Cleburne City Council members tabled a vote on usage fees for Market Square on Tuesday to discuss the matter in workshop.
Council members wanted time to discuss and study the proposed fees before voting on them. They expect to vote on the proposals during the July 9 meeting.
The rules, as proposed, are to set up and sell at no cost or at a cost of $10 per day if they desire a spot under the square’s covered area or access to water and electricity.
Unlike in the past, vendors, agricultural and other, will not be allowed to keep their booths on site for multiple days and must break down and remove them each night with the exception of certain two-day events such as Springfest.
Agricultural products will be defined broadly to include such items as produce, hay and firewood, but the sale of animals is prohibited.
The daily fee for vendors peddling non-agricultural products ranges from $10 to $50 per day.
Cleburne Fire Chief Clint Ishmael, who presented the proposals, said vendors would be required to sell new, not used, merchandise to ensure the square does not become a flea market site.
Additional proposals addressed the fee structure for concerts and events. Councilman Bob Kelly suggested, and his fellow council members agreed, that such fees should be decreased or waived for 501(c)3 nonprofit groups wishing to use the square.
Usage will also be free for Johnson County, Cleburne and other county cities.
Proposals also call for banning smoking and alcohol consumption on the square with an exception for special events such as wine tastings.
Johnson County Commissioner Rick Bailey attended the meeting and said the proposals roughly fit those put forth by the commissioners court.
Market Square, which remains owned by Johnson County, sits in downtown Cleburne. County officials recently renovated the square with hopes of attracting increased usage by residents and tourists and to pull more events into the area.
Johnson County and Cleburne recently entered an agreement whereby Cleburne will handle day-to-day operations of the square, the thought being that the city is better equipped to handle event bookings, issue permits and maintain the area.
Work on the square is complete, Bailey said, save for a few finishing touches such as landscaping and the installation of personalized bricks.
A summer concert series kicks off July 27 with Radney Foster. Shenandoah performs Aug. 17.
City Manager Rick Holden said Cleburne has been inundated with mosquito calls. Holden said there are no plans to spray for mosquitoes, for now.
“In previous years we’ve had a light program concentrating more on public education and getting rid of standing water,” Ishmael said. “With the rise of West Nile Virus cases in recent years that’s going to have to change somewhat. Spraying is not the first stage for us, and we’re not there yet.”
For now the city’s focus remains on public education through educational posters and West Nile Virus information on the city website.
City officials will also continue to monitor stagnate swimming pools on foreclosed properties, storm drains, creeks, retention ponds and other areas of standing water and treat them as needed.
Several mosquito traps on order should arrive next month and be placed throughout the city to trap and test mosquitoes for West Nile Virus.
Increased inspection is planned from July through November with manual spraying of high density areas planned.
If necessary, the city will institute spraying of confirmed areas via a spray rig truck. They will publish notice of such spraying on the website and in the Times-Review at least 48 hours beforehand.
The drawback of spraying, Holden and Ishmael said, is that it only kills the adult mosquitoes flying through the mist at the time of the spray. The more effective method, both said, is to treat water and breeding areas, which kills the eggs.
Sign variance proposed
City Engineer Courtney Coates discussed proposed changes to the city’s sign variance ordinance during workshop. Council members earlier this month voted down a proposal to remove the variance clause from the sign ordinance.
Several council members argued that some mechanism should remain for council members to approve or deny requests for non-conforming signs on a case-by-case basis.
The new ordinance as proposed allows for that, but makes the process of receiving a variance “quite restrictive and tough to get” by design, Coates said.
Council members are expected to vote on the proposed ordinance during a future meeting.
In other news:
zx Council members voted to hire the CCLA Group to construct a multi-use trail system in Byron Stewart Park at a cost not to exceed $273,980. A grant from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department funds the project, but requires a $50,000 city match.
zx Council members appointed Beth Swatzell and reappointed Kathleen Mims to the Cleburne Building and Standards Commission.
zx Mayor Scott Cain commended Finance Director Kim Galvin and her staff who recently received a Certificate of Recognition for Budget Preparation from the Government Finance Officer’s Association of the United States and Canada.