OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE REGARDING THE MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2018
This press release is generated to clear the air on what transpired after the adjournment of the September 11, 2018 meeting wherein individuals wanted to continue to meet with the Mayor and Commission.
It should be noted that the City of Mercedes follows the Texas Open Meeting Act which governs local governmental entities on how to conduct public meetings. The City of Mercedes also follows our City Charter and Robert’s Rules of Order.
The City of Mercedes strives to give the general public access to the public proceedings and input in decision making. These are essential elements of a properly functioning democracy. A meeting that is open to the public under the Act is one that the general public is permitted to attend. The Act does not entitle the general public to choose the items to be discussed or to speak about items on the agenda. This responsibility is given to elected Mayor. A governmental body may, however, give members of the public an opportunity to speak at a public meeting. If it does so, it may set reasonable limits on the number, frequency and length of presentations before it.
A governmental body must give the public advance notice of the subjects it will consider in an open meeting or a closed executive session. The City of Mercedes gave advance notice of the topics to be covered for the September 11, 2018 meeting. This was accomplished specifically by Arcelia L. Felix, City Secretary, who posted the Agenda items September 7, 2018 at 11:30 a.m. for a City Commission Meeting on September 11, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. which allowed the following items to be discussed:
1) 2nd Public Hearing regarding 2018 tax year proposed property tax rate for the City of
2) Discussion and possible action of budget amendment for fiscal year 2017-2018 (J.
3) Discussion and action of Request to reject all bids received and Re-Solicit for Bids
Regarding PD Building Security Cameras and Access Control Measures (S. Rodriguez)
4) Discussion and action of Proposed Ordinance to amend Ordinance No. 2016-14 to adjust
the Water and Sanitary Sewer rates during the next three years (Assistant City Manager)
5) Discussion and possible concerning projects prioritization to consider issuing Certificates
The Mayor called the meeting at 6:00 p.m. and all the agenda items were covered in front of the general public. It should be pointed out that during the discussion involving the effective 2018 tax rate proposed property tax rate for the City of Mercedes, that nine individuals spoke on this topic.
The simple mandate of the Open Meetings Act requires that the only topics that can be discussed are the agenda items that have been properly posted. The Mayor and Commission would be subject to civil and criminal penalties if they intentionally violate this provision of the Act. An individual can’t demand to be heard by a Mayor and Commission after the meeting has been adjourned. The bottom line is that once a meeting is adjourned no formal discussions can be had.