Flash flood Tuesday in Sierra Blanca exposes water line

Sierra Blanca’s, Town of Van Horn water supply line devestation near Gifford Hill.

Photo by Dion Corralez

The Van Horn City Council met on Tuesday, June 28, with all members present.  City Secretary, Fran Malafronte, opened the meeting with information on a healthy general fund of $2,916,614.05 in its coffers.  Revenue from the sales of RACK water has increased and made a difference in City funds.

Dion Corralez and Cuco Corrales addressed Council with concerns about continued work and expenses to keep the Thrift Well operating as is.  Both gentlemen recommended installing a submersible pump costing $39,000 with a backup generator costing $40,000.  The generator would meet the TCEQ requirements to have an emergency backup power source.  An alternative to the submersible unit is repairing the Thrift Well again at a cost of $26,000 plus the cost of an emergency backup system. Cuco Corrales told Council that over $100,000 has been spent in repairs on the current pump. Alderman Lyndon McDonald recommended that an expert be brought to the next Council meeting before voting to spend so much money on the repair versus replacement of the Thrift Well.  Malafronte was advised to have the expert at a July Council meeting.

Dion Corralez told Council that a fulltime employee, Emilio Tarango, was driving the roll-off garbage truck daily as instructed by Council and Malafronte.  Currently, two teenagers are working for Corralez in the Summer Youth program. Additionally, Workforce Solutions is paying two more teenagers to work in solid waste duties.

Corralez also related that the greater potential of Bell Street residential flooding due to Tuesday’s heavy rainfall was averted by the levee work performed by Henry Carrasco last month.  Flood waters flowed down the levee and gathered in the ditch on First Street.  A joint effort between the City, Culberson County, and Union Pacific Railroad is needed to enlarge the First Street ditch and alleviate damage in that area.  The Sierra Blanca water lines were exposed by flood water wash-out, but will be repaired this week to resume water service to that town.

After lengthy discussions, Council approved C & L Card Services to be the fuel provider for the Town of Van Horn.  Individual credit cards for every City vehicle will be issued for increased monitoring of employee fuel usage.

Council approved extending the contract with Allied Compliance for employee drug and alcohol testing.

Cuco Corrales will be honored, for 20 plus years of service to the Town of Van Horn and Culberson County, with a plaque and reception at the City County Park on either July 8 or 9.  Malafronte will verify the date and make the community aware of the exact date and time for the reception.  Council approved $250 to pay for the event.

Council approved a resolution, allowing Mayor Humphries to be the signer for a grant which will pay for outfitting the new fire truck.

TML Multi State Intergovernmental Employee Benefits Pool for City employee healthcare benefits was approved for another year.

Per request of Alderman McDonald, a new street light will be installed in the area of Travis Street and First Street for safety purposes.

McDonald advised Council that the Convention Center had major water leaks during Tuesday’s heavy rainfall and that the contractor was stalling on making necessary repairs to the renovated area. Malafronte was advised to arrange a meeting between architects, contractors, and City Attorney, Steve Mitchell, to rectify the situation.

Alderman Ryan Martinez requested that Malafronte evaluate the air conditioning unit at the City landfill building.

Alderman Rudy Hinojos expressed concerns about First Street traffic while Alderman Nuny Morriss asked for updates on the Code Enforcement Officer’s work in monitoring unlawful RV hookups inside City Limits.  Malafronte advised both that she was working with City departments to rectify the situations.

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