Happy New Year Gunter!
I am pleased to bring some important updates on the city to you as we begin 2012. Since the last update, many changes have come to our city. As many of you already know, in October the City Administrator / City Secretary resigned, and Dena Daniel was hired as the Interim City Secretary while a search began for a full time replacement City Secretary. Over a two month period, the City Council interviewed a short list of five candidates and ultimately selected Mrs. Stefani Knapp, our former Municipal Court Clerk to serve in the role. She was officially promoted into the position on a probationary basis on January 2.
Congratulations to our Fire Chief, Kevin Price, as he successfully passed the Head of Department Certification test. Additionally, the ISO Fire Rating for the City was revised thru his efforts and the current rating is going to be revised to a rating of 3 / 8b. This will affect all the City's residents as a reduction in insurance rates for homeowners' policies. The ratings are currently with the State Board of Insurance, and should be effective at the beginning of May, 2012.
On other fronts:
The Stanley Waste Water Treatment Facility for the Bridges Development--Construction is nearing completion as the structure is fully completed with minor electrical hook-ups and maintenance of off-site structures nearing completion.
Telecommunications sales and use tax--We have repealed the exemption from sales tax for telecommunications services in the City of Gunter, and the City instead of the State will now receive this tax revenue, starting as January 1st.
City Business--Digital recordings of City Council and Board and Commission meetings are now available to the public on request. Written meeting minutes are also available on our website, and are fully up to date.
As we move forward in 2012, I will be working on several projects that will improve our community. Using my position as Small City Mayor on the Sherman-Denison MPO, and working with the City Council, TxDOT, the Regional RMA, and the City of Van Alstyne, I will try to promote realignment and widening of FM 121 between VA and Gunter. This will provide a faster, safer roadway and should help draw additional traffic and promote growth in Gunter.
I am also working with many of these same groups and the NTTA on the start of the Grayson County Tollway Project. I am hopeful that as we move into 2012 that this project will be kicking off in the next few years, and will provide a new roadway form the Collin-Grayson county line to FM 121 just west of downtown. If accomplished, this new roadway will allow for new areas of development, both residential and commercial, in the City. This will also provide a new source of tax revenues for the City as growth and property values increase in this area.
Currently, the city is moving forward with seeking a replacement City Court Clerk, and will be retaining Dena as a consultant during the training and transition phase of the City Secretary office. The City Council is about to start evaluating the use and effectiveness of City owned property and City Departments as currently structured. The goal here is to maximize the effective use of space and resources for the Cities many departments, boards, and councils. The City Council, Dena Daniel and I are also working diligently on updating the City's financials and working with the City Auditor to provide an accurate accounting of the Cities finical status thru the end of fiscal 2010-2011.
The Gunter Economic Development Corporation is working with two companies on applications for the USDA Revolving Loan Program and is nearing completion of the first award. Additional funds are available if you have a business to expand or want to start a business in Gunter. The P&Z Board has approved several re-zoning's in the past quarter, and construction has begun on the first business from the rezoning process.
As always, feel free to contact me with any comments or concerns,
Mark C. Merrill