Mayor presents prizes for annual town clean-up

By Lisa Morton

The first order of business at last week’s city council meeting was to award prizes for the 2021 Spring Clean-up Campaign. Mayor Becky Brewster announced the awards and presented them to winners in attendance. Groups and individuals collecting the most bulk and bagged litter received the following prizes: 1st Group Bulk, $500 – Van Horn Baptist Church Youth Group, 2nd Group Bulk, $300 – Van Horn Christian Shelter, 3rd Group Bulk, $100 – Eddie Seyffert and Crew.1st Group Bagged, $500 – Van Horn EDC, tied for 2nd Group Bagged, $300 – Van Horn Christian Shelter and Blue Origin ERT, 3rd Group Bagged, $100 – Eddie Seyffert and Crew, 4th Group Bagged, $50 – Hotel El Capitan and Honorable Mention Group Bagged The Van Horn Advocate. 1st – 4th prizes for Individual Bagged litter were a gift card, bicycle and tablet, 1st – Zavery Molina (he also won the TV raffle), 2nd – Nicole Mendoza, 3rd – Chuck and Mary Lynn McMichael, and 4th – Evey Torres. In all, 5 roll-off containers were filled during the event with requests for collection of more bulk waste in town. 

Council heard a presentation from the Economic Development Administration regarding funding for the American Rescue Plan. Online participants, Annette Gutierrez and Peggy O’Brien with the Rio Grande Council of Governments introduced Robert Peche who provided an overview including information on projects that might be applicable with this plan. Mr. Peche summarized his 14 slide PowerPoint presentation and offered recommendations to the council with the application process and requirements.

Water Department Supervisor Jaime Hudson asked to be placed on the record against the order council seemed to be placing certain infrastructure projects. A problem Hudson feels has fallen on deaf ears over the past few years specifically in creating a 3rd pressure zone before addressing failing water and sewer lines that may not be able to accommodate the enhanced system. 

Council was advised that the purchasing of several golf carts became problematic when the invoice amount exceeded $50,000.  City Manager Fran Malafronte said the purchase order would be revised in a couple of days to reduce the number of golf carts to keep the invoice under $50,000. 

City Attorney Steve Mitchell reminded Council and the City Manager that an offense of Sec. 252 Competitive Bidding Requirements, Section 252.062 would constitute the following results:

  1. Immediate removal from office or employment of that person.
  2. For four years after the date of the final conviction, the removed officer or employee is ineligible:
    1.  to be a candidate for or to be appointed or elected to a public office in this state;
    2. to be employed by the municipality with which the person served when the offense occurred;  and
    3. to receive any compensation through a contract with that municipality.

In other business Council: 

Approved Minutes from Regular Meeting on February 23, 2021, March 23, 2021, and Special Meeting March 30, 2021.

Approved Financial Report as presented at $4,270,620.10 for the final budget report ending the fiscal year on March 31, 2021.

Approved Payment of Current Bills in the amount of $69,641.66.

Heard request from Adrian Norman on behalf of Culberson County regarding adjusting the bulk water rate. Council approved a 50% reduction on bulk water used inside the city limits.

Denied request from Mario Balcazar, Jr. regarding adjusting his water bill.

Heard Departmental Operations report including update on water meter installation project, final gas readings for the city, and discussed hiring for work at the golf course and the best use for workers with the summer PIC program.

Approved a proclamation proclaiming April 2021 as Fair Housing Month.

Approved Resolution No. 21-04-008 Adopting Community Development Block Grant Project for the Town of Van Horn per contract notification requirements.