Rockwall City Council hit a more harmonious cord Monday, Nov. 21, voting unaimously on all voting items on the agenda with one exception; the final vote to terminate the City Manager Agreement with Julie Couch.
Couch, who was City Manager since 1993, was voted out by the council 5-2 with council members Margo Nielsen and Bennie Daniels voting against.
“Julie Couch has worked for the city of Rockwall for 33 years, almost her whole adult life,” Nielsen said. “For the past 18 years she served as city manager and while many council groups have come and gone Mrs. Couch has been a constant providing stability and leadership within the function of municipal government.”
She went on to detail some of the achievements like the Harbor, and the Downtown project that have been worked out in Couchs time with the city. Rockwall was recently recognized as a Main Street City due to Couch and the council working toward keeping the downtown area viable while many cities chose to expand elsewhere.
“First and foremost it is an ‘addaboy’, it is a pat on the back for making the right decision four years ago,” Mayor David Sweet said. “Our downtown area has been nothing but a success, it is a shining star of achievement no question.”
Though the designation is set, work is still set to improve the area. The council decided to extend the 2 hour parking on much of the square to the 100 block of S. San Jacinto street.
“If it is 2 hours in front of one store, why is it not 2 hours everywhere?” council member Cliff Sevier said during the meeting. “One store is not more important than the other one so if we are going to be consistent then we should make it consistent on two hour parking, that is just the way I look at it.”
Council also voted to amend the Unified Development Code, specifically related to outside storage and display for businesses.
“Moving east [along I-30] is the vast majority of growth, as far as Rockwall county, is concerned” Sweet said. “And I think it is important that we allow ourselves, on a case-by-case basis through a SUP [Specific Use Permit] the opportunity to make the right decision for individual operators. I think one of the worst things that you can do is say no before you are given the opportunity to say yes. At least we are not taking ourselves out of the competitive market when the growth continues out toward Fate and Royce City.”