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Funding delays Wetland Center project
by Tim Delaney
Jul 17, 2014 | 186 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AUSTWELL – The Austwell City Council learned Monday evening, July 14, that a grant to cover the construction of a wetlands center would not cover the project after all.

Tom Bernal, who assisted the city through the grant process, said a grant requirement that the contractor be bonded (or insured) went unnoticed before. But now, the project’s cost will have to be trimmed again.

Available money for the project is $247,500, but the cost is estimated at $287,000.

“This time it is going to be a little bit harder to make all those cuts (to bring price in line with what’s available),” Bernal said.

But Bernal said he thought the cuts could be made, and the project would not have to be rebid because enough leeway was in the bidding.

The project which includes the community center calls for R-45 insulation in the ceilings and R-15 insulation in the walls. Currently, the community center doesn’t have any insulation.

Also, the community center and wetlands center would get a metal roof, hardie board siding, new door, a four-ton central air unit (existing window units would be discontinued as would some of the windows) and ADA compliant rest rooms and sidewalk.

In other business, the council discussed and tabled the purchase of a surveillance camera system. The council agreed to send Refugio County Sheriff Robert Bolcik a certified letter, asking for free cameras.

Also, more research into such cameras was agreed on.

The council also took no action on proceeding with legal paperwork to withdraw from the Refugio County Drainage District No. 1, so that Councilwoman Mary Canales would meet with the drainage district commissioners.

At issue is an interlocal agreement that the city of Austwell and the drainage district disagree on pertaining to the responsibilities of each entity.

An average of $12,000 a year is paid in taxes by residents of Austwell to the district, but Mayor David Cann said the city is getting nothing for the taxes it is paying.

It was noted that the drainage district did a survey of all the ditches in Austwell about five or six years ago, but the district has done nothing with it.

The council agreed to have a special meeting the latter part of next week to address a couple of items that were tabled and conduct a budget workshop.
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