Sponsler will not be retained by Aledo

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
A birthday cake to celebrate Aledo City Attorney Mark Walton's birthday was held during the break between the Committee of the Whole meeting and regular city council meeting. Walton as at the far left.

By a four to three vote, with one alderman recusing himself, the Aledo City Council voted to not renew the employment contract of Aledo Chief of Police J. Michael Sponsler at Monday night's April 19, 2010 council meeting. Voting to keep Chief Sponsler were Aldermen Michael Baugher, Randy Mattson and Barry Cooper. Alderman Terry Bewley recused himself, citing "history" as his reason. Voting to not renew the contract were Aldermen Tab Balmer, Dick Hunter, Rich Maynard and Robert Rillie.

Sponsler was hired by the city in January of 2006 and had a four-year contract that ends on April 30, 2010.

Two other city management officials were spared the axe - Janice Green, city administrator, on a 7-1 vote to stay, with Rillie voting to not renew her contract and Stephen Moller, public works, was approved on an 8-0 vote.

The new contract is a one-year contract from April 30, 2010 to April 30, 2011, with a month-to-month contract after that date being in effect. This will accommodate any changes that could occur on the council at the 2011 election. The approved management salaries will remain the same as their current salaries.

The council also made some moves on Tax Increment Financing that have been under discussion for several months.

Three ordinances to amend the Aledo TIF project area and remove three sites that were owned by or of interest to three aldermen were turned down. Voting no to remove acting Mayor Dick Hunter's residence at 710 East Main St., were Cooper, Bewley, Mattson and Baugher. Hunter abstained and Rillie, Maynard and Balmer voted to allow the removal.

An ordinance to remove Rillie's property at 115 NE 2nd St. had two abstains from Rillie and Hunter, no votes from Mattson, Baugher, Bewley and Cooper and yes votes from Maynard and Balmer.

A Maynard property at 104 SE 3rd Ave., had no votes from Mattson, Baugher, Bewley and Cooper; yes votes from Rillie and Balmer, Abstain from Hunter and a recuse from Maynard.

Other TIF ordinances for city contracts with Millco/ Dollar General had some deep discussion with several changes, including specifying that a Dollar General would be moving into the property, that the principals of Millco, SW 3rd St., LLC be identified, that the LLC actually be registered as an existing entity. The city also wants the assessed valuation of the property to be represented from the 2009 assessment payable in 2010.

The contract was approved by the city with the changes on a mixed vote. Approving the redevelopment agreement for up to $125,000 were Bewley, Cooper, Mattson, Balmer and Baugher. Abstaining was Hunter; Maynard recused himself and Rillie voted no.

A TIF Agreement with Nation Properties, Inc. was also approved for TIF eligible expenses up to $102,000. Voting yes were Cooper, Mattson, Maynard, Rillie, Balmer, Baugher and Bewley. Hunter abstained.