With a vote on a council/city manager form of government set to take place in less than one month, Driscoll City Council members on Friday heard a presentation from public administration consultant John Valls on what he could do to help the city.
Before he opened his own consulting firm last year, Valls Consulting Group, Valls had previously worked as a tax accountant for the State Comptroller’s Office and the Port of Corpus Christi in the area of business development.
Driscoll Mayor John Aguilar asked Valls how a new city manager position would coincide with his potential consulting work with the city.
“If that passes, you don’t have to fill it, just because you have a position,” Valls said.
He noted that as a consultant, he would not be a burden on the city when it came to insurance and retirement benefits, as he would not be considered a full-time employee.
Valls said his role would just be to advise the city on the best course of action, and then the decisions would be made by the council, and followed through by current city staff.
“You might take a few months, and then decide that your ready to fill the city manager position. Even if it were for a limited time, one of my goals would be to get the city into a position where you feel your ready for a full-time city manager,” Valls said.
For the City of Gregory, Valls said he worked as a management advisor, since Gregory does not have a city manager, and has helped in updating their water meter accounting procedures, reducing waste, and dealing with water and sewer line rupture issues this summer.
Valls said the city not only needs to be realistic about the business they hope to attract to the area, they also have to provide assistance in helping to nurture the businesses that already exist in town. He said investing in local businesses comes back to the community through increased sales tax allocations.
Valls said his services would run $2,000 per month. Any expenses incurred while doing administrative work would first have to be pre-approved by the council, he said.
Driscoll Commissioner Sara Zavala said with a budget that is already tight, she felt it would be difficult to fund an additional $24,000 for his services.
In looking over the city budget, Valls said he had already identified several areas of potential savings that could be possible, which would cover his services if the council approves hiring him.
The council voted to table a decision on the contract until the next city council meeting on Nov. 3.