Marble Falls proclaims Child Abuse Prevention month

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Mayor John Packer, right, proclaims April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month at the Tuesday, April 3, meeting of the Marble Falls City Council. Supporting the effort are, from left, Caroline Ragsdill president of the Burnet Child Welfare Board (BCWF); Cindi Ashford-Fry, development coordinator for the Hill Country Child Advocacy Center, and, also from the BCWF, Marsha Neel, Coleen Gregg and Jan Graves.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The City of Marble Falls recognized April as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month through a formal proclamation by mayor John Packer at the Tuesday, April 3, meeting of the Marble Falls City Council.

Introducing volunteers of the Burnet County Child Welfare Board who were present and Cindi Ashford-Fry, development coordinator of the Hill Country Child Advocacy Center, Packer reaffirmed the city's commitment to their work and that of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for the Highland Lakes and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

“Through a national effort, Marble Falls community members are encouraged to join together to raise awareness for those children fallen victim to abuse and neglect throughout the month of April,” he proclaimed.

In a first reading of the ordinance to amend the 2017/2018, finance director Margie Cardenes saved the bottom line for last. She detailed expenditures and revenue increases in individual funds have led the general fund balance to grow by almost $400,000 more than expected in the current budget year. A second reading is set for the next council meeting on April 17.

The council followed the recommendation of the Planning & Zoning Commission to approve a conditional use permit for the single-family residential use of a 7,000-foot property at 905 Avenue H, requested by by Ray Cardenes.

Valerie Kreger, director of development services, explained that the property lies in the General Commercial (C-3) District in which Cardenes' business, Hill Country Office Solutions, and nearby Canyon Cleaners are located. A small building, constructed and used for a residence from 1978-2004, was used for miscellaneous storage by the Marble Falls Church of Christ from 2007-2016.

“Although the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use designation for this property, as well as surrounding properties, is Corridor Commercial, much of the property in this general area remains residential as, this area continues to transition to nonresidential uses,” said Kreger. “Due to the ownership of the adjacent business and residential structure nearing completion on Avenue G, the Single-Family Residential land use... does not appear to pose any unfavorable impacts on nearby uses.”

FiestaJam will have a boost in city support for at least a year, following council action to allow a 2019 $15,000 stipend to the music event established to support programs for Harmony School of Creative Arts and programs in the arts of the Marble Falls Independent School District.

The money is to be allocated from the Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund and came with the recommendation of the Hotel Motel Tax Advisory Committee.

FiestaJam brought Jimmie Vaughan to Marble Falls for their fourth annual event in 2017 and city manager Mike Hodge told the council they wanted to seek an even bigger name for the next October music festival.

“To pursue this level of talent will require money now,” he said.

Council member Dee Haddock said he was familiar with the “big name” strategy, which has worked well for Lago Vista festivals, and Packer expressed support for FiestaJam and even for considering help for the fledgling Lone Star Luau. Although, the allocation passed unanimously, two council members had questions. Craig Magerkurth wanted assurance the money would come only from the HOT fund and Dave Rhodes strongly urged a financial plan for FiestaJam to become self-sustaining.

“I don't want us to be in the position of running this 10 years out,” he said.

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