Sherman Council approves a grant for Kelly Square

During their regular meeting Monday, the Sherman City Council members approved a grant to be given to Kelly Square for improvements of historical significance to its downtown Sherman building.

The grant, which is in the amount of $12,645.50, is part of the city’s Building Restoration and Improvement Grant Program funded by revenues from the Hotel-Motel Occupancy Tax. Applicants for the grants are required to provide four times the amount awarded as matching funds, meaning Kelly Square will be responsible for the difference between the grant and the planned $50,582 renovation.

“I think the grant program we do in the Central Business District is a great program and I think downtown is slowly getting better,” Council member Jason Sofey said of the decision.

The Building Restoration and Improvement Grant Program is designed to help facilitate permanent improvements to commercial buildings of historical significance to the area. Kelly Square was established in 1870. The program limits grants, which are awarded at the Council’s sole discretion, to a maximum amount of $25,000 per project. Upon permit approval, projects awarded grants must begin within 90 days and be completed within 12 months. The Kelly Square grant application is the fifth such application received as part of the program.

The city’s annual audit report, as prepared by the Waco accounting firm of Pattillo, Brown & Hill, LLP, was also accepted by the Council Monday evening.

“The audit committee did meet on Feb. 11 and heard from the auditor and the staff regarding the audit,” Assistant City Manager and Chief Financial Officer Robby Hefton explained. “It was a clean audit, meaning that there were no findings, there were no material weaknesses or deficiencies. As a result of the audit, the financial results were about as we expected compared to the budget. There really wasn’t anything outstanding coming out of the audit, other than that it was a clean audit.”

The auditors said the city’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012, were fairly presented in accordance with established accounting standards. The city’s overall financial performance was also noted as slightly better than had been budgeted.

“I know, from having served on the audit committee myself for several years, their firm has done a very good job, are thorough and work with staff well,” Sherman Mayor Cary Wacker said of the auditors. “That is a very important piece of city business. Our books are in good shape and we’re looking at another good year.”

Two weeks after voting to add 33 stop signs to streets near Sherman High School, the Council approved the addition of two more to the city after a public hearing on the matter during which no one spoke. The new stop signs, which have been up for the past 90 days with no complaints, will halt traffic heading north and south on North Holly Avenue at its intersection with Hillcrest Drive. The city’s cost for the installation of the signs is about $340.

Deputy Mayor Pam Howeth, who is also a teacher at SHS, said the stop signs installed since the last Council meeting didn’t meet with as much resistance as she expected.

“I’d like to say that there was not as much moaning and groaning after the initial shock, so I think we have weathered that and I think traffic’s doing great,” Howeth said.

The Council also approved a resolution naming the roadway between Canyon Grove Road and U.S. Highway 82’s frontage road as Cinema Drive. The street was constructed to reduce traffic congestion on Canyon Grove Road and Travis Street. Street signs for the roadway will cost the city about $75.