City manager's report

Marc Maxwell | Sulphur Springs City manager
The following is the monthly report given by Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell to the City Council at its Aug. 2 meeting:

NOVEMBER 1, 2005

ANNEXATION — At the previous City Council meeting, Councilman Joe Crouch suggested that we should begin looking at the possibility of future annexations to straighten out the boundaries of the City. The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) will take up this issue at its next meeting Nov. 21, at 6:30 pm. Anyone with an interest in or concerns about annexation may wish to attend. This will likely be the first of many meetings on this subject to be held by P&Z.

At some point, P&Z will likely make a recommendation to the City Council, and then the council will consider the matter. If the council decides to move ahead with the annexation, their action triggers a very public process with prescribed timetables and benchmarks. This is a very open process from P&Z’s first meeting to final passage by the City Council. There will be many opportunities for public input; however, I would encourage public participation in the process as early as possible.

HIGHLAND SEWER — This project is completed. The contractor has installed 2,280 feet of new sewer lines and he has connected the homes on Hillcrest Drive, Highland Drive and Woodcrest Drive to the new lines. The project had a budget of $181,597. The final cost is estimated at $160,000.

VARIOUS WATER AND SEWER — The Capital Construction Division completed a few miscellaneous water and sewer projects in October.  The projects were on McGrede Street, Mockingbird Lane and at the Civic Center. This closes out our efforts in the miscellaneous water and sewer line item for fiscal year 2004-2005. 

In recent years we have budgeted up to $230,000 for smaller water and sewer projects which invariably arise throughout the year. This year (2005-2006) we budgeted only $50,000 for various water improvements, and nothing for miscellaneous sewer projects. This leaves us unable to perform many small water and sewer replacement projects until the following fiscal year. 

I don’t want to give the impression that we have abandoned sewer improvements altogether. We have not. In fact we have budgeted $383,800 for larger water and sewer improvements which are either stand-alone projects, or are part of larger street projects. This is significantly less than last year’s budget of $841,289, but then again last year’s budget was unusually high.

WHITWORTH REALIGNMENT — Work began on the Whitworth Street railroad crossing last month. We are realigning Whitworth Street so that it will no longer cross the main Kansas City Southern Railways line. Rather, it will cross a spur which is used infrequently by trains.

This is not a part of our capital improvements plan. The project is a result of a prior agreement between the city, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) and Kansas City Southern (KCS). Under the agreement, the City would close Magnolia Street and realign Whitworth Street. TxDoT and KCS would reimburse the city for the cost of the Magnolia Street, and Whitworth Street projects, and they would install crossing arms at the remaining crossings in town.

The estimated cost of the Whitworth Street project is $235,046. The Magnolia Street project was completed last summer.

The completion of these projects along with the new crossing arms should significantly reduce the number of train crossing casualties over time.

REMAINING CIP PROJECTS — All capital improvement projects for FY 04’-05’ are completed. The table below compares project budgets with actual costs. A few projects were completed recently, and bills are still coming in. In those cases we have given our best estimate of the final cost. This should be fairly close.

ACCIDENTS AND CLAIMS — A water and sewer employee lost his footing and dropped a manhole ring on his hand. He has been off work for about 2 weeks. No word yet regarding his return.

Verizon has filed another claim for damages that they allege occurred last June at the intersection of Kyle and Gilmer. According to the claim, city crews damaged a conduit and 600 pair of telephone lines while connecting water lines from the Kyle/Bellview project to the Gilmer Street water main. The only problem is that we didn’t damage any cable. In fact, this was a relatively minor incident. Verizon’s contractor put a couple of clamps on the conduit, and in a few hours the contractor reported that he was finished, and that we could repair the street. This all seems like much ado about nothing. The claim has been denied by the TML risk pool. 

MISCELLANEOUS — Elsewhere around the city, employees:

  • Made 29 street repairs and patched several potholes.
  • Swept 48 streets.
  • Repaired curb and gutter and/or driveway approaches at 7 locations.
  • Repaired 18 sewer mains and/or sewer services.
  • Repaired 9 manholes.
  • Installed three new manholes.
  • Installed one sewer tap.
  • Installed one fire hydrant tap.
  • Replaced 16 water meters.
  • Repaired 38 water breaks.
  • Unstopped 29 sewer mains.
  • Responded to 113 fire/rescue calls including eight structure fires.
  • Conducted 55 fire inspections.
  • Tested and maintained 122 fire hydrants.
  • Made 134 arrests, wrote 408 citations,  worked 47 accidents and recorded 99 offenses.
  • Seized 202 pounds of marijuana and more than two pounds of methamphetamine, resulting in six felony arrests.
  • Attended Intoxilyzer training.
  • Attended training on counterfeiting by the U.S. Secret Service.
  • Honored Officer of the Year, Mike Morgan.
  • Attended S.W.A.T. training.
  • Responded to four hazardous materials environmental investigations.
  • Treated 163 million gallons of drinking water.
  • Recorded lake levels of -42 inches at Lake Sulphur Springs, and -108 inches at Cooper Lake.
  • Conducted 33 health inspections, and 71 public nuisance inspections.
  • Conducted 39 building inspections, 57 plumbing inspections, 43 electrical inspections, 28 mechanical inspections and issued 25 building permits.
  • Abated one substandard structure, bringing the total to 330.
  • Attended a TxDoT meeting on the State Highway 11 widening project and potential utility conflicts.
  • Installed electric power for airport security gate.
  • Repaired bar screens at wastewater treatment plant.
  • Responded to 249 animal control calls.
  • Took in 29 animals at animal shelter and found homes for 14, nearly 50 percent.
  • Checked out 16,334 books, tapes, etc.
  • Completed a new intermediate area at the library to be dedicated in November.
  • Flushed 47 dead-end water mains.
  • Treated 79,240,000 gallons of wastewater to an astonishing level of 1.01 mg/L, roughly one part per million.

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