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Barnes takes seat on City Council

Runoff election canceled after candidate for Place 2 moves out of town

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light

The Waxahachie City Council resolved an electoral situation during Monday night’s regular meeting by accepting the withdrawal of Tiffany Duran from the Place 2 Council runoff and seating Doug Barnes as the winner.

Duran had received a plurality of votes — 6,150 total, or 43.76 percent — and the council had set a Dec. 8 runoff election between Duran and Barnes. But it was revealed that Duran had recently moved out of the city, making her ineligible for this office.

Barnes, who retired in January after 18 years as Waxahachie’s economic development director, was second in the voting with 4,038 votes, or 28.73 percent, and Patrick Souter was third with 3,865 votes, or 27.50 percent.

Despite no candidate receiving a majority vote, the council voted 4-0 to cancel the runoff and administered the oath of office to Barnes, who took his seat.

“I’m truly looking forward to being a part of the council,” said Barnes at the end of Monday’s meeting. “The goals we have had in mind and what the council has done the last number of years is to help our citizens have a better quality of life and to create an atmosphere here in Waxahachie where our citizens can make a living and also live. It would be a pleasure of mine to be a part of this.”

Mayor David Hill and Mayor Pro Tem Mary Lou Shipley were re-nominated and re-elected to their respective executive positions as the council reorganized. These two offices are traditionally chosen from among the five councilmembers.

The council had previously canvassed and accepted the votes in a special meeting last Thursday, and incumbents Hill and Olson were sworn in to new terms at that time.

City voters last November approved a referendum that changes the method of electing City Council members to specific places rather than at-large seats. This election was the first under the new format.

Other items

• A request by Nutrenare-AG Inc. at 4740 North Interstate 35E was approved for a 5-year, 50-percent tax abatement agreement with the city in support of a new building with improvements valued at an estimated $5.1 million. The amount of tax to be received and abated will both total about $77,651 over five years. The abatement was approved 4-1, with Olson voting against both the ordinance establishing a tax reinvestment zone and the resolution authorizing the abatement agreement.

• A similar 5-year, 50-percent tax abatement for Timco Logistics Systems, Inc. at 197 Ovilla Road for property improvements estimated at $6.95 million was also approved by a 4-1 vote, with Olson again voting against two times. The amount of the tax received and abated will be about $119,355 each over the 5-year period.

• A third tax abatement agreement, for Kinro Texas, Inc. at 101 Mushroom Road for 60 percent over seven years in support of improvements worth an estimated $18 million, was approved unanimously. The city will receive $286,372 in tax revenues and will abate about $429,558 over the 7-year span of the agreement.

• The consent agenda consisted of approval of previous minutes; an interlocal agreement with Ellis County for maintenance of roads and bridges; approval of a Waxahachie Community Development Corporation expenditure for synthetic turf improvements for three softball infields at Waxahachie Sports Complex; an agreement with TimeClock Plus for a new time clock system; and approval of four upcoming events in the city, including SAGU’s annual 5K Turkey Trot fundraiser to be held Thursday.

• Mayor Hill presented a proclamation declaring this Saturday, Nov. 21 as Testicular Cancer Awareness Day in the city.

• A specific-use permit for family home use within a single-family residential zoning district at 137 Valley Ranch Drive was approved 4-0, with Olson abstaining because she lives nearby. Also approved were specific-use permits for Waxahachie Golf Club for a private country club which will permit alcohol sales; for a convenience store at 211 Ennis Street, Suite A; for an auto parts store at 2980 N. Highway 77; and for an accessory building at 103 Poplar Street.

• A replat of a 0.425-acre property into two lots along Ferris Avenue was approved 4-1, with Barnes voting against. The Planning & Zoning Commission had recommended denial because the second lot would not be facing a public right-of-way and an existing structure on that lot does not meet setback requirements.

• An interlocal agreement with the Southern Regional Response Group for handling major law enforcement situations was approved. Other cities that participate in the group are Midlothian, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Glenn Heights and Highland Park.

• The council approved professional service agreements with Architexas for architectural services and Vidaurri Management Group for project management services for the City Hall Annex project. The expense for both agreements was previously budgeted for about $1.68 million.