The Van Horn City Council met in regular session last Monday and after a public hearing with no objections, Council moved quickly to adopt Ordinance No. 22-03-435 to amend the Town of Van Horn fee schedule, Ordinance No. 22-03-436 to adopt the compensation for Mayor and Aldermen and Ordinance No. 22-03-437 to adopt the Town of Van Horn 2022-2023 final budget in the amount of $5,528,000.
Council then heard from Edward Torres, Utilities Director, with a request for approval for overtime pay at the Golf Course, utility department and landfill because of a staff shortage. Torres advised Council that despite advertising for four open positions, he had only received two applications. After some discussion, Council voted to allow Torres to approve overtime on a month-to-month basis and asked that he report monthly on the dollar amount. Torres also advised Council that the staffing shortage would make it difficult to keep the golf course open during the Easter holidays.
The next topic of discussion was the unsightly condition of the landscaping at City Hall and the Convention Center. Alderman Garibay suggested using local talent to design, plan and implement new landscaping instead of using an outside source. Garibay agreed to reach out to Joy Scott and Zach Schaeffer, County Extension Agent, to see if they would be interested in such a project. Scott and Schaeffer are responsible for the new landscaping around the gazebo at the cemetery as well as the Community Garden.
Council discussed several ideas that were presented as part of the TxDOT Rural Transportation Improvement Project including Shared Use Paths and lighting on Broadway, placement of “monuments’ at the entrance to Van Horn from Highway 90 and I-10 east and westbound, sidewalks on Highway 90 to I-10, establishing a viewing site near the entrance to Blue Origin. Although all were good ideas, Council was reminded that the sidewalks and improvements on Highway 54 took 8 years to approve and complete, so that any improvements will probably not even be approved until the 2023-2026.
Finally, Council unanimously approved a request from the Bureau of Economic Geology to place seismographs on City property to monitor earthquake activity which has been on the rise with the increase in fracking in the northern part of the county.