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Review completed for city administrator

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City Administrator J. Horry drew criticism during a performance evaluation before the Bandera City Council on Thursday, Feb. 6, but came through the review without facing discipline and was praised by some city officials.

Bandera City Marshal Will Dietrich said Horry has been the best manager he has worked with in his seven years as marshal.

Councilman Jerry Russe said the time he has spent talking to the administrator since being elected convinced him he was doing “a great job,” and Mayor Suzanne Schauman also said she felt he had performed well, though she encouraged the administrator to take strides to communicate better so she and council are more aware of the issues that are being addressed.

Horry, who has been the city administrator for about a year-and-a-half, was the focus of an employment review that could have been held in closed session at the end of the Feb. 6 council meeting but instead was held in the open at Horry’s request.

It was a followup on a review council had held on Horry’s performance last year, and it showed that not all the concerns about city operations had been adequately addressed.

Much of the concern had to do with the operation of the code enforcement department and whether code demands were being applied equally to projects and potential violations across the city.

Councilwoman Lynn Palmer asked why some residents who piled household debris and other oversized products on the curb were getting breaks from being red tagged and why abandoned buildings with junk piling up in the yards were not being properly addressed.

Councilwoman Rebeca Gibson wanted to see if the city was taking the action that had requested to make residents and businesses aware of the new outdoor lighting requirements that help protect the area’s night skies from light incursions.

Horry said the outdoor lighting notifications had been sent out and that other issues raised by council would be addressed.

Earlier in the meeting, council debated whether to extend the 60-day moratorium on spending decisions by the Bandera Economic Development Corp. on new incentives and decided against an extension.

The moratorium was imposed by council on Dec. 10 after council members questioned the rules that governed the allocations being made by the EDC to upgrade businesses in Bandera and whether some businesses had benefited too much from the financial assistance, which comes from the portion of the city’s sales tax proceeds available to the EDC.

The EDC is working on changes to its policies and procedures to incorporate some of the revisions sought by council and has made budgetary changes to make it easier for council to follow the spending it has approved.

A motion was made to extend the moratorium by another 60 days, but it received only two votes, from Palmer and Russe, meaning the proposition failed. Without an extension, the moratorium on spending ended on Monday, Feb. 10.

Council on Thursday also agreed to name Jerad Wilcox to an opening on the board of the Bandera Planning & Zoning Commission. Wilcox owns fourEight Plaques and Customs in Bandera, a laser engraving firm. He is interested in helping the city implement improvements under its master plan.