Gonzales City Council voted unanimously to allow the Gonzales Convention and Visitors Bureau board to post a job opening for the recently-vacated tourism director position. The decision, made at the July 11 council meeting, effectively ensures the continuation of the position.
The position was vacated June 28 after then tourism director Clint Hille resigned to “take advantage of other career opportunities.” Hille had served as the first and only director since the position was created by the city in 2017.
Several members of the Gonzales Convention Visitors Bureau (GCVB) board, as well as, members of the Main Street Advisory Board spoke both in support of the continuation of the position and the expansion of it during the public comment section of the meeting.
“We can’t expect, going out into the real world, not to put the value on this position that it deserves,” GCVB board member Barbara Crozier said. “If we’re going to have the quality of staff that this community deserves because these catch-can efforts that we have had with volunteers, albeit well intentioned and hardworking, and part-time staff, don’t give this industry the attention that it needs to grow to what it can be for this community.”
Dawn O’Donnell, GCVB board president, mentioned that the tourism director position is funded by hotel occupancy tax (H.O.T.) funds, and thus “not a burden on the general funds of the City of Gonzales” in her endorsement for the continuation of the position.
“The tourism director position meets the criteria for salary to be drawn from H.O.T. funds, which is a restricted area and does not come from the general funds of the operations of the city,” O’Donnell said. “These restricted funds are intended for tourism development only and cannot be used anywhere. Our board reduced our advertising budget in order to provide the H.O.T. funds specifically for the tourism position.”
Former director Hille was the last person to speak on behalf of continuation of the position at the meeting. He echoed previous commenters by urging the city to not only continue the position, but also expand the scope and pay of it.
“I hope the council put greater value into this position, more specifically pay—a higher wage—to be able to attract the quality of person we would like to have in this position,” Hille said.
As of July 16, the opening has been posted to the city’s website and the Texas Municipal League careers board. Yearly salary on the posting is $50,000-60,000.
Other news from the meeting:
· Rene de la Garza, Gonzales County Emergency Services District 1 (ESD) board president, spoke during public comments in support of Rob Brown being appointed to the Main Street board.
· Dr. Commie Hisey, ESD board member, updated council during public comments on the ESD/Gonzales County Emergency Medical Services and Rescue merger. He ensured the city that the transition would be seamless.
· Texas Disposal Systems representative James Griffin gave a presentation to council regarding the disposal contract and additional services. Griffin pitched council on “value-added” services and plugged the Waste Wizard online tool which can be used by customers for information on service schedules and materials accepted by TDS. Griffin also noted that essentially anything non-hazardous, including small amount of brush, can be picked up by TDS.
· Six consent agenda items, which included the Lynn Theatre marquee and sign fix and Hurricane Harvey damaged wastewater line repair, were approved in one motion.
· Rob Brown and Meena Patel were appointed to the Gonzales Main Street Advisory Board.
· Temporary closure of certain city streets, use of city property and the sale and consumption of alcohol on city property for the Come and Take It Celebration were authorized. The festival is scheduled for October 4-6.
· The city ordinance on unsightly and unsanitary conditions on private premises was amended.
· Financial reports were received and accepted as is.
· City Manager Tim Patek updated council on drainage-area mowing happening around the city.
· No action was taken on any items from closed session. Those items included J.B. Wells litigation, competitive matters involving Lower Colorado River Authority and unopened city street negotiations.
· Council member Dan Blakemore was re-appointed mayor pro-tempore.
· City attorney T. Daniel Santee presented inconsistencies within the City of Gonzales Code of Ordinances regarding mobile, manufactured and modular homes to council. Santee said revisions for the inconsistencies should be finished and presented to council in the coming months.