Council OKs lease, real property from country club


Bay City Council approved changes to a new lease and conveyance of real property by the Bay City Country Club to the city of Bay City during Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

During last month’s city council meeting, council accepted the conveyance of real property by the Bay City County Club to the city of Bay City.

The Bay City Country Club desired to convey the fee title ownership of its land to the City. In exchange, they would like the City to lease it back to them for a term of 40 years.

Council member Bill Cornman questioned if the city would be liable for debt left by the country club if the business fails. City attorney Ann Marie Odefey said the city would not be liable for the debts left by the country club if that was to happen.

“We have made changes to the lease as it was approved at the last meeting,” said Odefey. “The new lease does contain a waiver about the sale of alcohol on the premises.”

Council also approved a city of Bay City public comment guide for its council meetings as well as acknowledged new House Bill 2840.

House Bill 2840 by Representative Terry Canales (D – Edinburg) was effective date of Sept. 1. The bill amends the Texas Open Meetings Act to provide that “a governmental body shall allow each member of the public who desires to address the body regarding an item on an agenda for an open meeting of the body to address the body regarding the item at the meeting before or during the body’s consideration of the item.”

Odefey informed council that as long as the public comments portion of a posted agenda is listed at the top of the agenda items, council can still control any input from residents on agenda items.

“You don’t have to let them talk during agenda item as long as public comments are at the top of the agenda,” Odefey said. “You can allow them if you chose to talk during the consent portion of the agenda but you don’t have to allow it. Because of new law, we want public comments listed at the top of the agenda that way you can take their input before you decide on the agenda items. You can listen to their point of view and if you want to come back to them when discussion is heard on agenda items you can chose to do that.”

Before the passage of the bill, the public had only the right to observe, rather than speak at, an open meeting of a governmental body.

A governmental body may adopt reasonable rules concerning the public’s right to speak at an open meeting. Id. § 551.007(c). The rules may include how long the person can address the governmental body on a given item. If the person addressing the governmental body needs a translator, the governmental body is required to allow at least twice the normal amount of time for the non-English speaker to address the body. Id. § 551.007(d).

The governmental body may decide to allow the public to ask questions about items not on the agenda. If the governmental body allows the public to ask questions about items not on the agenda, the governmental body can still apply reasonable rules regarding the number, frequency, and length of presentation, but it cannot discriminate against speakers. The governmental body will not be able to deliberate on any item that is not on the agenda.

Council also approved appointment of Joe Enoch to the Matagorda County Appraisal District Board of Directors.

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