McKenzie, Peek to continue city commission service

June 13, 2012

During the Sweetwater City Commission meeting held on Tuesday morning, June 12, 2012, two commissioners were sworn in to continue their service. Shown are Precinct 4 commissioner Dr. Jerod Peek (far right) and Precinct 2 commissioner Jim McKenzie taking the oath of office, being administered by City Attorney Pete Sheridan. (Photo by Belinda Serrano)

A public hearing was held during the regular monthly meeting of the Sweetwater City Commission on Tuesday morning, June 12, 2012 at City Hall.
The open forum was the first of two regarding the proposed annexation of a 53.14 acre tract of land, located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Hopkins Road and Interstate 20. The petition is from Love's Truck Stop for an incoming site.
A representative with the company was present at the meeting and spoke on the issue, nothing that their plan is for construction to begin "very soon". Several delays have led to the later start of the project, which should begin within the next couple of months.
Love's is also working with TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) as they will be rebuilding and widening Hopkins Road through the store's entrance. The facility will include a tire shop and a restaurant.
No other input was given on the matter, thus the public hearing was closed and regular session resumed.
Several bids were also opened and considered for two different items during the meeting. Four construction bids were opened for the water line replacement on Neff Street coordinated with the sewer line improvement project and reviewed by city staff; the commission approved the recommended lowest bid totaling $49,251 from Starks Construction Company in Abilene.
In addition, two bids were opened on the vehicle for Police Chief Brian Frieda. After review from city staff to determine if specifications were met, approval was given to accept the bid from Caldwell Country Chevrolet in Caldwell, Texas, which totaled $27,425.
The commission additionally approved a resolution allowing for the city's continued participation with the Steering Committee of cities served by ONCOR, which include around 150 cities. The cost to continue the partnership is an annual fee of $1,096.
Furthermore, approval was given on another resolution authorizing Mayor Greg Wortham to execute contracts with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. This collaboration assists the city in receiving funds for the SNAP program.
The Mid-Year Agreed Upon Procedures Report--for the period ending on March 31, 2012--was also approved. The report was briefly presented by Cathrine Wilks, CPA (Certified Public Accountant), with no exceptions found on the examined items.
The minutes from the May 8 and May 10 meetings were approved as well. The meeting also included the oath of office being administered to two returning commissioners, Jim McKenzie for Precinct 2 and Dr. Jerod Peek representing Precinct 4.
City Manager Eddie Brown also gave his monthly report during the meeting, which included several updates. The second public hearing on the proposed annexation will take place this Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 9 a.m.
Sales tax revenues continue to be strong, with the May 2012 sales tax remittance from the state coming in a 4% higher from the prior year with a 35% increase year to date. Following their recent budget workshop, city staff is continuing their work on the 2012-2013 budget.
Also, the preliminary property values were reported at $423,444,290, which reflects an increase of $84,344,601 from the prior year. The Tax Rate Hearing will take place upon receiving the final valuation and Truth-in-Taxation instruction.
Recently, city officials met with TxDOT to discuss current issues and projects. The next major project will be a four-lane rebuild on Lamar Street from Avenue B south to Interstate 20, which should begin in June 2013 and last anywhere from 12 to 24 months.
Additionally, the city has received $525,393 in revenues from oil and gas leases from land owned by the city located outside of the city limits. The city has also received notice of stakeholder meetings on water master evaluation for the Brazos River Basin and Colorado River Basin from TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality).
The commissioners were also informed of some information in their packets, which included the minutes from the recent SEED (Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development) meeting. They also received a copy of the ballot proposition from Big Spring's recent election regarding the utilization of their Economic Development Corporation's sales tax for water system infrastructure construction, improvement, acquisition and renovation.
An update on the SNAP building was given as well, in that plans are nearing completion for bidding on the building's construction. A meeting with the architects recently took place with final plans to soon be drafted, which will note a similar footprint with a better utilization of space and ADA compliancy.
Finally, a 1911 panoramic view of Sweetwater was recently donated by Leon Mays Fuqua of Decatur, which was found from his grandmother's belongings. The photo was framed by Weston Pyburn and will be housed in the city offices for public viewing.

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