By CHRIS AGEE
A recent lack of rainfall has led city council members to waive the sewer averaging routine that usually sets the volumetric charge for residential sewer bills.
City Manager Lance Howerton explained at Tuesday’s meeting that residents’ sewer rates are ordinarily based on the average monthly water usage in December, January and February. That rate is carried throughout the rest of the year and is generally adjusted each April.
Howerton explained many residents take advantage of the billing method by limiting water usage during those winter months to keep sewer bills as low as possible. Since the city is experiencing an ongoing drought, though, he said many citizens are forced to use more water.
To remedy the situation, city staff recommended waiving the adjustment for 2013 and retaining existing averages set this year. Council backed the recommendation.
Council acts on Ventamatic project
According to material presented by Howerton regarding an ongoing Texas Capital Fund project involving Ventamatic LTD, the proposed construction of a new facility necessitates the transfer of the property’s ownership to the Mineral Wells Industrial Foundation.
Using an exception in the Texas Local Government Code, the property can be sold at market value, without a competitive bid process, if it is used for economic development purposes.
Howerton explained the property’s market value is essentially nonexistent because it is currently being leased by Ventamatic with an option for the company to purchase at a later date.
City staff recommended executing the special warranty deed, which would convey property ownership from the city to the industrial foundation.
Council members unanimously approved the action, allowing the Ventamatic project to continue.
Additional action – amending the lease between Ventamatic and the city – was required to finalize the property conveyance, which council also unanimously approved.
Moran named finance director
Council members unanimously approved the appointment of John Moran as the city’s finance director.
Howerton explained the position has been vacant for several months and recommended Moran, who has a decade of municipal experience, to replace Kathy Bannon.
“John is a native of Mineral Wells, so he’s familiar with our community,” Howerton said.
Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan presented information concerning a recently approved agreement with Sam Houston University allowing local officers to use the institution’s CRIMES software program.
In order to implement the system, Sullivan explained professionals must convert current law enforcement software to a compatible format.
Council members voted unanimously to allow the advertisement of bids for the conversion project.
Howerton presented city council members with seven substandard structured condemned by the Building and Standards Commission, recommending permission to advertise for demolition bids.
Council members voted unanimously to authorize staff to receive bids beginning Jan. 2.