By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
BUDA – It appears the City of Buda’s search for a new city manager is all but over.
Chances are, the Buda City Council will approve a contract tonight with Kenneth Williams, the city manager of Diboll.
Interim City Manager Sarah Mangham said Tuesday afternoon that the city and Williams have agreed to terms on a contract. The city initially offered a salary of $106,000.
If the city council approves the deal tonight, Williams would likely begin in September, just in time for the city to complete a difficult budget process that’s likely to result in a property tax rate increase.
Buda previously offered the job to Jennifer Tubbs, the township manager of Watertown, MI, but the two sides couldn’t agree to terms.
Buda has searched for a city manager since February, when Robert Camareno left to take a job in his home town of New Braunfels.
In other matters, the Buda council will continue to address budget and expenditures at tonight’s meeting, while also looking at staff discipline and a re-organization of the library board.
Last week, Interim City Manager Sarah Mangham presented a preliminary budget with $1.1 million in operations cuts and a 6.3-cents property tax rate increase to offset a $1.1 million decline in revenues and an additional $800,000 in debt service for the coming year. The council instructed Mangham to come back this week with more budget cuts to minimize a tax increase.
In an attachment to this week’s council agenda, Mangham said the staff has identified more than $124,537 in anticipated expenditures for the present year that can be eliminated. The money would be returned to the city’s fund balance, which would thereby increase to just more than $3 million.
The consent agenda includes a measure to change the Buda Library Board to a commission with a requirement that a majority of the seven-member commission reside within the Buda city limits. However, present members who don’t live within the city limits would be allowed to complete their terms.
The council also will consider including a “Garrity warning” in its employee handbook concerning investigations of employee misconduct. A Supreme Court decision, Garrity vs. New Jersey, said information provided to an employer under threat of dismissal for refusing to cooperate with an investigation is not admissible in criminal court for use against that employee. However, an employer can take action against an employee for refusing to cooperate with such an internal investigation.
In other words, the warning would encourage employees to cooperate, because the information can’t be used against them in criminal court, but refusal to cooperate with the investigation can be used against them by the employer.
The council will enter executive session on two matters. In one case, the council will consider negotiations with a business prospect for the city. In the other case, the council will consider pending litigation against the city by Barbara Pecuch, who claims the city has encroached on her property in its development of the Stagecoach Park on North Main Street.