Long-term projects near completion

By Gilda Morales

City Council met in regular session last Monday night and were given the good news that several projects that had been on-going were finally nearing completion. Edward Torres, Utilities Director, advised Council that the new water tank was officially in service and had been working without any problems for three weeks now. Torres also reported the long-awaited opening of the landfill was also progressing with a tentative opening date of July. He stated that he is currently working with surveyors to mark the ditch line, but he did not foresee any delay at this time.

Torres reported that the swimming pool project is also progressing on schedule with completion expected around Memorial Day. However, there has been only one bid for the construction of the concession building which was unusually high, and the Council agreed that there should be a continued search for more bids, hopefully from local contractors. City manager, Fran Malafronte reported that she is still in talks with the insurance company to see if the demolished building could be covered as a claim since there were three reported earthquakes in the area that could have been a factor in the large crack in the building. Council voted unanimously to host a grand opening of the pool the weekend after Memorial Day with free swimming, food, and music.

Another project that has been in the works for some time and is nearing completion is the approval to discontinue the gas pipeline in Lobo. This will relieve the gas department from maintenance and metering for unused lines.

Torres then asked the Council to revise the current bulk waste ordinance which has consisted of residents calling City Hall when they had bulk waste to be picked up. They would then be put on a list, and the waste would be picked up monthly. However, since Torres and his staff had been making an effort to clean up alleys in the past few months, residents have not been notifying City Hall and have been putting out more and more bulk waste, resulting in the alleys looking worse. Torres asked the council to revise the current ordinance and to include fines for residents throwing bulk waste out without regard to their neighbors or to pick up schedules. Council agreed that this was a problem as was illegal dumping by non-residents from rural parts of the county and outside the county as well.

Edna Clark and Pastor Donovan addressed the Council during the public comment part of the agenda to ask for resumption of funding for the Christian Shelter. Council was told that although funding had been suspended after the last manager left town, the Shelter had continued to provide services for those in need. Arrangements had been made with Lindsey’s to provide

Other actions taken by the Council included:

Presentation of awards for the 2019 Clean-up campaign

Approved quote of $7500 from Gilbert Sanchez for concrete work needed at the Lagoons to re-route wastewater discharge

Approved quote from Zap’d I.T. & Communications for security cameras at the Golf Course, Sanchez Yard and additional camera at the Water Department for security purposes.

Approved engagement letter from Knapp & Company, PC to provide auditing services for the Town of Van Horn, F/Y 4/1/2018-3/31/2019.

Approved a request from Cody Davis, to have Council approve and allow Mayor to sign City/County Emergency Management Plan

Tabled a request from Adrian Hinojos, County Treasurer, for permission to build a 4-car carport over 4 parking spaces in the EDC parking lot until he provides more information

Approved a request from Erica Urias to re-locate mobile food trailer from Mercado to EDC Parking Lot

Approved a request from Jaime Hudson, Water Operator to have Council update the City’s Drought Contingency Plan as required by TCEQ

Agreed to postpone the appointment of new EDC Board members until Thursday so that Council members would have time to review a large number of applications.