By Lisa Morton
The Van Horn City Council met in regular session Monday. After approving the previous minutes, the Council approved the monthly financial report and current bills in the amount of $90,961.06, before moving into Departmental Operations.
Utilities Director Edward Torres notified the council that the Gas Department had received a good audit from the Railroad Commission after correcting two violations by submitting a couple of reports. Torres reported that there had not been an audit in more than 13 years, and while planning for cathodic well replacements was overdue, six are in the works for this year.
Mountain View Golf Course Manager Raul Rodriguez asked the council to approve the annual golf tournament and permission to begin advertising. The event will be rebranded this year to amp support of the popular tournament in spite of the less than favorable condition of the fairways, which have suffered from drought and watering problems.
After discussion on the city pool and the disappointment with the delayed opening this summer, the Council asked that a special meeting be held with the contractor in attendance to explain the reasons for the delay.
Council approved a change order was necessary for work on the landfill contracted with Earthcon for additional site visits in the amount of $7,000.00
A Public Hearing was opened for a zoning variance but was tabled because of lack of a quorum. The City will advertise for applicants for three vacant positions on the Zoning Board for appointment by the council.
A presentation was given by a Partnership Specialist with the Department of Commerce regarding preparation for the upcoming 2020 Census. The need for outreach from civic leaders to produce a successful numeration with a Complete Count Committee will be organized and includes County officials, City officials, and other civic leaders. The 2020 Census begins on March 23, 2020 and runs until the end of July. Alderwoman Carloss presented data from Culberson Counties 2010 Census showing only 50% of the population counted versus a national average of 74%.
Another Public Hearing was opened regarding public participation opportunity for the 2018 Consumer Confidence Report with no comments.
City Attorney Steve Mitchell advised the council to table the next item to approve mutual assistance agreement with Hudspeth County for mutual landfill assistance until further review. Department heads were looking into a written agreement with Sierra Blanca for Van Horn employees to receive landfill training at their sites to be in compliance when our landfill opens.
Council heard from Code Enforcement Officer Raquel Mendez about the need to amend Bulk Waste Ordinance 8.24.060: Bulk Waste Tires, to include business license requirement for all tire sales/repair companies located within the city limits. And to also amend the fee schedule to include: Business License Tire Dealers. Mendez said that amending the ordinance will help with proper disposal of old tires from this large business in Van Horn. The amendments were approved.
City Administrator Fran Malafronte requested new council members and Michael Garibay register and attend the Texas Municipal League Newly Elected City Officials Orientation.
On the recommendation from Malafronte, the Council approved 2 heavy equipment finance contracts with Government Capital for a new water truck and new garbage truck in anticipation of the opening of the local landfill.
Council tabled a request for consideration to contribute to the employees’ health insurance to include spouses and children, in order to survey employees who would be interested in coverage and to determine cost.
Council then renewed their annual contract with Allied Compliance for the City’s Drug and Alcohol testing program before going into executive session, but no action was taken after reconvening in public session
Before adjourning, council approved a motion that would require Edward Torres to report to Council directly.