By Edna Clark
The Town of Van Horn City Council met on Tuesday, April 25th, with all aldermen present and Mayor Pro Temp Pam Young presiding.
Council approved Ordinances NO. 17-04-391 and NO. 17-04-392 which rescinded Ordinances put into place when former Mayor Ben Flanagan was in office and became Municipal Judge. Mayor Humphries assumed the office of Municipal Judge under the same ordinances. The City Council once again assumed the power to appoint a Municipal Judge at its discretion.
Under these reinstated Ordinances, Council appointed Ms. Grace Dickenson as Municipal Judge of the Town of Van Horn.
Ms. Malafronte advised Council that Culberson County Judge Carlos Urias and Commissioner Rodriguez had asked for the City’s help in defraying the cost of demolishing four homes. The demolitions had been approved under grants received by Culberson County for building four new homes.
In a major cost-cutting move, the Council approved for Culberson County to use as a dumping site the crater located just outside the Mountain Valley Golf Course. Only pure concrete without any re-bar metal or other agents will be allowed to be placed into the crater. The County is responsible for crushing any concrete before it is offloaded into the pit. Once the crater is filled to ground level, the County will be then responsible for covering the area with fill dirt. When the area is filled and covered, an eyesore on Golf Course Drive will be just a memory.
All other debris from the house demolition must be hauled to the Sierra Blanca or Clint landfills at County expense. Ms. Malafronte is working with Judge Urias on how to decrease the costs for the disposal of any leftover debris.
Van Horn Code Enforcement Officer Rachel Mendez and the TCEQ will be monitoring the crater to ensure that only the allowed concrete is dumped into the site.
Ms. Malafronte presented Council with a written letter of resignation, effective April 29, 2017, from Water/Gas Supervisor Dion Corralez. Members of the Council unanimously extended their thanks and gratitude to Mr. Corralez for his hard work and dedication to the Town of Van Horn.
Council approved approaching El Paso Electric for a generator large enough to power the Convention Center in the event of an extended power outage. The Convention Center serves as a haven for those who have medical needs and require life sustaining electricity.
Should a new generator become available, the current generator, which cannot support a building as large as the Convention Center, will be moved to power one of the City’s water wells.
May 24th will be the day to determine the effectiveness of lightning rods that were installed at water well sites. Past lightning strikes have caused damage to various water wells causing an increase in the City’s insurance claims and ultimate increased insurance premiums.
Alderman Lyndon McDonald requested an update from Ms. Malafronte on the purchase of new vehicles for Code Enforcement and to replace other outdated vehicles. Ms. Malafronte advised Council that new pickups had been included in the annual budget and that she would approach auto dealers for pricing and purchase.
Alderman McDonald and Alderman Nuny Morriss related that the Spring Cleanup was a huge success. Both men, without any compensation, worked side by side with City employees and Cleanup participants in gathering and disposing of garbage that was collected. Four roll-off dumpsters were filled with garbage on Saturday.
Due to the success of the Spring Cleanup, Council approved a Fall Cleanup which will be geared toward the weekend before the annual CCAISD Homecoming festivities.
Alderman Rudy Hinojos requested that Ms. Malafronte use the $1000 donated by Union Pacific Railroad to paint and refurbish the railroad caboose located on City Hall grounds.
Remember that Joint Election for City Alderman and CCAISD School Board of Trustees is Saturday, May 6, 2017. Early voting began on April 24th. Voting booths are located inside City Hall.
Van Horn City Council Incumbents Lyndon McDonald, Nuny Morriss, and Ryan Martinez, who are currently serving on a well-functioning Council, are running against Marcial Gonzales and Ruben Mendez.