Infrastructure remains City’s focus

By Gilda Morales

The Van Horn City Council met in regular session last Tuesday and heard from engineer after engineer on how to tackle the City’s aging and failing infrastructure. Although Council has started the ball rolling on the long process required to finally fix the problem, the engineers provided a timeline of at least 5 years and probably more, to completion.

Council approved a proposal for $158,000 for a new SCADA system after approving a resolution to use ESC Region 19 Allied States Cooperative, which allowed the appropriation of funds without going out for bids. The new SCADA system will provide the newest technology in monitoring the City’s water wells, pumps, and water supplies at 8 locations.

Next on the agenda was the establishment of priorities for the engineering firm of Brock & Bustillo’s’ water and wastewater system study and capital improvements plan. The Elm Street Railroad Crossing project, which will entail replacing the waterline under the railroad bridge was named as the first water project. This line supplies water to the south and southwest part of the town. The first project for the wastewater portion of the capital improvements study will be the removal of sludge and reworking the slopes at the lagoons.

Burgess and Nipel from ESS, electrical contractors, received the nod from Council to prepare all preliminary and final design plans and specifications as well as all inspections for the maintenance and upgrades for the Town’s wastewater system. The plans will include two phases: Phase 1—sludge removal and maintenance, and Phase 2—any necessary upgrades to the existing lagoon system and to the redevelopment of effluent ponds at the local golf course to be used for irrigation, including any TCEQ permitting or upgrades to existing ponds.

In other agenda items, Council:

Ratified contract with El Paso Electric Company for LED lighting service, and all-night lighting at the City-County Park and Pool.

Approved a request from Grace Dickenson, to have the City host the 2021 winter rabies, licensing, and neutering clinic

Approved a request from Armando Ortega for reimbursement for a broken windshield that occurred while city employees were mowing near their home.

Authorized the Town of Van Horn to issue requests for proposals for administrative services and professional services for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a grant for more than $450,000

Adopted a resolution authorizing the submission and Economic Development Assistance (EDA) grant application for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, “to construct the third pressure zone with the necessary cash match commitment; authorizing Mayor Brewster to update language in the resolution should it be requested by EDA,” Mayor Brewster would provide an update on any changes the following City Council meeting, and she could also explore the possibility of submitting a second EDA grant application for another project benefiting Van Horn.

Agreed to advertise for another position at the local landfill, and to take certain bulk items to the landfill in Sierra Blanca