City of Kyle cancels Galveston workshop

By Sahar Chmais

A budget workshop in Galveston for the Kyle City Council along with executive staff had been scheduled months ago; the trip, set for Saturday, Feb. 20, has been cancelled.

“Due to the weather-related crisis affecting Kyle,” Mitchell said, “the city council and staff have cancelled our annual February visioning workshop. We will continue to focus our efforts assisting the community through the pressing issue at hand.”

Some residents have criticized the city’s decision to meet in Galveston, but Mayor Travis Mitchell said these workshops are important.

“[This is] not a vacation with our suntan lotion,” Mitchell said. “We are going to a conference area where we have snacks brought into the room and we work all day. And it proved to be very successful last year.”

Galveston is enduring very similar conditions as Kyle and other cities in Texas with power outages and heavy water restrictions.

So, why did the 13 members decide to meet in Galveston this year?

There is a budget that needs to be planned, which is difficult to do in the few hours council meets; when they go to a conference together, members are able to dedicate time in a more concentrated manner, Mitchell said.

In their stay, the group attends multiple work sessions which last four to six hours, so they can have productive budgeting conversations, Mitchell said. Getting together in this manner will help them learn each other’s perspectives.

“We tried it last year and it was a pivotal workshop for us,” Mitchell said, recalling their workshop in Fredericksburg, which happened shortly before the pandemic was declared. “You can see the minutes; it’s designed to kick off the budgeting process.”

Last year, city representatives went to Fredericksburg to get a better idea on how the mayor and city manager are running the city. According to Mitchell, attendees found it to be a fruitful stay.

This year, Galveston was the winning contender because of how they handled closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mitchell said meeting with Galveston’s mayor and city manager would help the Kyle contingent gain insight on how to handle the pandemic in Kyle. Plus these meetings do not have items that go to a vote, so it opens up room for more discussion, Mitchell added.

The meeting may be rescheduled, but location may change.

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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