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Council approves fund transfer to assist Prairie Acres

The Friona city council met in regular session Monday October 8, 2012. All members were present except Councilman Charlie Pope. Mayor J.B. Douglas gave the invocation. There was no one from the public present.

The Friona Star was re-approved as the official newspaper of Friona. Designation of an official newspaper is required annually by Texas municipalities for posting public notices, legal notices, requests for bids, etc.

Friona Police Chief Frank Mooney gave his monthly report to the council. He introduced the new police department dispatcher, Melissa Gallego. She is a 2009 FHS graduate with an Associate Degree in Forensic Science from Amarillo College and plans to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice at West Texas A&M.

Chief Mooney said the addition of automatic ticket writers in police vehicles had resulted in an increase in the number of citations by the police department. The officers began working 12-hour shifts as of October 1. He informed the council of a new policy concerning unlicensed, uninsured drivers in the city (see accompanying story). Fines of $250-$300 and vehicle storage fees were discussed.

The council approved a mutual aid agreement with the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission (PRPC) for using an emergency communicator system in the event of a disaster.

Financial statements for September and quarterly and yearend were discussed and approved. The council commended city manager Patricia Phipps for the city’s excellent financial year. An amendment to the city personnel policy was approved where employee overtime is computed by the quarter hour.

A transfer of $100,000 from the city’s general fund to Prairie Acres to help them catch up on delinquent payables from July and August was discussed and approved. City manager Phipps emphasized the funds were going to Prairie Acres, not the Transition Health Services management company. The city contract with the Prairie Acres management company ends January 31, 2013 at which time the city will take over operation of the nursing home facility. Prairie Acres and Friona Heritage Estates are owned by the City of Friona.

The next city council meting will be Monday, November 12, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. All council meetings are open to the public.