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Blue-water bugaboo may end up in court
by Kenda Nelson
Oct 15, 2009 | 759 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A water storage tank on Vance Street was taken offline in March because it was turning the town’s water supply blue. Now the problem may end up being settled in court.

The storage tank was installed in 2002 with a 15-year warranty.

“They are not taking responsibility,” said Hector Castenada of LNV Engineering.

Castenada told the Refugio City Council Tuesday night that the manufacturer sent inspectors and agreed to pay $12,000 of the $38,000 repair costs for the interior of the tank. Accepting the $12,000 will nullify the remaining eight years of the warranty.

“Losing five years is not justified,” Castenada said.

The council voted to pursue legal avenues to force the manufacturers to honor the warranty.

In other matters, the council tweaked its ordinance on substandard structures, gave the go-ahead for the police department to participate in Stone Garden, hired a new officer, and agreed to allow three-minute public statements before its meetings during its Tuesday night meeting.

Following a request at its last meeting from Reymundo Rocha, the city council agreed to allow three-minute statements from citizens before its meetings. The council suggested a two-minute limit but Rocha and Nancy Barber said two minutes is not enough.

“We’re not trying to keep citizens from talking,” said Karen Watts, council member.

While the council may not act on any issue that is not on the agenda, they will now be able to hear concerns or complaints and add them to the next agenda.

The council also held a workshop prior to its meeting to iron out problems with its ordinance governing substandard structures. During the meeting, the council decided to keep its ordinance in place but add the words “and/or certified building instructor.” The addition allows a building inspector to act alone without a requirement for a health officer and fire marshal. Problems with the ordinance arose because the council could not obtain a full committee.

In police matters, Fernando Garcia, acting police chief, was given a pay raise of $23 per hour, and reserve officer Preston Haynes was hired as a full-time officer. Haynes is a computer specialist and has a drug interdiction German shepherd, Chico.

Chief Deputy Sheldon Wiginton also gave a presentation on Stone Garden, a crime interdiction program sponsored by homeland security.

The council voted to allow the police department to participate. With the funds, the police department may purchase three new vehicles and officers will be allotted overtime for hours worked in conjunction with Stone Garden.

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