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City to fix leaking lift station
Wilson County NewsAugust 28, 2013 | 2,252 views | 17 comments
FLORESVILLE -- City officials here continue to grapple with the task of balancing current needs with planning for the future. During an Aug. 22 budget workshop of the Floresville City Council, some of the city’s pressing infrastructure needs became apparent.
During their presentation, Rudy Vasquez of the Public Works Department and Project Manager for New Development Andrew Barrientes urged the council to pay serious attention to the city’s ongoing water and sewer needs. Of immediate concern, Barrientes said, is the need to repair a leaking lift station at the 4D Mobile Home Park located off S.H. 97, which is estimated to cost $17,000. Failure to act, he said, could result in a sewage spill and the need for the city to pay $750 per day to rent a vacuum truck until the situation is rectified.
Another pressing concern is the need to replace a ladder and catwalk at a water tower located on Hospital Boulevard, estimated to cost $16,000. Barrientes said a blower on an aerator needs maintenance, but the diminished condition of the ladder and catwalk are preventing workers from making repairs.
“If that blower stops, we don’t have a secondary,” Barrientes said.
Vasquez said the aerators are necessary to help remove sulfur from the water.
Councilman Jim Miller urged Interim City Manager Reggie Winters to find money in the current fiscal year’s budget to pay for these emergency repairs, saying that the council can approve the necessary budget amendments at a later date.
“If it’s a health and safety issue, we’ve got to do it,” Miller said. “It’s a no-brainer, even if we’ve got to raise taxes to do it.”
The council also addressed the Floresville Police Department’s requests for the city’s 2014 municipal budget. At an Aug. 15 special meeting, the council voted to support the proposed budget with ad valorem tax rate at 46.33 cents per $100 of taxable property value -- approximately 46 percent more than the current 31.78-cent rate.
In addition to requesting six new vehicles, the police department is requesting three additional patrolmen. Lt. Chad Clark -- who said the department is operating with “a skeleton crew” -- made a presentation about the staffing request, which included a diagram depicting the department’s current organizational structure. Miller raised concerns over Lt. Jesse Evins’ ongoing special assignment with an agency outside the department, despite his wages still being paid by the city.
“Maybe before we start adding more officers, we need to look at the current organizational structure to see that we’re using officers appropriately,” Miller said.
“How can I explain that one of our officers is working for another agency?” Councilman John W. Guerrero asked.
Miller and the other councilmen suggested Winters and Police Chief Lorenzo Herrera meet to develop long-term plans to address the police department’s staffing and vehicle needs.
The council set three nights of budget workshop meetings beginning Aug. 26, and a special meeting to adopt a budget Aug. 28. Meanwhile, Miller asked Winters to determine the cost to “open and close the doors to the city” and the tax rate necessary to fund such a spending plan, based on first addressing the citizens’ health, welfare, and public safety needs.
“We’ve got hard choices to make,” he said. “None of them are pleasurable, but I think that’s how we’ve got to look at this.”
Following the budget workshop, the council held a regular meeting. Among the items discussed in closed session was the ongoing search for a new city manager, for which applications were reviewed. Miller, who along with Mayor Diana Garza comprises the committee that will recommend a finalist to the council, said after the meeting that SeeKing HR received 363 inquiries for the position.
In attendance: Floresville Mayor Diana Garza and councilmen Jim Miller, Eric Rodriguez, John W. Guerrero, Sherry Martinez Castillo, and Mario Morones; Interim City Manager Reggie Winters, City Secretary Sherry Pollok, Comptroller Lara Feagins, Cyndi Nichols of the Floresville Permits and Code Compliance Office, Streets Supervisor Rudy Vasquez, Project Manager for New Development Andrew Barrientes, and Lt. Chad Clark and Sgt. Daria Fowler of the Floresville Police Department.
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