At Tuesday’s meeting, after a two-hour session closed to the public, the Huntsville City Council emerged to publicly begin a process that would allow it to acquire a significant amount of additional undeveloped land for the City.
As listed on the meeting agenda, the purpose of the closed session was to:
- discuss economic development negotiations for projects Zeta and Lego,
- to receive legal advice on the City’s proposal to buy the old City Hospital complex on 11th Street, and
- to discuss the purchase of real property for a new City police station and/or a fire station.
Leading up to the meeting no mention had been made by the City about any economic development projects that it might be considering. There was no mention of planned or ongoing negotiations. Nothing further on these projects was discussed publicly before or after the closed session. It remains unknown whether there may be a connection between them and the action that the City Council took later.
Walker County News Today has reported extensively on the attempts being made by the Walker County Hospital District to sell the old City Hospital complex on 11th Street and the City’s attempt to purchase the property.
When the Council reconvened in open session, Councilmember Rodriquez made a motion “to authorize staff and the Interim City Manager to obtain and sign an earnest money contract for property located at 231 State Highway 75 North, Huntsville Texas and for FM 2821 Parker W., A-37, Tract 66, approximately 50.6 acres, Huntsville, Texas and present to City Council for two readings.”
There was no discussion of this motion and it passed by a vote of 7-2 with Councilmembers Emmett and Davidhizar voting “No.”
According to the Walker County Appraisal District website, the property at 231 State Highway 75 North is a 3.915-acre tract currently owned by Maalouf Properties LLC and TC Messenger Advertising, both of Huntsville. The FM 2821 property is a 50.6-acre tract located at the intersection of Rosenwall Road. It is currently owned by PFHC LTD of Lufkin.
Council heard a report from the City Auditor on the City’s financial reporting. It also formally accepted the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for Fiscal year 2016-2017.
Council heard a report from the Boys & Girls Club of Walker County about their plan to build a new $2 Million facility for the use of Huntsville and Walker County youth. Council then approved a proposal for the City to enter into an agreement with the Boys & Girls Club to waive construction-related permit fees.
At the beginning of the meeting there were proclamations recognizing City employees Linda Pease as Citizen of the Year and Officer John French as First Responder of the year.