New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 8, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas
6A g Herald-Zeitung g Sunday, December 8, 1996Garden Ridge opts for city administrator to run day-to-day operations
By DAVID DEKUNDER
GARDEN RIDGE — If anyone out there has experience running a city, Garden Ridge wants you.
The Garden Ridge City Council voted 5-0 this week to re-establish the position of city administrator, a post that was part of the city’s government from 1990-92.
The previous council eliminated the position in what some current council members call a political conflict.
After Wednesday night’s vote, council members said the city needed someone to run the day-to-day operations of the city who reported
directly to the City Council.
Before the vote, Council Member Jack Foley questioned whether the additional position was needed.
But Council Member Russ Sanders said much of what would be the city administrator’s responsibility is now being handled voluntarily by Mayor Jay P. Minikin, who is retired and has the time to devote to the city’s operations. The mayor’s position is not a paid positon. Minikin, the mayor for six years, said he does not plan to run for re-election next year.
Council Member Georgia Eckhardt said the next mayor could not be expected to devote the hours to the job that Minikin has.
“A city with our status shouldn’t
expect free hours,” she said. “Our mayor gives a lot of his free time.”
The city has budgeted $34,500 in fiscal 1997-98 for the city administrator position starting in May. Minikin said he hopes the council could write a job description by February.
Eckhardt said more people in Garden Ridge might consider running for mayor if they knew there was a city administrator or city manager who could alleviate the mayor’s current workload.
Council Member Jay Feibelman said he did not see how a city administrator could share duties with the city secretary, and he raised the possibility of eliminating the
secretary position. “I don’t think the city is big enough for two positions,” Feibelman said.
The council also considered hiring a city manager or changing the mayor into a full-time paid position.
Minikin said hiring a city administrator was better than giving full-time pay to the mayor or establishing a city manager form of government, which would have required a vote of the people.
“I think the city is too small and should not delegate its responsibilities,” Miljikin said. “I don’t think we need a city manager. I think it is inappropriate to have a paid mayor. I don’t know of a city that does.”
Eckhardt, who conducted a poll of area city managers, said the consensus was to hire a city administrator. “They felt there needed to be a division of day-to-day operations and politics,’’she said.
Minikin said whoever is hired as city administrator will need to be an able administrator “who can dig in and understand the issues of water and the city.”
In other business, the council:
■ Tabled an amendment to a city ordinance that would have established a financial liability and penalty charge for commercial and residential users of garbage collection services.
■ Amended the city employee handbook revising a city policy on sick leave and clarifying a policy on pay days for employees and added circumstances such as a birth of a child, personal injury and illness.
Biologist denies misuse of chemical in treating lake
By DAVID DEKUNDER
A San Marcos biologist denies a complaint filed by a Lake McQueeney resident that he misapplied the Sonar herbicide used to treat the hydrilla in the lake.
“I categorically did not misapply the Sonar that day or any other day,” Malcolm Johnson of Johnson Lake Management Service said.
Johnson was responding to a complaint filed with the Environmental Protection Agency by Robin Richardson, president of Health Awareness and Water Knowledge, a group of residents concerned about the use of Sonar.
The EPA regional office in Dallas referred it to the Texas Department of Agriculture The group opposes the use of Sonar because it contains fluridone, which they claim will break down into N-monomethylformamide, NMF, a suspected toxic chemical to humans.
In March, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department treated 102 acres of Lake McQueeney near Treasure Island with Sonar to fight hydrilla.
The effort was done in joint cooperation with the Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority, Friends of Lake McQueeney and area civic leaders. Johnson was a consultant on the project and helped apply Sonar in the canals4>f Treasure Island.
Richardson said she filed a complaint with the EPA citing the alleged application of quantities of Sonar based on the information she has received from SePRO Corp., the Indiana company that makes Sonar.
Richardson said her calculation estimated that the canals around Treasure Island have an average depth of 3.9 feet.
In response to a request by Richardson, Johnson wrote that he applied 180 pounds of Sonar SRP to the canals of Treasure Island.
According to a chart produced by SePRO, a maximum of 32 pounds of Sonar SRP is enough to treat an average depth of 3.9 feet.
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“The maximum should have not exceeded 32 pounds,” Richardson said. “How did this alleged misapplication take place and that's what we want to know about this ”
The TDA office in San Antonio is currently investigating the case to see if any violations were broken by Johnson.
Johnson said Richardson misconstrued from his written message that he only treated the canals of Treasure Island.
“She is operating under the assumption that the canals were the only areas I treated,” he said. “We treated the adjacent areas and the two coves.”
Johnson said he fully cooperated with TDA authorities.
“I pointed out to them on a map what areas I treated and they are investigating it,” Johnson said. “I have apprised them formally of the
areas treated, the amount of material used and the depths (of the water
When he wrote his response to Richardson, Johnson said he did know that Richardson wanted him to be specific about the areas where he applied the Sonar.
Richardson said HAWK is in the process of writing a draft permit proposal in which only licensed applicators would be allowed to put aquatic herbicides in surface waters in Texas. The permitting process would go through the TDA.
Richardson said homeowners right now could buy a chemical such as Sonar without going through a stringent permitting process.
“This will ensure a check-double check process which will bring education in the process so mishaps like this will not happen in our great resources and rivers of the state of
Texas,” Richardson said.
GBRA, SePRO and Johnson have cited studies that concluded that NMF did not occur in the natural environment and that there is no harm to humans living on Lake McQueeney.
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