Increased activity seen from oil-related business
During the February meeting of the Sweetwater City Commission, Eddie Brown stated in his monthly City Manager's report that Code Enforcement and building inspections have show an increase in activity, as oil-related business continues to expand. Seeing the most growth has been Bradford Lane and Interstate 20.A multitude of information has been presented during the Cline Shale meetings held in surrounding counties for the past few months, in which the February meeting was held in Colorado City."We don't know what to expect," said Brown in regards to change.Colorado City is expected to be the epicenter of the Cline Shale activity, while cities like Sweetwater and Snyder will feel the ripple effects through growth and activity. The two latter cities along with Big Spring are expected to become a triangle of activity, which would see growth in the establishment of RV parks and man camps.Brown explained how other cities across the county have dealt with growth from oil activity, such as small cities in the northern part of the United States which have seen an increase of about 6,000 residents. In some Texas towns out west, housing issues are a concern to where storage containers are being stacked and made into apartments. As a result, concerns of sewage are becoming prevalent."Life as we know it is going to change," Brown stated, but added that while changes are anticipated, they must be embraced with control.And from a follow-up on action taken in January, an inventory noted that 66 shipping containers are located within the city. A new ordinance put into place states that containers already in existence can remain as long as they are anchored and painted tan or beige.Owners of the containers have been contacted regarding compliance of the new ordinance, with one business owner complaining that the ordinance was not business-friendly. The change was made due to the increase of containers in the city and to also prepare for the oil boom.In addition, Atmos gas customers will be seeing a customer charge increase in their bill as a result of a rate settlement. The city was notified by an Atmos representative to simply announce the change, which would be from $13 to $26.The situation had been an ongoing matter, as Sweetwater was one of over 150 cities in the state who joined a steering committee that protested the increase. Though an increase will be felt, the amount is smaller than what was desired by Atmos.Also noted in the report by Brown is that MacDonald Companies has submitted an application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for housing tax credits and/or funds to assist in the construction of a 40-unit apartment community for senior citizens. The low-income complex for seniors would be located near the new Mustang Apartments.Furthermore, the pre-construction meeting for the Senior Nutrition Activities Program (SNAP) building was conducted February 5 and was cited as a good meeting with the contractor on site. The project started on February 18 and is supposed to take 120 days, or four months, to complete.On February 15, a payment was made by the city for bond interest of $290,550. This payment is relatively smaller than the payment that is made in August.And coming up on February 28 in Austin, the Texas Water Development Board will consider the Bitter Creek Water Supply Corporation's $7.5 million loan application. Brown will be joined by Sweetwater Mayor Gregory Wortham and Keith Kindle of Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd, Inc. at the meeting in order to give their opinion and speak against the application.