The Cottonwood Shores City Council had two outstanding choices for Outstanding Citizen of the Year, so councilors picked both of them.
During the April 1 council meeting, Parks Committee Chairwoman Andrea Stephens nominated Gary Black, who serves on numerous boards and committees and often can be found improving the city in other ways.
Mayor Pro-Tem Cheri Trinidad seconded Black’s nomination and added one of her own: Stephens, who also serves as the city’s municipal court clerk and handles much of the social media, spreading the word about community events.
Once the council were in agreement on two choices this year, Mayor Donald Orr spoke: “I declare Andrea Stephens and Gary Black Outstanding Citizens of the Year.”
Stephens was humbled.
“I’m nowhere close to Gary,” she said, “but I love being in the same category.”
City Administrator J.C. Hughes commended the council on its decision.
“Andrea is phenomenal,” he said. “She has adapted to the concept of getting positive news about Cottonwood Shores out.”
He noted she has developed relationships with businesses and volunteers.
She’s promoted the Adopt A Highway and Adopt A Street programs among residents and collaborated with the Marble Falls High School welding program, whose students built barbecue grills for Cottonwood Shores city parks.
“She’s taken our parks department to a totally different level,” he continued.
When Hughes called Black to tell him the news, he was a little taken aback.
“He was somewhat embarrassed,” Hughes said. “He said, ‘I don’t do it for the recognition. I do it because I enjoy helping people.’ I said, ‘People want to recognize what you do.’ He’s at every event because he loves to help. He’s on several committees and enjoys helping people. They are both dedicated to improving Cottonwood Shores. It’s good to have people like that that you can call on.“
Hughes was equally enthusiastic about the new look of the city’s Code of Ordinances online database. Hundreds of ordinances are now online and easy to find with the help of Franklin Legal Publishing.
The firm’s Kirk Franklin gave councilors a tutorial on how to use the database. He showed them how to find the history of an ordinance, where to type in keywords, and how to check out what other Texas cities are doing regarding the same issues.
Hughes said City Secretary Bobby Herrin spent a year with Franklin staff members in getting the ordinances prepared for upload.
“It’s live now,” Hughes said about the database, which can be accessed through the city’s website by clicking on Code of Ordinances on the lefthand side of the site.
Franklin Legal Publishing specializes in Texas municipal law.
During the uploading process, Franklin staff let Cottonwood Shore officials know when they came across an ordinance that was out of date under current state laws. The city then addressed the problem.
“It’s cleared up all those inconsistencies,” Hughes said. “They made sure everything in our ordinances are legal in Texas. Bobby did 95 percent of the legal work on our end. He cleaned up a bunch of the entries. Credit to Bobby for his hard work.”
The codification cost was $10,345. A yearly hosting fee is $395.
“It is great to have all that online and accessible to the public,” Hughes said. “We get numerous calls. Now, we can say, ‘Go to our website.’ It saves us time. It’ll be more efficient for the pubic. It has legal documents, and folks can go to one source and one location.”