JEFFERSON — Jefferson city council members on Tuesday had to postpone plans to announce a new police chief from within the city’s police department as the needed quorum requirement to conduct the meeting and subsequent vote was not met.
The meeting has now been moved to next Tuesday to name the city’s next police chief.
The city’s most recent police chief Jason Carroll, resigned last month after community members voiced complaints over some of his social media posts which he apologized for and called insensitive. Carroll initially pledged to take sensitivity training but later resigned his post amid ongoing outrage from community members.
Carroll, a former Jefferson police officer recently promoted to police chief himself, replaced retiring police chief Gary Amburn who left the department at the end of 2019.
Though the council did not meet quorum requirements on Tuesday, they were able to conduct a budget workshop.
“I need every council member to study the budget very well before we come back to meet next week,” Jefferson Interim City Mayor Victor Perot said. “In talking to (Doris Hines City Secretary) our revenue, compared to where it was this time last year, is a little over $400,000 short.”
Perot said the city’s budget has been affected by rain and COVID-19 and the council is asking city departments to tighten up the proposed budget by about 10 percent before the next meeting.
“We still have three months after this month to see more income come before we see where we are,” Perot said.
The city has several upcoming events planned in the coming months that typically draw a high number of tourists and visitors to the city, generating sales tax revenue.
Council members approved the events at last week’s meeting, as long as they meet Gov. Greg Abbott’s guidelines for conducting gatherings during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The 18th Annual Diamond Don AHRMA Vintage National Motocross event at the Diamond Don RV Park and Event Center is set for Sept. 10-13, followed by the second annual Jefferson Antique Tractor Show Sept. 18-20.
Next up is the 2020 Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards set for Oct. 15-18 and finally the Halloween Festival set for Oct. 31.
Perot said the city is still planning to adopt about a $250,000 proposed deficit budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Perot said the city’s street repair program for next year is out and the city must continue to find ways to cut costs.
“We can’t have any capital expenditures where we can put that off until the next year,” Perot said. “We’re going to tighten our belt tremendously. We know we’re going to have large expenditures in election costs this year because we paid for May election ballots and then found out we couldn’t have it then so we’re close to double paying what we paid for just one election.”
Perot said the city and administrators will go line by line to see where cuts can be made.
“I’m begging you all to do your studying and see where we can cut expenditures,” he said.