By Edna Clark
With all City Aldermen present, Mayor Pro Tem Pam Young presiding, the City Council met for a second scheduled meeting on Tuesday, September 26.
City Secretary Fran Malafronte made Council aware of increased water leaks on Broadway and La Caverna due to heavy equipment traffic. Council asked Ms. Malafronte to seek assistance from TXDOT for street and water line maintenance.
Ms. Malafronte stated that the landfill is on track to be opened in February, 2018. The landfill will be a cost saving operation for the City as the miles and hours spent with transporting garbage to Clint and Sierra Blanca will disappear.
$98,000 in August bills was approved for payment.
Gas Supervisor Edward Torres and Water Department Jamie Hudson gave reports for their individual departments. Torres told Council that the first sand plant is now moving wet sand, and gas generators are fully operational. City water and gas crews continue to detect and repair leaks throughout the City. Torres will contact outlying gas customers about changing from natural gas to propane as some of the Lobo Valley customers have done. Aldermen Lyndon McDonald, Ryan Martinez, Rudy Hinojos, Nuny Morriss, and Mayor Pro Tem Young expressed sincere appreciation for the City water and gas department employees who have worked endless hours to provide improved utility services for the citizens of Van Horn.
Council approved annual payment for Interstates 10 and 20 billboards located in Fort Stockton and Monahans for $5,655.00 and $5,460.00, respectively.
The Culberson County Appraisal District’s 2018 adopted budgets (appraisal and collection) were reviewed.
Ms. Malafronte made Council aware of a USDA grant which can cover 55% of the cost of a new welded water tank that is needed to replace the existing water tank. Boosters to increase water pressure for areas around McDonalds and the Holiday Inn will be added into the grant proposal. Short term low-interest loans along with surplus money from the City’s general fund would be used to pay the balance of the water tank costs. Aldermen were asked to submit ideas for other water related equipment and supplies that could be placed under the grant.
Alderman McDonald told Council that the City and County had worked together to clear the drainage ditch at Bell and First Streets last week, just before the torrential downpour that struck Saturday night. According to McDonald, area homes were not flooded this time as had been the case last month.
Citizens Buddy and Nati Davis allowed crews to dispose of drainage ditch trees and plants on their property. Large trees were also transplanted in an effort to protect the environment.
McDonald advised fellow aldermen that the latest inadequate workmanship found in the Convention Center was faulty electrical wiring. Current wiring will not support full operation of the building.
El Paso Electric Company has donated a generator to power the Convention Center in the event of an extended power outage; however, the electrical system cannot support the generator.
Ms. Malafronte advised Council that she would seek new bids for City vehicles for replacement of older pickup trucks.