By Edna Clark
Town of Van Horn City Council met Tuesday, April 26, with all aldermen present. City Secretary, Fran Malafronte, presented a disturbing, but hopeful, report on the Van Horn Convention Center finances. Currently, the Convention Center account has a deficit of $80,000 due to the renovation. Malafronte stated that with increased hotel motel taxes, the Convention would have funds in the account within six months. City reserve fund contains $2,797,000 after $44142.18 of bills was paid.
According to Malafronte, city sanitation rates must be addressed right away as current rates have been in place for several years without being updated. Water/Gas Manager, Dion Corralez, will be visiting with business owners soon to determine disposal needs and make recommendations for appropriate service and billing. Council advised Malafronte to ensure that both garbage trucks be operated every day to prevent garbage buildup in dumpsters across the city.
Alderman, Lyndon McDonald, related that TCEQ has mandated that the city must have a pre-designated disposal site in case of a local disaster. Malafronte will determine the existence of such a site. McDonald told council that citizen, Pete Torres, requested the Railroad Commission be brought in to evaluate the city’s meter reading policy. Torres is reported to believe that the current system is illegal and wants the procedures changed.
Council approved charging commercial utility rates to landowners who are renting out lots to travel trailers/RVs. The current utility fee schedule will be used for billing for the commercial rates.
To prevent potential flooding on the west side of Van Horn, council approved hiring Henry Carrasco for $4,000 to clean out and build up the Bell Street channel. Repairs and cleaning is set to begin at approximately 12th Street and south through the channel. Malafronte will speak with the McVay family for approval of Carrasco’s access to the area for the work.
City Pool users will now have a wind screen in place on the north side of the pool for a wind block and increased privacy.
$6,000 was approved by council to pay last minute bills and close out the 2015-2016 Budget. Malafronte advised council the 2016 city audit is scheduled for June 20th. Auditors are the same as those used by Hudspeth County. A possible increase in Hudspeth residents’ water rates is anticipated after both counties’ audits.
No progress has been made in acquiring the new fire truck; Malafronte stated that she was still waiting on Jerry Carvajal with GrantWorks to put out bids.
McDonald closed the meeting on his report from ASA Architects, the agency that renovated the Convention Center. Seventeen items, including repairing the garage door, floor, ADA required restroom doors, and many more, are set for repairs over two weekends in May.