by Michael G. Maness
Chester City Council considered a bid to expand the city hall building during its regular meeting Monday, April 7. They plan to add to the current building a 12' by 27' expansion and are open to bids until the end of April, said Mayor Elton Lawrence, whom prospective contractors can call at (936) 215-1309.
There was no quorum at the March meeting, and no emergency meetings were required.
Therefore, Council approved the February meeting minutes, read by City Secretary Annette Hickman, as well as financial statements for the City and Chester Gas System.
There was some lively discussion over the construction bid submitted, the current needs and just how long ago they had built the current city hall. Hickman stressed the need for climate-controlled storage and reasonable expansion to meet the needs of the future.
There was also discussion over the upcoming end to Microsoft's support of its XP computer operating system and the need to upgrade. Even though official support would end Tuesday, April 8, the Associated Press reported that anti-malware updates will continue through July 14, 2015. AP further reported that it has been estimated that 30% of the computers used by businesses around the world are still running XP, including many "water treatment facilities and power plants to small businesses like doctor's offices." The Council will be leaning upon City Supervisor Dale Clamon to make contacts and report back to the Council in May on options for upgrading.
The lively discussion on the computers included some personal jokes and anecdotes, including the fact that most computers become out of date just a few years after purchase. Hickman stressed the need to address this, in order for the Council to protect the City's interests and those of its citizens.
The Council read the first reading of an ordinance establishing the mayor as the "Emergency Management Director" with the ability to cooperate with other mayors and the county judge in an inter-jurisdictional county-wide program, limiting liability, to marshal and delegate resources in case of emergency.
On a lighter note, Councilman Vincent Incardona expressed the desire for the City to fly the U.S. and Texas flags. The old tattered flags had been taken down. Apparently, the new ones were not yet purchased, but new ones will be flying soon. Salute.