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Residents grill council over sewage-plant problems
Goliad Road resident Freddy Ortiz
Wilson County NewsApril 2, 2014 3,639 views 6 comments
FLORESVILLE -- City Manager Henrietta Turner is working with public works staff toward flushing Floresville’s wastewater woes. The ongoing problems at the city’s sewage-treatment plant on Goliad Road were a sensitive topic for those present at the March 27 city council meeting.
Among those to address the council during the citizens comment portion of the meeting was Fred Gonzales. While he does not live in close proximity to the plant, Gonzales urged the council to take “timely action” and to devise a plan on how to address the issues that contributed to sewage spills on March 15, 21, and 26. The first two incidents were the subject of a story that was televised on the 10 p.m. broadcast of News 4 WOAI, which included video of children riding their bicycles in a concrete channel of the Lodi Creek, which was rife with spilled sewage.
“This is a great potential health risk, particularly to kids who use the culvert as a play area,” Gonzales said.
Freddy Ortiz, who appeared on the newscast, lives on Goliad Road. Like Gonzales, he raised concern over the children “playing in feces” and suggested the city barricade the area to prevent a recurrence. Ortiz alleged that leadership was lacking in the aftermath of the spills.
“We feel kind of neglected,” he said. “We live in the poor neighborhood. When do the lies stop and when does something start happening?”
Councilman Mario Morones told the residents that the council is listening to their concerns, but cannot specifically address them because the matter was not included on the meeting agenda. This did not stop him, however, from chiding Turner for allegedly having police force residents to leave the area while crews addressed the March 15 incident.
Mayor Diana Garza asked Turner to compile a report of the incidents and the city’s response, which will be available to those in attendance for the next council meeting. The issue also might be the subject of an upcoming council workshop.
Also related to public works, the council unanimously approved the second phase of increases in the city’s water and sewer rates. The first phase of the increases, aimed at keeping rates consistent with maintenance and expansion expenses, was approved last year. (See “Maintenance, expansion costs at heart of Floresville rate hikes,” May 1, 2013.)
Turner said the rate hikes will begin on bills due June 10, to include:
•Residential customers within the city limits, who are paying $16.50 for the first 3,000 gallons of water, now will pay $17.70. Additional water will be billed at $2.75 per 1,000 gallons, which is an increase of 10 cents.
•Residential customers outside the city limits, who are paying $33 for the first 3,000 gallons of water, will now pay $35.40. Additional water will be billed at $5.50 per 1,000 gallons, which Is an increase of 20 cents.
•Commercial water customers will pay $35.40 -- up from $33 -- for the first 3,000 gallons of water used.
•Residential sewer rates will increase from $16.50 to $17,70.
•Commercial sewer customers, who currently pay $33 for the first 10,000 gallons of sewage, now will pay $35.40. Additional sewage will be billed at $2.20 per 1,000 gallons, which is an increase of $1.30.
In other business, the council approved an ordinance amending the current fiscal year’s budget to reallocate funds from the funds reserve to the Street Maintenance Fund. This paves the way for the implementation of a plan that could bring about the repaving of 10 city streets. (See “City’s worst streets may get rehab,” March 12.)
Also in attendance: Councilmen Johnny Ray Nieto and John W. Guerrero; Interim City Secretary Monica Cordova, Interim Comptroller Connie Moreno, attorney Chris Hugg of the Law Offices of Louis T. Rosenberg, Streets Supervisor Juan Perez, and bailiff Albert Litterio.
Floresville water and sewer rates increases
WATER CURRENT AS OF JUNE 10 BILL
Residential*, first 3,000 gal. $16.50 $17.70
Add’l. water, per 1,000 gal. $2.65 $2.75
Commercial*, first 3,000 gal. $33 $35.40
Add’l. water, per 1,000 gal. $2.65 $2.75
SEWER CURRENT AS OF JUNE 10 BILL
Residential $16.50 $17.70
Commercial, first 10,000 gal. $33 $35.40
Add’l. Sewage, per 1,000 gal. 90 cents $2.20
*Within the city limits. Customers outside the city are charged at twice this rate.
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The Marcelina Muse
Dry Tank, TX
April 2, 2014 12:36pm
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