City water facilities discussed

With a wide variety of items on the agenda, the City Commission met for its regular meeting on Tuesday morning, July 12, 2011 at City Hall.Two strong presentations were made during the meeting, one regarding inspections of the local water storage facilities. John Voller with the engineering firm Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd made the presentation, offering a handout with photos for the commissioners to peruse.Out of the nine total water facilities, five have been recently updated or are new. The other four were the main topic of the presentation.The elevated storage tank, which is over 80 years old, was updated in 1992 as a "temporary project". However, work still continues on the tank after 19 years. Voller noted that there have been talks of replacing the tank, yet he urged the group to begin serious considerations in taking action on the matter โ€” such as funding, the timeline and design.The other three water storage facilities had maintenance issues, such as a tank built in 1991. Voller recommended a planning stage for repairs to take place in winter or early spring based on low water consumption.Other maintenance issues discussed were for a facility near Interstate 20, built in 1972, which is rarely used but is still online and needs to be compliant to current standards. Another storage tank is located near the airport and was built in the 1980s, but last year's inspections found cracks which need repair.No action, however, was taken on the matter by the commissioners.The other presentation was given by Brian Grubbs of Southwest Securities regarding such issues as savings bonds, interest rates and reviewing financing opportunities. Through various changes, the city hopes to gain lower interest rates in order to lower payments and even generate some savings for the city.The earliest time to take action on the matter would be in the first part of August of this year, and a timeline of action to be taken was presented to the commissioners. Following the recommendation to pursue these savings, approval was given on the matter.Another discussed topic was in regards to the 2011 Redistricting Process, following the 2010 Census results that the city now stands at 10,906 in population. After some professional analysis, it was determined that some redistricting needs to take place.In order for the redistricting process to take place, however, a committee must be appointed. At the upcoming July 26 meeting, the mayor will submit one name, while the four commissioners will submit two names for ratification. The nine-member committee would take part in two meetings at most, and approval was given to take the required steps.In similarly related issues, an adoption for a resolution establishing guidelines for those submitting specific redistricting proposals during the process was also approved.And while no action was taken, the proposed budget draft for the 2011-2012 fiscal year was received and reviewed during the meeting. Progress has been made toward the budget since the budget retreat in January of this year, and a meeting on July 26 with additional meetings in August will further discuss the issue. However, approval was given in regard to the Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development (SEED) budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Presented by SEED Executive Director Ken Becker, the SEED board had already approved the budget at their meeting held on Monday, July 11. The one stipulation that was added was that, should the city decide to offer raises to its employees, SEED employees would be included in the grouping as well.In addition, Becker presented the action taken by the SEED board regarding the bid for construction on its 88 acre industrial property. The board also approved at its meeting for Epic Construction from Abilene to build the road, after recommendation from Enprotec/Hibbs and Todd who completed the bid process. The city approved SEED's action as well. Regarding both SEED and the city, the commissioners approved the authorization to seek bids for a bank depository contract. The process takes place every two years, in which the current contract is at its end.Also approved was for the city to enter an agreement with Tommy Morris Agency to represent the city as its broker of record and to evaluate competitive sealed proposals. The agency will assist the city in the considerations, as the city was given authorization to go out for bids and receive the competitive sealed proposals on self-insured group health, dental and life insurance benefits which will be considered at the Aug. 9, 2011 meeting.The city is also submitting an application, after receiving approval at the meeting, for a state grant in order to obtain a brush chipper for the city's refuse division. While the city has two chippers already, one is not large enough to meet the city's needs and the other chipper continually has maintenance issues.Furthermore, the Investment Report for the previous quarter which ended on June 30, 2011 was given to commissioners and presented by Carolyn Lawrence, which was also approved. The minutes from the meeting held on June 14, 2011 were approved as well.During the City Manager's report, Eddie Brown noted that the sales tax revenues are up 8% year to date and offered a positive preview of the July sales tax numbers. Positive progress also continues on the city's maintenance of dams, weed eating, brush clearing and mowing.On July 26, the next city meeting will be held to propose the tax rate and to schedule public hearings. Meetings in August โ€” tentatively on Tuesdays โ€” will also be scheduled to comply with Truth-in-Taxation laws.Fixed Based Operator at Avenger Field, John Howard, has opted to use the first of his two five-year extensions to his original lease contract. It will take effect on Aug. 15 of this year through Aug. 14, 2016.Both the Mayor and the Commissioners were asked to begin nomination considerations for two SEED board members to be named at a future meeting for a three year team which would begin this year on Oct. 1. Bill Johnson and John Jay are both at the end of their terms; Johnson has expressed interest in continuing on the board while Jay is not eligible to return.Brown also told the commissioners about the upcoming TML Annual Conference to be held in Houston on Oct. 11-14. Potential attendees need to inform the city's Executive Secretary, Kelli Ferguson.