City remains in Stage 1 drought plan

The city of Sweetwater will remain in Stage 1 of the Drought Contingency and Water Conservation Program, as noted at Tuesday's City Commission meeting.City Manager Eddie Brown reviewed the quarterly assessment of the Oak Creek Reservoir and city's well field system, in which the recommendation to remain in Stage 1 was given by Enprotec/Hibbs and Todd. Brown explained that because not as much water is sold this time of the year, a change in stage would not be necessary.City staff continues to monitor the levels, and it was noted that Oak Creek currently stands 20%, which results in hard and scarce water that is difficult to treat.Also during the meeting, the commission approved the SEED (Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development) board's approval of the "FTE" (full time equivalent) incentive agreement with Blackland Service, which is capped at $480,000 over the term of the contract.SEED's executive director, Ken Becker, gave some background to the agreement, in which he stated that the company is located on East Broadway and does pipeline work above and below ground. Their leadership has a combined 76 years of experience, with 14 employees.A resolution ratifying the principal amounts and interest rates of the $1,935,000 certificates of obligation was adopted and approved as well, which came as a result of the new AA- rating given to the city by Standard and Poor's. The rating helps the city save interest on the funding--which will be used for the development of the Hunter Well Field project, which will be at zero for the first four years but will gradually increase and end at 2.78%.Furthermore, the comprehensive annual financial audit report for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013 was approved, in which Cathy Wilks gave an overview. All three letters in the report came back with clean opinions, and the city's finance department was praised for their work and organization. Approval was also given to authorize staff to go out for bids on AC10 asphalt and Grade 4 crushed rock, which will be used in the 2014 street seal coating project. The minutes from the meetings held on January 14 and 28 were approved as well.