By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
Mayor Pro Tem Russ McDanel looked more like a prosecutor grilling a suspect than a city councilman Tuesday night as he pounded out reasons he believes Stephenville should slow down before spending $80,000 for a long-range water resources plan.
The proposed scope of the plan with HDR Engineering, Inc was to cover six major tasks and included such items as updating water demand estimates, population projections, effluent discharges and more.
There was plenty of dazzling data, but McDanel was unimpressed and reminded HDR representatives of recommendations about a supply line from Proctor Lake which has never actually exceeded an estimated eight percent of use among other recommendations he felt had not met expectations.
After a great deal of discussion spearheaded by McDanel, the council voted to table the matter. Councilman Alan Nix stressed the need to quickly return to the matter and Mayor Kenny Weldon echoed those thoughts.
“We need to be in the game. Not being in this study could end up putting the burden of future water needs on our taxpayers without the assistance of state dollars,” Weldon said. In order for Stephenville to be eligible for state resources it does have to have a valid strategic water resource plan in place that covers demand, surplus, supply and needs.
McDanel may have gotten his cue from councilman Doug Svien, who had a load of technical questions concerning the annual report of specialized billing, which was presented by accounts administrator Bruce Glover. Glover did have some good news in projections of a 10 percent increase in revenues largely based on software and computer upgrades that help with coding and billing organization.
While the council elected to do more research on a long-term water resources plan, it did approve a couple of professional service agreements with Schrickel, Rollins and Associates, Inc. for an $18,000 analysis of the Methodist Branch sewer system. and professional services for the 2014-2015 capital street project (Hyman Street, S First Street to Alexander Road) worth $35,000.
It wasn’t all about letting loose the purse strings as the council got some great news with a $50,000 agreement between Tarleton State University and the city for dispatch services. The agreement is not expected to generate any additional expenses for Stephenville and was unexpected revenue now going into city coffers.
Council members spent a good deal of time dealing with public hearings and zoning issues, approving a request by Ranger College to rezone a building (former bowling alley) from B-1 neighborhood business district to B-2 retail/commercial business. According to director of community development Judy Miller, the rezoning was in line with the city’s future use map and council gave unanimous approval.
The nominations committee recommended appointing Daron Trussell to serve on the parks and recreation advisory board. Councilman Rhett Harrison moved the council approve the recommendation unanimously.
The public health and safety committee brought forth a recommendation giving greater authority to Police Chief Jason King to designate restricted parking areas based upon city needs or emergency situations. The new ordinance also deals with stopping, standing, parking and other traffic and parking-related issues.
Attorney Brady Pendleton, who just left a seat on the city council after deciding to not seek reelection, presented a case for consideration to the council concerning storm water and sewer damage to a pair of residences during the past storms in May. Homes belonging to Steven and Sherry Coots and Donna Wesson suffered an estimated $90,000 in damages and Pendleton pointed out the city installed back-flow valves in the area after the flooding happened.
Due to the potential for litigation, city attorney Randy Thomas advised the council to avoid questions or comments pertaining to Pendleton’s concerns.
Mayor Weldon and the entire council offered praise for the Fourth of July parade and BBQ, Bands & Bottle Rockets celebration, pointing out they saw many happy faces and that the combined efforts of police and city staffers did not go unnoticed and was much appreciated.