GODLEY — Fearing a backlog of cases, the Godley City Council wants to move quickly to hire a replacement for longtime city attorney and municipal court prosecutor J.L. Phinney, who died Dec. 31.

The council on Thursday directed City Administrator Stephanie Hodges to begin contacting area attorneys who may be qualified for the position.

Municipal Court Judge Scotty Roberts said several trials have been continued until a new prosecutor is found. Roberts, judge since 1987, said he expects the continuations to create a backlog of cases. The city must notify the defendant or the defendant’s attorney about the delays, Roberts said.

Mayor Larry Richeson said the city needs an attorney, even on a temporary basis, to approve ordinances and resolutions.

Councilman David Wallis said he would like the next city attorney not to represent any cities close to Godley, saying competition among municipalities is increasing along with growth. At one time, Phinney represented several Johnson County cities.

In other action, the council:

F Adopted a portable sign fee schedule of $25 for 15 days five times a year. The signs have a 15-day limit with a maximum of 30 days at any time.

F Increased the rezoning application fee from $100 to $350 to cover the cost of legal advertising.

F Approved an increase of 5 cents per 1,000 gallons up to $3.25 of water used over the minimum amount of 2,650 gallons. The sewer bill will increase to $1.25 per thousand over the minimum of 1,800 gallons.

F Denied a building inspector request for an additional emergency exit for David’s Supermarket. The current building plan meets all city requirements.

F Took no action on a request from J-W Industries to purchase land on Railroad Street.

Also, Wallis suggested the city contact the University of Texas at Arlington Public Affairs Department to conduct a study for a comprehensive plan for the city.

The next council meeting is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 2.

Rob Fraser can be reached at 817-645-2441, ext. 2336, or rfraser@trcle.com

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