Council gets briefed on landfill

By Gilda Morales

Van Horn City Council met in regular session last Tuesday and made quick work of a short agenda. Edward Torres gave Council an update on the tentative opening of the landfill project, which at best, is still two months away, if the project gets final approval from TCEQ. According to Torres, Rachel Mendez, code enforcement officer, has been designated to oversee the landfill, given that she is the only one with an “A-Class” license in waste management. She held this position previously, before the landfill was inexplicably closed more than 22 years ago. Council was also told that opening the landfill would also require more diligence in what is being dumped, in order to comply with TCEQ regulations.

As part of the overall preparations for the opening of the landfill, Torres requested permission from Council for the City to take over cardboard baling and recycling operations at the landfill site. According to Fran Malafronte, City Administrator, the bailing contract with Mrs. Baeza has already expired and she has been month-month for some time.

Torres also updated Council on the progress at the site for the new roadside parks. According to Torres, the gas line tie-in should be ready to take place by the end of February, requiring that the Sand Plant decrease operations while that project is taking place.

Patricia Golden, who is in charge of Clark Museum operations, was also present to give Council an overview of happenings at the Museum. She reported that the tours she gave at Halloween netted $1185, and had had good reviews, making it likely that the tour will return next year. She also reported that the bathrooms in the museum had also been renovated for about $1000, but stated that the insurance on the building was the greatest expense, being in excess of $5000 per year. Malafronte advised Golden and Council that she would look into insuring the museum through one of the current City policies, probably saving the museum significant amounts of money.

Council then voted unanimously to approve the contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the next community block grant of $405,000. The City’s portion of the grant will be about $130,000 and the grant will be used to replace the current water meters which require manual readings and take up at least 4 days each month to read. The new meters are electronically read, significantly increasing accuracy and efficiency.

Glen Kistenmacher and Bharat Bhakta were present to address Council regarding a previous request for a permit for their proposed Avid Hotel. Their proposal included the building of a storage tank and booster pump which would alleviate the “peak” water demands for city water pressure. According to the gentlemen, they have met with the same engineers that the City is using to study their current water issues. Malafronte advised Mr. Kistenmacher and Mr. Bhakta that she was told by Brock & Bustillos, the engineering firm, that their report would be forthcoming in less than a month, and as such, it would make more sense to wait for the report before deciding on the project. The gentlemen agreed to have their request tabled for one month.