Prosper Town Council discusses budget, ballot items at meeting

Kate Pezzulli,
The Prosper Press
Mayor Ray Smith, right, presents a Unity Table Proclamation to Matt Anderson, pastor at One Community Church, during the Aug. 11 Prosper Town Council meeting.

The Aug.11 Prosper Town Council meeting started with two special presentations, including a Unity Table proclamation and recognition of the bond committee.

The Unity Table proclamation was presented to Matt Anderson, pastor at One Community Church, for the June 4 meeting between approximately 1,000 citizens and 150 Collin County churches. It brought together people from different backgrounds to advocate for racial justice and unity.

The proclamation states, “Unity Table is a place to gather together where questions can be asked, insights can be gained, perspectives can be broadened, and friendships can be forged.”

Prosper Mayor Ray Smith declared Aug. 29-30, 2020 as Unity Table Weekend and encouraged the residents of the town to share a meal with someone different from them and celebrate what unities them.

The council also recognized the bond committee for its dedication and service to the community.

Council members then moved on to items 3-12 on the consent agenda, which included the June financial report, the quarterly investment report, 2020-2021 proposed budget and tax rate, and a zoning ordinance amendment.

Items 3-9 were passed without discussion.

Item 10, which was related to the Downtown Monument Project, was opposed by Councilman Marcus Ray, who cited the need for input from the downtown visionary group.

“It may be good to have their input as it will feed into our downtown district,” Ray said.

The item ended up passing and the council moved to items 13-20 on the regular agenda.

Item 13 centered around modifying the residential development standards of Windsong Ranch, which would allow for developer Shaddock Caldwell to have more freedom of design with materials, roofing, windows and building encroachment regulations.

Generally, it would allow for a wider range of design aesthetics being built in the development.

After seeing some pictures of possible home designs, Council Member Jason Dixon asked specifically about the fire safety of the cedar shingles that were brought up as a possible design element for the new houses.

Safety measures were discussed, such as using a fire retardant on the shingles to make them safer.

Prosper Fire Chief Stuart Blasingame commented over Zoom, saying, “Most fire chiefs, when they hear wood shingles, cringe.” He added that fire retardant chemicals that may be used will deteriorate over time.

There was also some input from the public about the overall look of the new home styles.

Doug Charles, who was identified a local homeowner, questioned whether the homes that Shaddock Caldwell is building fit within the neighborhood.

“Not questioning the quality of the product or even the look of the product. I’m just questioning does it really fit our subdivision,” Charles said.

The item eventually passed with the caveat that before final consideration by the council, the applicant would meet with the fire chief in order to propose appropriate standards for decorative wood elements.

Items 14 and 15 dealt with details concerning the upcoming election on Nov. 3, including language regarding the bond election. Both items passed.

Item 16 seemed to be the item of the night, as it was regarding the legalization of the sale of all alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption and legalization of the sale of mixed beverages by beverage certificate holders.

This vote came about from a petition that started earlier this year wanting to change the alcohol laws. The group petitioning did get the required number of signatures, so the changes they are seeking will be on the ballot this November.

Items 17 and 18 were presented by Finance Director Betty Pamplin and included both the proposed budget and proposed property tax rate for 2020-21.

The budget item passed, as did the property tax item, which was proposed to remain the same at $0.52 per $100 in valuation.

Item 19 concerned the widening of Prosper Trail from two lanes to four lanes between Coit and Custer Roads.

The contractor bid of $5,236,331.05, from Mario Sinacola & Sons Excavating, Inc., came in around $1 million less than the estimate and should take about 330 days to complete.

Item 20 was a discussion about utilizing CARES Act funds to remodel the Town Hall building in order to facilitate social distancing, as well as to purchase a modular building for the Public Works department.

Robyn Battle, executive director of community services, explained the “COVID-19 public health emergency has caused the town to look at new ways to create social distance between employees in order to provide a safer work environment.

“This is typically accomplished through the use of physical barriers such as dividers or partitions or by increasing the physical distance between employees,” Battle said.

The discussion ended without a vote for Item 20 and the council adjourned into executive session.