Challenger rises to face Patton in May election

Chief Robert Bridge of the Beeville Police Department introduces police dispatchers Angie Figueroa and Crystal Espinosa to the Beeville City Council at its March 23 meeting, during which they and other dispatchers were honored with Mayor Francisco Dominguez (not pictured) reading and signing a resolution for National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week April 11-17. 

Voters in Beeville’s Ward 1 will head to the polls May 1 to choose a councilman, as Michael Willow Jr. has filed to run against incumbent Councilman Ford Patton.

But that will be the only municipal election this year, as no one filed to run against Ward 5 Councilman Brian Watson. The city council at its March 23 meeting voted to declare him as an unopposed candidate, meaning that following the election he will be sworn in to begin another term.

According to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office website, early voting by personal appearance runs from April 19-27.

Also during the meeting, the council voted to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Beeville Independent School District for use of  space on a communications tower located on the campus of A.C. Jones High School. David Craig of Performance Services Inc. said a repeater would be mounted on the tower .

“The repeater to be installed at BISD will help with communication with the new water meters,” he said. “There would be two towers picking up every meter in the city.”

The city spent the past few months replacing every meter in the city with a digital unit that can be read remotely. The units, which officials said earlier promise to be more accurate, also will be able to alert workers to potential leaks by detecting deviations in usage patterns.

City Manager John Benson said the tentative location for the tower on which the repeater at A.C. Jones will be installed is on Martin Montez Press Box on at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The council took action in another matter related to water when it voted to spend $9,245 to hire Indepth Diving Solutions LLC to clear tree branches and debris from around the city’s raw water intake structure at Lake Corpus Christi. 

A representative of engineering firm LNV, Inc. said the intake structure is getting filled with silt, mud and tree branches, making it more difficult for water to be drawn from the lake – the level of which continues to drop because of scant rainfall.

In other business, the council was divided when it came to a decision to purchase a new maintenance truck for Beeville Main Street. Benson said the current truck, which was manufactured in 1996, broke down and it is not feasible to have it repaired.

“The one truck had mechanical issues, so they put it aside because it was too expensive to fix,” he said. “They used a borrowed truck from another city department, and now that one is having trouble.”

Benson said the city received a bid from Aztec Chevrolet to purchase an extended-cab, long-bed 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck for $25,081. With the addition of the city logos and accessories, he said the total cost will be $27,354.14, which will be covered by the reallocation of some 2020 certificate of obligation funds initially earmarked for a new roof at the police department that was not needed.

Watson raised objections with purchasing a new vehicle for a department that does all of its work in downtown Beeville.

“I don’t see a need for a new vehicle because so much of the price of a new vehicle is to roll it off the lot,” he said.

Main Street’s Executive Director Michelle Trevino said she was willing to take a used truck from another city department so that it might have the new one.

“The issue is that (the maintenance worker) doesn’t have a vehicle to work downtown,” she said.

The council ultimately voted 3-2 to purchase the truck. Mayor Francisco Dominguez, Mayor Pro Tem Benny Rey Puente and Councilman Eric Holland voted in favor, while Patton and Watson were opposed.

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