Friday, September 23, 2016

Stuff That Matters: A lot of stuff to know on Friday 23 Sept 16

Friends,

Fall is here and this weekend with the coming of a strong cold front, the weather will drop into the high 70's, low 80's.  Joining with the cooler weather, here are some other news:

1.  The latest from TXDoT on I-35 Construction:

The concrete pavement for the northbound mainlanes from Thomas Arnold to just south of the Salado Plaza overpass is nearing completion. The northbound frontage road south of Salado Plaza is ready for reinforcement steel to be placed and then the final concrete pavement will follow. The traffic pattern of the southbound frontage road to the north of FM 2484 is planned to be changed on Saturday (Sept 24th) and at that time the FM 2484 bridge will be opened to full width.  The resurfacing of Main Street has been completed with stripe work remaining.  

The current set of project information is shown below.  

As of September 23, 2016:
Days allowed (per contract)- 920
Contract Amount = $72,719,643.64
Days charged – 1,279
Time used – 139.0%

Liquidated Damages-  359 days
- Cost per day - $2,800
- Total cost to date - $1,005,200

Road User Costs – 359 days
- Cost per day - $6,000
- Total cost to date - $2,154,000

Per the August estimate (8/25/16):
June Estimate paid to contractor - $776,723.05 (minus Liquidated Damages and Road User Costs)
June Estimate total pay items - $1,018,673.05
Total Paid to Date - $62,645,356.34

2.  Our City Secretary, Mary Ann Ray will officially retire 30 September.  Christina Lee (Chrissy) will become the City Secretary by a unanimous vote of the Board Of Aldermen/Lady.   From having worked in the Village Office for over 3 years, she knows and understands the workings of the Village.  Lacking only 1 Math Course, she is completing her Associate Degree at Central Texas College. 

     Also leaving is Ashly Bingham.  When one calls the Village Office, she is the one who answers the telephone and answers questions or assists you with getting to the right person.  
      
We will miss Mary Ann and Ashly.  Thursday, 29 October, 6 P.M., Municipal Building, a farewell reception will be given for both in their honor. Everyone is cordially invited.

3.  Our many thanks to Kerry Phillips for helping Mary Ann this week.  With Chrissy and Ashly on vacation, she helped Mary Ann with the Village Office 2-3 hours a day Monday-Wednesday as a volunteer with no pay.  Now that Chrissy and Ashly are back, she has returned to her job as Outreach and Membership Coordinator at CTCOG.  

Chrissy will be learning Mary Ann's job in great detail as she prepares to officially become the Village Secretary 1 October.

4.  The Board of Aldermen/Lady voted unanimously to employ legal counsel to conduct the investigation into complaints against the Village Administrator.  Counsel will report to the Board of Aldermen/Lady on or before 6 October.  Until then,

“On advice of the Village Attorney: Officials and Employees of the Village of Salado will not comment on the ongoing investigation regarding the Village Administrator. When the investigation is over and a decision is made regarding the Village Administrator’s Contract, it will be communicated through official action of the Board of Aldermen in an open meeting.” 

5.  Calling all actors or want-to-be-actors!  Tryouts for Fright Night and Christmas Carol are this weekend.  Here is your invitation:

Hello All!!
 
Just a note to remind you that Fright Trail and Christmas Carol auditions are this weekend. Saturday or Sunday, Sept. 24 & 25.  Meet at Tablerock at 3:00 pm on either day. Please pass the word. 
 
Thank you!
Shannon Ashe
Christmas Carol Director - 2016

Visit with you tomorrow.  Have a good day.

VR/Skip Blancett, Mayor
 


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stuff that Matters: The Letters

Friends:

Peter Drucker wrote:  "The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said."

Read these letters:

Ortsgemeinde Dachsenhausen
- Ortsburgermeister -
MarktstraBe 6
56340 Dachsenhausen

Village of Salado
Mayor Skip Blancett
301 N. Stagecoach Rd
P.O. Box, TX 76571

Dear Mr. Mayor,

I am the mayor of a village in Germany near by the River Rhine-Valley and the city Koblenz which is a twin town of Austin.

We are located in a part oft the former Germany state Nassau.

In the 19th century a lot of people from this area emigrated to Texas.

Three years ago my daughter came to Salado and stayed for a year.  She lived in one of your families, went there to school, was part of the softball-rearm and found good friends.

This year she spends her summer summer holidays in your town.

May be that can be the begin of a friendship between our village Dachsenhausen and Salado?

I would be glad, if we could stay in contact.

Sincerely,

Mathias Schaefer

Note:  It is a worthy invitation and we will establish a friendship between Dachsenhausen and Salado.  If you would like to help in establishing that friendship, please let me know.

2.

Dear Mayor Blancett,

My sincere thanks to your Village for the very responsive and helpful assistance, my wife, Jeanaette, and I received in building ur home your beautiful community.  We were very early and graciously received. 

We are very ready to relocate to Salado because it has been our dream for six years since we both our lot on Salado Creek Place.

Thank you for your warm welcome, for your phone call, and for your readiness to help us in every way.

Best regards,

Carson Stephens

3.

Dear Mr. Blancett,

Every year thousands of children are abused, neglected or abandoned.  Many people decry the problem and express concern, but you have families, licensed by Lighthouse Family Network, a therapeutic child placement agency, in your community who have decided to do something about it.

A generous family has decided to open their hearts and their homes to hurting children and become foster parents.  This is a difficult task, at best, and one that will require the help and understanding of relatives, friends, and the community as a whole.

We want to let you know about the commitment and devotion that this family has to children so you can support and encourage them in their efforts.  They are worthy of recognition.

Sincerely,

Shannon Davis, MSSW
Foster Home Development
213 Mill Creek Drive, Suite 175 
Salado, Texas 76571-1164

Note:  The family's name will not be printed without their permission.

*************

These are a few letters received expressing appreciation for the people of Salado.  You are well respected around the county, state, nation, and world.  You are a memory-maker to those who visit and those who make their home here.  

VR/Skip Blancett, Mayor

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stuff that matters -- Tim Dumler

Friends,

One of my favorite books is 212 degrees, the extra degree by Sam Parker and Mac Anderson.  It stays on my desk at all time and when times get really hard, I read it with total focus.

The story of Tim Dumler is one that I want to share with you.

"In 1991, when Successories hired Tim Dumler as a corporate account manager; he shared his goal of becoming number in the company with his manager, Neil Sexton.  But Neil, quiet frankly, had serious doubts that Tim could make it through the first month, much less be number one.

Neil's first two interviews with Tim were conducted over the phone, and he passed those with flying colors.  But when Neil met Tim for the first time, he was shocked when Tim told him he was legally blind.  He began to lose his sight when he was in the third grade from a rare disease called macular degeneration.  Tim acknowledged he world have problems entering orders into the computers, but he had a possible solution.  He told Neil about a machine that he could hook up to magnify the letters on the screen to two inches high.  Tim was willing to buy it if could have the job.

After the conversation, Neil came to my office and explained the situation.  I said, "Neil, let's give him a chance."

We grossly underestimated Tim's passion and determination.  Even though it took him much longer to enter the orders, Tim made it work.  He came in early.  He worked late.  Whatever it took, he did it.

In 1991, Tim's first year; he was number one out of ten experienced corporate sales reps, with over $500,000 in sales.  In 1994, he was number one again with $700,000, and again in 1997 with $950,000 in sales.  His customers loved him because when you can't see you become a great listener. His peers loved him because of his caring, positive attitude.

I asked him one time, 'Tim, how do you stay so positive?'  He said, 'Mac, it's unfortunate that I am visually impaired, but I have to tell you that fighting through the adversity has made me a better person.  I have come to realize that I have a lot more than I don't have.  I love my family, my work, and the people I work with.  I've been blessed in many ways.' "

Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can, or think you can't . . . you're right."

We live in a great Village; there will always be things wrong or right; and we will not always agree; but we are Family and families stick together in challenging times.

Think about Tim, about yourself, and this great Village in which we live.

We have been blessed in many ways.

But you know that . . . I do not need to remind you.    

VR/Skip Blancett

Monday, September 19, 2016

Stuff that Matters -- Words of Meaning

Friends,

Below is real stuff that matters.  

The “Proof is in the Pudding” means to fully test something you need to experience it yourself.  Instead of me telling you how great last week was, let us see what some Village citizens experienced and wrote:

On Keep Salado Beautiful:

“I estimate that we had 60 - 70 people working in the Village on the cleanup yesterday and there will be another 30 or more during the week at the other Adopt A Spot and Pocket Garden locations.
Our Village is certainly looking better thanks to the efforts of so many and TxDOT has done a beautiful job improving Main Street.”  Susan Terry

On the Chocolate and Wine event:

I have taken part in the Chocolate and Wine event ever since Debbie/ Tourism created this event. I was excited to see it was sold out and everyone (200) that bought a passport came through my gallery. The comments were so positive, and I met folks from San Antonio, Dallas and many other cities that were here for the first time. Good job Salado Chamber/tourism.”  Larry Prellop

            About a young girl named Emma Rose:


"We don't even live in Salado and Emma wants to read your blog. She is trying to learn everything she can about government.  She started the Youth Advisory Council in Nolanville so she will be running that. She ended up getting into this very quickly by coincidence but someday she said she wants to pick your brain about city council.‬"  Raylene Gill

            About Main Street:

"Main Street looks amazing!  Our sweet town looks so much better."   Melanie Kirchmeier

             
            Write some more tomorrow.   

             Skip Blancett, Mayor


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Stuff that matters: 18 September 2016

Friends,

"Stuff that matters" is new and will communicate Village "stuff" that you may want to know.  Please understand this is my personal blog and no one is responsible for it but me.  As Mayor, it is my way of communicating personally with you.  If I did not work, I would go personally door-to-door to say "hello" and visit with you.  Unfortunately, I do not have that amount of time.  However, you will read below a way to talk with me personally if you so desire.

1.  Mayor's availability -- for the future, I will be at the Municipal Building from 6:15 P.M. until 7:30 P.M., Monday through Thursday to visit with anyone who needs information or does not understand what is happening in the Village.  No appointment is necessary but please understand that individual time may be limited depending on the number of people who desire to talk.  This begins tomorrow 19 September.

2.  Many, many thanks to the people who made Keep Salado Beautiful an outstanding success.  It was excellent to see our newest residents involved.  It was also good to have 12-15 people from Bell County working under the bridge.  I worked with this group and found them to be good workers, polite, and appreciative of lunch.  They said, "No one else has provided lunch for them."  The lunch was paid for and prepared by a citizen of the community.




All the brush underneath Main Street Bridge was cleared by the Bell County men.  The ladies walked Main Street picking up trash and debris.  For 4-hours, they did not stop.  The gentleman standing in the blue shirt (on the right) is a new member to our community, James Gonzalez, an international contractor.  He worked with us and was thankful that he could help with Keep Salado Beautiful.  "I want to be part of my town."  He was the one that saw the water mossican swimming toward our legs.  We uncovered her nest of baby snakes in the wood.  She was not happy and this should be a warning that our beautiful creek has Salamanders but some dangerous critters in the brush.  The Village Maintenance Man, Dwaine said that he has killed 6 or 7 rattle snakes along the banks of the Creek this year.  "Be careful when enjoying the creek" is a message to remember.

3.  A new Historical Organization in the making. 

      The Salado Museum and College Park is merging to form Salado Museum and College Park, Inc.
Bill Kinnison with be President and Sterling Ambrose, owner of Robertson Plantation, will be Vice President.  According to the President, "a new Museum will replace the old Central Texas Area Museum and will be located across the street from the Stagecoach when completed.

4.  The Chocolate and Wine event this week was an outstanding success.  Riding with Fred Brown (most dangerous), visitors had great things about Salado.  Here are a few remarks:

      a.  "Salado is my favorite place to come and we are so glad it is back.  And with all the criticism of the I-35 -- the construction is nearly over and the bridges and highway are nice and attractive.  It was not difficult to get here."

      b.  "We saw the Highway Billboard and we are coming back for the Stroll.  Cannot wait!"

      c.  "What a friendly town."

      d.  " We are hearing great things about Salado.  We thought it was in a box.  It is not and we are glad."

Fred drove the trolley from 1-6 P.M. and has lots of positive comments.  He will share them with you. 

I was with him from 3 to 5 P.M.  It was great to see and greet so many visitors. 

FINALLY, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BLOG AND THE VILLAGE VOICE EVERY DAY.  YOU WILL LEARN THE LATEST.  

VR/Skip Blancett, Mayor



Sunday, August 14, 2016

Your Village in 3 minutes Sunday, 14 Aug 16

Friends:

1.  Saturday morning found the Economic Development Committee meeting into the morning discussing annexation, ETJ, Zoning, Sewer, and major issues the Village is facing this year.  Crucial is the next two years.  Incentives are being considered to entice Developers to annex their future developments.

This committee is comprised of people who understand and work in Economic Development.  They  love Salado and want to keep it beautiful, safe, and environmentally healthy.  They also know that without development, Salado will have problems maintaining their infrastructure.  A million dollar budget will not pay for roads, Police, maintenance, and other items needed to keep this community one of the best in Texas.

It will take wise and thought-through thinking.  However, the clock is ticking and decisions must be made with some haste.

There are no plans to raise property taxes for infrastructure.  The Village Budget for 2017 is slim, but it is balanced. The Aldermen/lady will have to carefully manage it.  Hopefully, there will be no major expenses with the Stagecoach Water Treatment plant.  Repairs and equipment expenses have been major this year.  Our new Water Treatment Plant must be operational by November 2017.  

2.  As you know, Main Street will receive a face lift beginning this week.  There will be some inconvenience, but Main Street will not be closed.  Traffic controllers will maintain the flow of traffic.  Please inform your friends and neighbors.

3.  The first reports from the structural test of the creek are excellent.  There is no problem with boring and placing the sewer line underneath the creek.  The best and safest location has been selected.  As soon as the final report is received, it will be placed on the Blog.

4.  There is an opening on the Planning and Zoning Committee.  If you are interested, please pick-up an application from the Municipal Office.  The selection will be made by early September.

5.  Salado has been selected for the coveted Cultural District Recognition.  Official notification will be received soon.  Thanks to PALS, Keep Salado Beautiful, and many citizens for making it happen.

6.  During this hot month, please shop Salado.  Hot weather and buying school supplies have hurt our businesses.  Your dollars will help.

7.  I-35 Construction continues at a fast pace.  The goal is October.

8.  The Environmental Committee is concerned at the amount of trash and the large number of charcoals left on the banks of Salado Creek especially in the area by Stagecoach.  Action will soon be taken to elevate this problem.  This has nothing to do with who or who not uses Village property or swims in Salado Creeks.  It deals with respect, care, and usage of Salado's natural resources.

Have a good week.  VR/Skip

Your Village in 3 minutes

Friends:

1.  Saturday morning found the Economic Development Committee meeting into the morning discussing annexation, ETJ, Zoning, Sewer, and major issues the Village is facing this year.  Crucial is the next two years.  Incentives are being considered to entice Developers to annex their future developments.

This committee is comprised of people who understand and work in Economic Development.  They  love Salado and want to keep it beautiful, safe, and environmentally healthy.  They also know that without development, Salado will have problems maintaining their infrastructure.  A million dollar budget will not pay for roads, Police, maintenance, and other items needed to keep this community one of the best in Texas.

It will take wise and thought-through thinking.  However, the clock is ticking and decisions must be made with some haste.

There are no plans to raise property taxes for infrastructure.  The Village Budget for 2017 is slim, but it is balanced. The Aldermen/lady will have to carefully manage it.  Hopefully, there will be no major expenses with the Stagecoach Water Treatment plant.  Repairs and equipment expenses have been major this year.  Our new Water Treatment Plant must be operational by November 2017.  

2.  As you know, Main Street will receive a face lift beginning this week.  There will be some inconvenience, but Main Street will not be closed.  Traffic controllers will maintain the flow of traffic.  Please inform your friends and neighbors.

3.  The first reports from the structural test of the creek are excellent.  There is no problem with boring and placing the sewer line underneath the creek.  The best and safest location has been selected.  As soon as the final report is received, it will be placed on the Blog.

4.  There is an opening on the Planning and Zoning Committee.  If you are interested, please pick-up an application from the Municipal Office.  The selection will be made by early September.

5.  Salado has been selected for the coveted Cultural District Recognition.  Official notification will be received soon.  Thanks to PALS, Keep Salado Beautiful, and many citizens for making it happen.

6.  During this hot month, please shop Salado.  Hot weather and buying school supplies have hurt our businesses.  Your dollars will help.

7.  I-35 Construction continues at a fast pace.  The goal is October.

8.  The Environmental Committee is concerned at the amount of trash and the large number of charcoals left on the banks of Salado Creek especially in the area by Stagecoach.  Action will soon be taken to elevate this problem.  This has nothing to do with who or who not uses Village property or swims in Salado Creeks.  It deals with respect, care, and usage of Salado's natural resources.

Have a good week.  VR/Skip