City Manager fired; Bond referendum considered

Busy summer so far for Rosenberg City Council

By Betsy Dolan 

As the dog days of summer near, several issues are heating up the agenda for the Rosenberg City Council.

On July 22, the City Council voted four to three to fire City Manager Jack Hamlett. Council members are being tight lipped as to why they voted to terminate Hamlett’s contract, citing privacy over personnel matters.

After the 2 1/2 hour executive session which was not open to the public, newly elected council members Jimmy Pena, Susan Euton and Susan Bolf, along with veteran member Cynthia McConathy voted for the termination of Hamlett.

Mayor Vincent Morales, and council members William Benton and Dwayne Grigar voted against.

Rosenberg Police Chief Robert Garcia was the unanimous choice as Interim City Manager, a role Garcia has held two other times.

The City of Rosenberg will begin the search for a new City Manager immediately.

Hamlett, who was not at the meeting, earns $130,000 and will receive four months of severance pay. Hamlett had been employed by the City since February 2006 after being the City Manager in Seguin for 10 years.

Council to consider November bond referendum

The Rosenberg City Council will be deciding whether to move forward with a November bond election that would include 10 projects at a cost of $12.5 million dollars.

The plan, compiled by a City Task Force, calls for the measure to be divided into four propositions.

• Proposition 1, which would cost $8.6 million, includes various road projects and downtown sidewalks.

• The $2.2 million dollar Proposition 2 plan includes a new baseball field, a nature center at Seabourne Creek Park and improvements to community parks.

• Proposition 3 will cost $900,00 and will be used to install additional security cameras around the city, updating dispatcher software and improved communication for the fire department.

• Proposition 4 will spend $850,000 to implement 10 railroad quiet zones. Quieter wayside horns will be installed which will reduce noise at railroad crossings.

Rosenberg’s Finance Director, Joyce Vasut said paying for the projects could be managed without an increase in the current debt rate. “That means no increase in property taxes to pay back the $12 million for this bond election,” she said.

One-way streets–good idea or bad idea?

The Rosenberg City Council continues to have discussions with the Texas Department of Transportation about the so-called One-Way Pairs project which would involve turning Avenue H and Avenue I into one-way streets as a way to reduce traffic congestion.

TxDOT held a workshop for the City Council on the issue July 23

The One-Way Pairs project is something TxDOT has supported for several years. The Rosenberg City Council passed resolutions in favor of the measure in 2005 and 2007. Complex issues like establishing rights-of-way, funding and concerns about public support have delayed the plan.

Rosenberg’s City Attorney, Lora Lenzsch said the city charter prevents the measure from being put to a council vote. One option for the council is to pass a resolution that eliminates the two previous resolutions in the hopes of eventually putting the issue to a public vote.

TxDOT can still move forward with the project because they have the rights-of-way on Avenue H and I. Mayor Vincent Morales said he is in talks with TxDOT to set up a meeting to get public feedback.

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