City of Midlothian first in Ellis County to receive Tree City USA designation

Tree City USA Texas infographic 2022

MIDLOTHIAN – The City of Midlothian is the first in Ellis County to be given a Tree City USA designation. The City Council received the certification at its council meeting this week with a nod to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, which has made trees a priority in the community. In 2022, the department planted 525 trees in the city’s parks and medians.

Midlothian Mayor Justin Coffman thanked the Parks Department for “being so passionate about trees and our vegetation” after receiving the certification for the city.

Council moved on to the consent agenda items, which all passed unanimously in one vote. Items on the consent agenda included the minutes from the City Council meetings of October 3 & 10, 2023, the canceling of the Regular City Council meetings for November 28, 2023, and December 26, 2023, the purchase of a 2024 Chevy 3500HD Crew 4WD Truck from Caldwell Country Chevrolet for $74,750.80 and a 2024 Chevy 2500HD Crew 4WD Truck in the amount of $54,230.00, and a Generac MDG150DF4 Portable Generator from Clifford Power Systems in the amount not to exceed $106,758.00.

The council also approved a five-year extension for the city’s Motorola Service Agreement for Radio Site Maintenance and the extension of Dispatch Console Maintenance for an additional year.

A resolution was passed between the City of Midlothian and the City of Waxahachie, allowing the City Manager to draw up an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for grant funds for the Routine Airport Maintenance Program.

Eleven regular agenda items began with the City Manager’s authorization to execute a Right of Way Use License and Hold Harmless Agreement for seven on-street parking spaces along North 2nd Street for residential and nonresidential in the Urban Village Planned Development at 803 W. Main Street. This item passed 6 – 0, with Mayor Pro Tem Clark Wickliffe not voting.

Not up for a vote, the council will move forward with a workshop involving an item regarding the city’s housing policy and future land use plan. Staff was looking for a path forward focusing on the multi-family element for the city’s Future Land Use and Transportation Chapters of Guiding Our Future: Midlothian 2045.

A grant was approved in a 7 – 0 vote to authorize the Midlothian Police Department and Midlothian Fire Department to accept funds from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor’s Office for the First Responder Mental Health Program Grant for $35,426.25. In the past, these funds have been allocated to assist organizations that provide resources, counseling, and training to First Responders surrounding mental health and peer support.

An item passed 7 – 0 authorizing the negotiation and execution of an amendment to the right-of-way compensation agreement with TXI Operations, LP, relating to the VV Jones Road improvement project.

Council also passed 7 – 0 an item to act upon a Purchase and Sale Agreement for a .0124-acre tract of land adjacent to the property line at Fire Station 2 for $30,000 plus closing costs. This will allow the Fire Department the space to build a 60’ X 60’ building in the future behind Fire Station 2 to store reserve equipment that is ready to be placed in service upon demand in a protected environment. The item was not budgeted as it was initially to be funded by the Economic Development Corporation, but it was determined that it was not a viable option.

2023-24 MED Work Plan

Council received a presentation from the Midlothian Economic Development for the Annual Report 2022-23 Fiscal Year and FY 2023-24 MED Work Plan, which the City Council requires each year.  The 2023-24 MED Work Plan outlines the proposed implementation of the strategic plan. It identifies specific objectives that the MED undertakes relating to benchmarks, job recruitment, marketing campaigns, technical education, and process improvement.

Another Midlothian Economic Development item presented to the council was for the approval of the Midlothian Economic Development Policy Manual, updated October 2023 with gaps from the previous manual added for approval, including formatting changes and text shifts throughout the document to make it more reader-friendly, a restatement that all expenditures under $50,000 that are included in the annual budget are approved by Council as part of the budget process, changes to reflect the MED’s use of purchasing cards versus our old system of reimbursing employees, a new policy to address business development, and a new policy to address conflicts of interest. This item passed 7 – 0.

Two additional MED items passed; however, the land sale involving Desert Willow Energy Storage LLC, which was given three years because of the timeline needed for due diligence and to complete the regulatory requirements for their project, passed 5 – 1 with Place 6 Councilmember Hud Harton voting against after requesting an executive session for legal discussion and Wickliffe not voting.

Wickliffe also recused himself on the Midlothian Economic Development item to approve an Assignment of Purchase and Sale Agreement from esVolta Development, LLC, for $550,000. This item also passed 5 -1, with Hartson voting against it.

Council approved 7 – 0 authorizing an expenditure of $23,250 by the Midlothian Community Development Corporation for demolishing structures at 450 Mount Zion.