“I am here to ask you to consider approving a monopole at Hwy. 72 and U.S. 281. It is a single pole structure with a 10-foot canopy on top for our antennas. We already have FFA approval up to 300 feet. We also have bids for a monopole.
“The reason I am coming to ask for the approval is because there is still some engineering that we have to do on our part to get SEC approval. But if we get your approval, we can start. We are in negotiations with two land owners at this time on Hwy. 72. If that does not come through, we want to have a backup plan; that is what we would like to proceed with.”
After some discussion, aldermen voted to approve the monopole.
City officials voted to adopt an ordinance for a rate change for the city wastewater department.
Mayor James Liska asked City Administrator Rosie Forehand to elaborate.
“I have prepared an ordinance based on findings by Mr. [Raul] Gonzales, the USDA rate study representative, on our situation with wastewater. He recommended we go to $1.95 per thousand gallons, but I put together one with $1.25 per thousand gallons. Our current rate is $1.05 per thousand with the monthly fee going up 50 cents,” Forehand said.
“That would generate on the low side $24,000 worth of income. Of course, it would fluctuate during seasons when people use more water. We would not break even but it would help,” Forehand added.
“So, Rosie, Mr. Gonzales proposed $1.95 per thousand gallons, but you suggest $1.25, which is 70 cents less than his recommended rate. Is that enough to get the wastewater plant in the black?”
Forehand: “No, it will not put it in the black, but it will certainly help. We want to consider raising the rate in steps until the wastewater plant is in the black. This plant just started up so we are in a learning process as to what it will take to run it. We do know the electrical is different.”
Liska addressed the gallery, “For those of you that don’t know why are we in this position, we have a new $3 million sewer plant on CR 400. At the old sewer, that was about 50 years old, we were getting TCEQ infractions on a pretty regular basis. We had to build a new sewer plant. We recoup the cost through rates and ad valorem taxes help pay for it as well.”
Finally, aldermen approved Forehand’s ordinance raising the rate 20 cents per thousand gallons with the monthly fee going up 50 cents vs. raising the rate 90 cents per thousand gallons as suggested by the city engineer.
In other city business, aldermen tabled the agenda item to choose between two bids for electronic pipeline mapping services. Gas Supervisor Venamar Lopez addressed the council. He said he had two bids to map the pipeline on a geographic information system (GIS).
“The bid of $4,500 is just to get the city in compliance with the Department of Transportation (DOT). That will only map the gas lines. The other bid of $10,800 would give the city all the water, all the sewer data and the gas mapping,” Lopez said.
“We need where our water and sewer lines run on a GIS,” Liska said.
“The $10,800 bid would get us in compliance with the DOT, plus we could get water and sewer mapped out. It has to be done regardless, according to the DOT. The other services we talked about trying to get them already but we haven’t had the opportunity,” the mayor said.
Alderman Murrell Foster said, “I think it would be worth it to get that man to give us a presentation. Until then, let’s table this.”
Action on an existing mobile home ordinance was once again tabled. City leaders and members of the community argued over an hour on the aesthetics of mobile homes in the city as well as fairness in enforcing the existing ordinance.