City manager says move back to City Hall, police station could begin in weeks

City manager inspects the City Council Chamber at City Hall on Dec. 30 to determine what needs to be done before the city staff can start moving back to the building. The council has been meeting at the John C. Fulghum Beville Event Center at 111 E. Corpus Christi St. since a plumbing leak in that room in late July forced the staff to relocate.

BEEVILLE – The long wait to reoccupy City Hall and the Beeville Police Department headquarters was winding down as 2019 came to a close last week.

“We should be moving in a few weeks,” City Manager Joe B. Montez said as he toured the building at 400 N. Washington St. on Monday, Dec. 30.

Workmen were busy sanding walls in certain parts of the City Hall  side as Montez checked on the building’s progress.

Painting and the installation of baseboards are expected to begin once that is completed.

In the police station side, new paneling has been installed to replace the paneling damaged by water.

City employees and staff at the Beeville Police Department started moving out at the end of August after a plumbing leak in a closet in the council chamber flooded most of the building on July 29.

Within minutes after arriving at work that morning, Montez said up to two inches of water was running through both parts of the building.

The only part not damaged was the C.M. “Smitty” Smith Central Fire Station on the extreme eastern end.

The leak ruined all the carpet in City Hall and the police station and soaked lower portions of the drywall in parts of the structure.

Water damage quickly brought on a mold problem throughout the building.

As inspectors went through the facility to determine the extent of the damage, they found another problem. The ceilings had asbestos in them.

By Aug. 27, employees were moving their operations out of the building to other locations.

The city’s utility billing operation moved to the Municipal Court building at 405 N. St. Mary’s St. Other operations moved to the city’s finance offices just north of City Hall on North Washington Street.

Montez, City Secretary Gabriela Herenandez and Main Street Director Michelle Clark Treviño moved their offices and the meeting facility for the city council to the John C. Fulghum Beeville Event Center at 111 E. Corpus Christi St.

Montez was informed in late September that City Hall would need a new roof. He said work on that project is expected to begin after the first of the year and should be completed in about a week.

The city manager said his intention is eventually to replace the existing flat roof design with a pitched roof to avoid leaks in the future.

Montez said that will be done once the city has the money in hand to pay for the project.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5220, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.