Residents Plead with City Council to Approve Capital Improvement Plan
SAN ANGELO, TX – Tuesday morning, the city council reconvened for its first March meeting, and the city council chamber filled to the brim with residents residing in Butler Farms and the immediate surrounding areas. The residents in attendance came forward to ask for support in the City's capital improvement project that would reconstruct the roads at Foster Road and River Valley Ln.
Tuesday’s agenda also officially approved the resignation of former SMD1 City Councilman Bill Richardson. The application period for those interested in running for the seat opened yesterday. Council also further voted to reject an appeal made to the construction of a new telecommunication pole from being built between South Bell and Fulton Streets.
Overall, the City Council chambers at the McNease Convention Center has seven rows of chairs each containing about 10 seats. Tuesday, four of those rows were filled with residents of Butler Farms. During the meeting's public comment section, about 20 residents came forward and pleaded with council members to approve a capital improvement plan project that would aid in the flooding that occurs after normal to heavy rainfall at the crossing of Foster Road and River Valley Lane. After last week’s eventful Capital Improvement Plan Forum hosted by Councilman Lane Carter, Budget Manager Morgan Chegwidden, and Assistant City Manager Michael Dane, many of the attendees came to Tuesday's council meeting as well.
Tom Hudgens, who came forward during the meeting on behalf of the Butler Farms Home Owner Association, began his statements by asking attendees from Butler Farms to stand and show the city council how many residents were asking for approval of the Foster Road capital improvement project. The residents in all four back rows stood up.
Hudgens added, “There’s some 140 homes, 500 residents [in Butler Ranch] who have the inability to get in and out; the access for emergency services [is poor], and it is crucial that we fix this.”
One attendee, a current physician at Shannon Medical Center, explained, “I have been through five floods. These are not epic rains; these were normal rains for West Texas, and they flooded our lanes, our neighborhood, and Foster Road has been impassable for more than one hour on three occasions.”
As a physician, the resident further expressed his frustration about the struggle he has to go through to get to the Emergency Room after a rain storm.
Furthermore, current candidate for Mayor Brenda Gunther was also in attendance to show her support for the residents of Butler Farms.
In a short statement, Gunther explained, “I am here in support of a couple issues with the capital improvement plan. I attended two [capital improvement forums] in the last month, and, up until then, I was not aware of the tremendous amount of flooding that goes on in the city … I sure hope our homeowners don’t have to constantly panic when we forecast rain. I ask for [council’s] support in helping resolve these flooding issues, and Foster Rd. seems to be a major issue at this point and time.”
Thereafter, 14 other residents came to the podium to ask for the council’s approval. Many cited safety concerns, driving hazards, and the difficulties for first responders to access their neighborhood. Many also brought to the council’s attention the issue of stagnant water that forms after rain storms and the potential threat of mosquitoes and Zika virus infiltrating their neighborhood come 2017's summer months.
The council members said they will take into consideration all of the concerns voiced at Tuesday's meeting as they begin to approve or deny Capital Investment Plans in the near future.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for March 21 at 8:30 a.m. in the McNease Convention Center. As always, all meetings are free and open to the public. For more on the Capital Improvement Plan, critiques and other topics discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, please visit the city’s YouTube page.