Former Plum Grove City Councilwoman Barbara Norris, who did not seek reelection in the May 1 election, is now the mayor of Plum Grove. She was asked to serve, and accepted, during a city council meeting on Monday, May 10. At the same meeting, Council also formally accepted the resignation of outgoing mayor Mary Arrendell, who unexpectedly stepped down late last week.
As the former mayor pro tem, Norris presided over Monday night’s meeting. Councilwoman Carly Sager was picked by council to be the new mayor pro tem. New council members Jacob Clay, Calvin Padgett and Debra Bell were sworn in once the May 1 election results were canvassed by Council.
Handing over the meeting to Sager, Norris joined the audience as the meeting continued. Five minutes later, and after a brief debate among councilmembers, Norris was appointed as mayor. Though he seconded the motion made by Sager to appoint Norris as mayor, new Councilman Jacob Clay entreated Norris to represent the city well.
“Whoever steps into that position, to whom much is given, much is required,” Clay said, quoting a passage from the Book of Luke. “Whoever steps into that position needs to represent our city. I said in the last city council meeting, when I spoke up, that I am tired of us looking like a freak show. We need to quit arguing with our citizens. This is why we are here.”
Gesturing to the audience, made up of mostly Plum Grove citizens, Clay continued, “I believe we need to start treating everyone out here with a little more respect. I believe, in turn, we need to start getting more respect from out there.”
With no objections from Council and with assurances from other councilmembers that she was the best choice, Norris was sworn in. She will finish Arrendell’s unexpired term, which began in November 2020.
Council briefly discussed a 2,000-home subdivision that is being proposed for Tommy Salas Road, which falls in the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). They raised some concerns about the subdivision putting even more traffic on city streets, which already have been inundated by the Colony Ridge subdivisions. No action was taken on the proposed subdivision.
The concern over roads continued with Item 13, which related to Bohannon Road, also known as County Road 343. According to city leaders, Colony Ridge is working on plans to tie into Bohannon Road.
“That will be another road for them to tear up. We can’t afford to fix another road,” said City Secretary Missy Pouncey.
Councilmembers who live on the Bohannon Road raised their objections, claiming that the road is too narrow and is prone to flooding.
Sager suggested that the City should consider making a deal with Colony Ridge to get road repairs and upgrades in exchange for use of Bohannon Road.
“The City might be able to use this to their advantage and get other things done,” Sager said.
Not everyone on Council was convinced that a negotiated deal would be good for the city. Councilmembers asked why the developer instead is not tying into Rancho San Vicente, which faces FM 1010.
Before making any promises or deals, Councilman Padgett said a traffic study will be needed, to which Sager agreed. She told Padgett that getting the developer to pay for such a study might be an issue.
“I am not saying to tell the man no because he will find another way. Pre-planning wasn’t done here originally. It’s got to be done from now on,” Padgett said. “These things have to start the right way or they won’t finish the right way. Somehow or another, we have to pull together and have negotiations with this guy and whoever else it takes to get this going in the right direction. For him to just tie into Bohannon Road, that’s brain damage all over again.”
He agreed with Sager that the traffic study should be funded by the developer and negotiated upfront.
“He cannot tie in until that is done. That way it’s upgraded and can handle the traffic he is going to put on it,” he said.