a couple of stallions that have attacked other horses.”
Barnes said that Friends of Gonzales Animal Shelter (FOGAS) has indicated it will work with owners of stallions to get their animals gelded. “We’re working with these owners, so it’s not ‘take-your-stallion-and-get-out-of-town,’” Barnes said.
The city also appointed Dr. Garth Vaz as the city’s official health officer. Barnes said the city charter calls for the appointment of a city health officer and staff discovered that several years had passed since the city last had anyone appointed to the post.
In other action, the council also gave the go-ahead for Barnes to sell sponsorship signs at JB Wells Rodeo Arena; approved a contract with Texas Technology Consultants for information technology services; and approved a contract for baling hay at the Wells complex.