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Hung up on agenda vagaries, Presidio City Council takes few actions

February 16th, 2017 under Top Stories


PRESIDIO — Citing problems with the way agenda items were written and the advice of the city’s attorney, the Presidio City Council tabled almost half of the action items on the agenda for its regular meeting Thursday.

The Presidio City Council, led by Mayor Pro Tem Alcee Tavarez in the absence of Mayor John Ferguson, accepted unanimously a resolution recognizing a historical neighborhood in Presidio and took action to update a water rate ordinance at its regular Feb. 9 meeting. But when it came time to discuss action on some new city business, the council tabled three consecutive items, including one pertaining to the long-troubled city financial audits.

“I’ve consulted with the attorney, and this item is not really there,” Mayor Pro Tem Tavarez said of the agenda item 6-F, “discussion/action as appropriate on City of Presidio Audits.”

“There are some loose ends we need to tie up before we can do this,” Tavarez said.

When asked by Council Member Dimitri Garcia for more details on the issue with item 6-F, City Administrator Joe Portillo explained that he had also spoken with the city’s attorney.

“I spoke to our counsel, and I posed a hypothetical, I told him the situation we’re currently under and sent him a detailed email,” Portillo said. “And his email response triggered three or four questions. And we’re in the process of getting that information back to him.”

The next item, discussion and action on an exchange of adjacent downtown land plots between the city and a private owner was tabled as well. Item G if passed in current verbiage calling for an auction would open the land swap to public bidding.

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news once again, but item G as well has to be tabled because of the wording on the item,” Tavarez said.

The city’s attorney previously told the city the land exchange had to be done in an auction, according to Presidio Municipal Development District Executive Director Brad Newton. “And now he says we’re not supposed to use auction because auction indicates that it has to be open to the public,” Newton said.

The last item of new business for the council would have authorized the city administrator to address a right-of-way issue related to a city-owned non-potable water well that is blocked by private property.

“Again, item 6-H . . . table that, too,” Tavarez said. “There were two separate issues, and I think one of them has been resolved. The second one, he wanted more specifics on the item that we’re discussing.”

“It’s too vague,” Portillo said of the agenda item. “It’s just non-potable water. Who maintains the well, and who has access to it and the monies that come from it. We would just be reaching out to the affected property owners and coming to an agreement on how can we get to our well making the smallest footprint possible . . . But we need access to it.”

To be sure, the council did take action on approving changes to an existing water and wastewater rate ordinance. The rates in the written ordinance now match that rates customers are being charged, which increased 3 percent last year.

The city council also approved a resolution recognizing the historical Barrio de los Lipanes and supporting the preservation of the historical cemetery there.

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