Sherman Mayor Cary Wacker made a felicitous surprise announcement toward the end of the Sherman City Council’s regular meeting on Monday evening.

Sherman Mayor Cary Wacker made a felicitous surprise announcement toward the end of the Sherman City Council’s regular meeting on Monday evening.

"We just received word that GQA Sherman’s bond rating has been upgraded to A+ by Standard & Poor’s," Wacker said. "The bond rating is a reflection of the creditworthiness of the city, sort of a fiscal report card of the city’s finances and policies. … This upgrade is expected to save the city about half a million dollars in interest costs."

Assistant City Manager Robby Hefton said, "We’re proud of the city. When the bond rating agencies look at this, they’re looking not just at some paper financial report. They’re really getting into things like the attitudes of the Council and the willingness of the Council to make hard decisions.

"It really was a pleasant surprise. We’d hoped for it, but I couldn’t really say that we expected it. All departments are doing their part in holding costs down and making sure that we’re being efficient."

Hefton said that "for the ratepayers, what that means is a lower interest rate, and we’re going to be saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in the next few years."

Mayor Wacker said, "Congratulations to all; and the Council did work, too. It’s good to see that it paid off, literally."

The Council also approved an ordinance to erect permanent stop signs at two intersections in southern Sherman. The new stop signs will create a four-way stop at the intersection of Charles and East Turley Street, and add new stop signs at the intersection of Charles Street and Rosedale Street.

The city approved a $455,840 change order to one of its contracts with a private business. The contract provides for a private firm to dispose of built-up sludge inside the city’s wastewater treatment plant, according to the city’s agenda for the meeting.

The extra funds are for new work the city would like the contractor to do, not an increased payment for work already done.

"This will give us time to find the best solution for the city of Sherman, whether it’s a private contractor or done through the city," Public Works Director Mark Gibson said.

Gibson said the terms extended the original contract’s per-ton price to dispose of the solid waste, and Gibson called the extended terms a good deal for the city and the private contractor.

The city approved a motion to pay some owed fees to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Sherman Chamber of Commerce Events Coordinator Lauren Roth delivered a short presentation on the Chamber’s upcoming Snowflake Festival and Christmas Parade, scheduled for Friday.

Roth said the weather forecast for Friday — possible snow — might cause a change in the parade’s schedule, but, Roth said, "we’ll make a final decision on Wednesday."

The councilors approved a request from the Neighborhood Recreational Committee to close down some city streets for a parade in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 14.

The Council adjourned into an executive session for 17 minutes to discuss litigation issues, but the Council took no action based on the closed session discussion

In closing comments, newly elected Council member Lawrence Davis said, "Everybody dress warm for the parade on Friday."

Deputy Mayor Robert Softly said, "We’re ready for a white Christmas, and we’re looking forward to the parade."

Newly elected Council member Tom Watt said, "I would just like to remind folks that we have troops overseas, and this Christmas Eve, please remember them in your prayers."