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Wharton
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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City of Wharton conducts first business of 2022

P.A.C.E. Program

Following a public hearing, the Wharton City Council approved a Property Assessed Clean Energy program on Monday, providing Wharton property owners access to financing tools for energy-saving improvements.

Wharton property owners now have access to longterm financing of improvements to commercial, industrial and large multi-family residential property.

This program, facilitated by the non-profit Texas PACE Authority, uses private capital to finance eligible projects by placing a voluntary senior lien on the property for the amount of the improvements.

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City Manager Joseph Pace further explained the program for meeting attendees.

“Just as a brief synopsis for everybody in here tonight… If you have an older building, a lot of times when people want to redo that building, the upfront cost of putting a new air conditioner in, new fire wall, or things like that, are very high on the front end,” Pace said. 

“So, (this program) allows it to be a longterm loan; You’ll have a longer time to pay that front end cost off. It is another economic tool that the city has in its pocket.”

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In light spirit, Pace reminded everyone though the program’s acronym resembles his last name, he has no personal ties to it.

Operation Lone Star

In Oct. 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that his Public Safety Office (PSO) will award more than $36.4 million in grant funding for law enforcement and prosecution activities in direct support of Operation Lone Star (OLS).

Grant funds will assist local law enforcement, prosecutors, jail administrators, medical examiners, and court administration officials in the execution of coordinated border security operations.

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The Wharton Police Department submitted an application when the program was announced, and was awarded funds in the amount of $180,176.26.

Seeking council approval, Patrol Investigation Sergeant Jeremy Eder, said, “The period of the grant runs from September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2023.”

Eder also explained to council that this would be a new criminal interdiction officer for the department, and grant funds would cover salary and equipment.

Council approved WPD’s request and will begin filling the position.

Dog Park Fundraising

The City of Wharton Beautification Commission requested Council’s authorization to establish a dog park in an existing city park, and to allow the commission to conduct fundraising efforts. 

Now approved, the commission can implement and fundraise, as well as gather estimates for the establishment of the dog park.

Mockingbird Park and Mayfair Park are being explored for the k-9 playground. Both offer close proximity to Wharton’s Santa Fe Trail.

Below is a quote gathered by the commission to project potential costs associated with building a dog park.

City Emergency Management Coordinator

A familiar face was confirmed by Wharton City Council on Monday.

Lt. Ben Guanajuato with the Wharton Police Department was unanimously confirmed as the City of Wharton Office of Emergency Management Coordinator.

Pace appointed Guanajuato as coordinator on Dec. 20, 2021; however, council confirmation is required for the state.

Guanajuato has served the Wharton Police Department for nearly 28 years, and his commission will continue to be held by the department.

Congrats, Ben!

Council also approved Guanajuato’s request to extend the Emergency Declaration for Public Health Emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to July 31, 2022.

Hazard Mitigation Plan

Council approved a county-wide Hazard Mitigation Plan prepared by Scheme Consulting in coordination with Wharton County, the City of El Campo, the City of East Bernard, and the City of Wharton. 

Hazard mitigation is the use of long- and short-term strategies to reduce or alleviate the loss of life, personal injury, and property damage that can result from a disaster.

Other items discussed and approved:

  • Request from Hope Village, Inc., for permission to have vendors in a city park for an event being held on January 22, 2022
  • A resolution of the Wharton City Council accepting the award of the Office of the Governor’s Grant for Operation Lone Star for the Wharton Police Department and authorizing the Mayor of the City of Wharton to execute all documents related to said grant.
  • An ordinance amending the City of Wharton Code of Ordinances, Article 1 Incorporation; Form of Government; Corporate and General Powers. 
  • An ordinance approving an amendment to the City of Wharton, Texas, Budget for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year. 
  • City of Wharton Personnel Policy Updates: 
  • A resolution by the City Council of the City of Wharton, Texas implementing the requirements of HB 2073 and Chapter 180, Local Government Code establishing a paid quarantine leave policy for City of Wharton’s peace officers, emergency medical technicians and/or paid firefighters; providing a severability clause and establishing an effective date. 
  • A resolution by the City Council of the City of Wharton, Texas amending the City’s personnel policy – leave time – to implement the requirements of SB 1359 and amendments section 614.015, Local Government Code, establishing a Mental Health Leave Policy for City of Wharton police officers; providing a severability clause and establishing an effective date. 
  • Pay Request No. 2 from E-Contractors for the Wharton Well and Water Plant Contract No. 1 – General Construction.
  • Appointments and Resignations to the City of Wharton Boards, Commissions and Committees.
  • City Council Boards, Commissions and Committee Reports: 
    • A. Wharton Economic Development Corporation meetings held November 15, 2021, November 30, 2021 and December 9, 2021.
    • B. Beautification Commission meeting held December 8, 2021.

To view meeting minutes, agendas and packet, visit CityofWharton.com.

Jessica Hartmanhttps://www.thecountygin.com
Jessica Hartman is the publisher of The County Gin and a realistic dreamer with creative expression. She can be reached at jessica@thecountygin.com or (979) 533-0122, but careful — she's a talker.

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