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Section A: General News


Water quality, police coverage dominate May 10 meeting




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Wilson County News
May 16, 2012 | 1,799 views | Post a comment

ELMENDORF -- Quality of the city’s water supply and police services dominated much of the council meeting here last Thursday evening.

After a brief review of old business during the regular council meeting May 10, the council directed its attention to the matter of water safety and sampling. City Administrator Cody Dailey advised Mayor Manuel Decena and councilmen Linda Peña Ortiz, Linda Hall, Peggy Stephens, and Andy Anderson that the city had received calls from citizens regarding the possibility of contaminated water. The calls were prompted by reports of someone having gone door-to-door telling people the water was “tainted and contaminated,” though nothing specific was ever indicated.

As Elmendorf does not have its own operational wells, all of the water used by the city is purchased directly from the San Antonio Water System (SAWS). Elmendorf water operator John Austin spoke to the council about the manner and frequency with which the water is tested. Scott Halty, a director with SAWS, then spoke about the testing they perform on the water flowing into Elmendorf.

It was explained that the city gathers daily chlorine readings and reports them to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). In addition, monthly bacteriological samples are taken and tested at an independent laboratory. The results are then provided to the TCEQ. Beyond that, a TCEQ-approved independent firm also tests the city’s water supply each year. According to Dailey, all of these tests have come back well above “passing.”

In addition to water quality, the council also spent a considerable amount of time discussing concerns over the police department and officer actions. Some members of the council wanted to move to a closed session, but City Attorney Mike Guevara advised they could not do that, based on how the issue appeared on the agenda.

Stephens stated that some citizens feel they can’t get the police department to respond to calls. She touched on a recent incident, though no specifics were discussed. Decena also expressed some dissatisfaction, saying that he had been outside for several hours and didn’t “see” any officers drive by. Stephens, Decena, and Hall began questioning Police Chief Sonny Gonzales about everything from how the officers are scheduled to the use of reserve officers and even how the chief logs his own times.

Gonzales addressed their concerns. He also said the city has just three paid officers, including himself, and only four reserve officers. The reserves are not paid for their service to the community, and each only works about 24 hours per month. Gonzales explained that the reserves have full-time, paid jobs elsewhere.

The council also:

•Adopted a resolution to prohibit use of excessive force against individuals engaged in nonviolent civil rights demonstrations. This is a requirement for continued participation in the Community Development Block Grant Program.

•Received an update from Scott Bean regarding the status of Public Improvement District No. 1 and a new Public Improvement District (PID) and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) for 252 acres of undeveloped land that straddles the Bexar and Wilson county line. It was determined that more documents are required from the developer before council can proceed with these items under the controls of the local government and tax codes.

•Learned of the passing of former Elmendorf Police Chief Matias Hodges Sr. Hodges was with the city for 17 years, and passed away May 9. Gonzales advised the council that he and one of the patrol officers would attend the funeral.
 

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