Abilene voters will now decide who will serve as the mayor after the Abilene City Commission Monday approved on a 4-1 vote a new ordinance.
“The city commissioner receiving the most votes at each November general election shall serve as vice mayor during the first year of his or her term in office, commencing on the second Monday in January following the election, and shall serve as mayor during the second year of his or her term in office.
“The city commissioner receiving the second most votes at a general election shall serve as Vice Mayor during the second year of his or her term in office, commencing on the second Monday in the second January following the election, and shall serve as mayor during the third year of his or her term in office. The mayor shall preside at all meetings of the city commission and shall serve as an official head of the city on formal occasions during the term of office. The vice mayor shall preside and serve in the absence of the Mayor.
“In case of a vacancy in the office of a city commissioner serving as vice mayor, the governing body shall select a city commissioner to serve as vice mayor.”
Voting against the measure was Commissioner Tim Shafer who indicated in past meetings he favored the mayor and vice mayor be voted on by the commission.
The commission approved unanimously three incentives for a new Holiday Inn Express and Suites Monday.
The commission approved a resolution of intent to issuing Industrial Revenue Bonds for $7.5 million for the hotel.
Sarah Steele with Gillmore and Bell said the city is not responsible for the bonds.
“You are prohibited by law from using the tax revenue,” she said.
Steele said the IRBs give two tax exemptions. One is the sales tax exemption on materials going into the construction and development of the project.
It also gives the project a 10 year 100 percent exemption on property tax.
The commission unanimously approved a rebate of the transient guest tax of 3 percent for 10 years.
The commission also approved a community development district in which the hotel and adjoining area will collect an extra 2 percent sales tax which goes to the hotel developer for 22 years.
“I would like to express our gratitude to the city commission and the community support we received in finally getting this project moving forward. We are very excited,” said Ashish K. Ghosh Hajra on behalf of the developer Narayan, Inc.
Shafer asked when construction would start.
“As soon as possible,” Harjra said.
He added, probably in March, depending on the weather.
Before the meeting started, Deputy City Clerk Shalya Mohr swore in new commissioner Brandon Rein and returning commissioners Dee Marshall and Tim Shafer.
Contact Tim Horan at email@example.com.