Council discusses delayed projects and reopening city offices

By Gilda Morales

The Van Horn City Council met in regular session last Tuesday and heard reports that the opening of the landfill and completion of the long-awaited swimming pool were closer to becoming a reality instead of a dream. The landfill, which is about a year behind schedule, could be open within the next month if the city complies with all the requirements set out by a recent inspection by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Most of the requirements involve signage marking the old landfill, measuring the area for making a grid of the landfill and other signage giving directions to the landfill. Once the requirements are completed, pictures will be sent to TCEQ who will then send a letter to the state recommending opening of the landfill and official opening could occur within 14 days of that.

Completion of the new concession-shower building, and rehabilitation of the City pool has been another project that has been plagued by delays, with the most current being the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought construction to a halt. However, Council heard from the pool contractor himself via telephone, that the final plastering of the pool would commence next week with filling of the pool to follow immediately after that.

In a bit of housekeeping, Council voted unanimously to approve the 2019 Consumer Confidence Report for water as required by TCEQ. The yearly report requires that the City schedule a participation hearing and authorize publication of the report.

Grace Marta presented a request on behalf of her son, Steven Marta, to lease 100 acres owned by the City, for $120 per year, to allow grazing for Marta’s three cattle. This practice has been going on for more than 15 years, with the land in question being immediately adjacent to the landfill and is not being used by the City at this time.

City Council then discussed returning business hours closer to normal, from 7:30 to 4:00, but continuing limiting the number of people in the business office at one time and requiring masks to be worn by any customer wanting to conduct business of any kind. There was a lengthy discussion as to how to open the convention center to provide tourist information while safeguarding the safety of Brenda Hinojos, who runs the convention center. Council agreed to replace the door to the director’s office with a half door to keep tourists from walking in and helping themselves to brochures. Instead, Hinojos would provide requested information to the tourists without there being any contact.

In their last order of business, Council also approved the contract to line the ponds at the golf course as mandated by TCEQ to bring them into compliance.