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Bandera council reinstitutes in-person meetings

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Bandera City Council, after a six-month break from live, in-person meetings with the public, will open its doors to public interaction again on Thursday, Oct. 15, but at the recreation hall at Mansfield Park rather than the municipal building on Main Street in Bandera.

Agendas posted last week show that both the city’s Board of Adjustment, which is comprised of the same members as City Council, and City Council will hold in-person meetings at the recreation hall on Thursday. The board of adjustment will meet at 5:30 p.m., and council will meet at 6 p.m.

Council also will hold a public hearing on Thursday at 7 p.m. on a grant application for a park project from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Texas Recreation and Parks Account Program that will be available only on the Zoom meeting app, like all the meetings of council and other city bodies have been since mid-April.

Bandera Mayor Suzanne Schauman said several people had requested that council return to open meetings with public interaction, and the number of active COVID-19 cases have been low in the county in recent weeks, so officials decided it was time to reopen meetings to the public.

The mayor said the Texas Municipal League advised the city that in-person meetings were allowable again under the governor’s executive order that outlines restrictions that are in place to limit the spread of the deadly virus.

Schauman said she believes the meeting will be safe since the recreation hall is big enough to keep everyone adequately separated from each other in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols and other safeguards will be implemented.

She said she hopes future meetings of council and other city boards will remain open, though at a different location a little closer to town.

The recreation hall is in Mansfield Park at 2886 Highway 16 North and is between the rodeo arena and the ag showbarn.

Included in the council agenda on Thursday is discussion of a complaint filed by the city secretary against Councilman Jerry Russe for code violations associated with the conduct of city officials and a positive workplace environment and consideration of revisions in the city’s noise ordinance.

Visitors to be heard will also be on the agenda after a lengthy absence. Members of the public who want to comment will be given up three minutes to address issues of concern.

While both the council meeting and the Board of Adjustment meeting will be open to the public, they also will continue to be available for viewing via the Zoom app.