The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

July 23, 2013

Palestine City Council OKs new equipment purchase, water pump repair expense

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Palestine City Council kept Monday’s regular city council meeting short and sweet.

During the 30-minute meeting, council members approved a budget amendment allowing the Code Enforcement Department to replace the city’s mosquito sprayer.

The city’s old sprayer broke down and, according to city officials, replacement parts are no longer available for the apparatus.

“This is the prime time of year (for mosquitoes) — we really felt the need to stay on top of this,” interim City Manager Wendy Ellis said. “Especially with the West Nile case reported this year.”

Ellis explained the department had $8,623.88 — the cost of the new sprayer — in the budget under the department’s contract services line item and was requesting the budget amendment to move salary funds for a vacant position to the contract services fund to cover the cost of the new equipment.

“The contract services are the funds the city uses to demolish substandard housing and address other code violations like mowing and that kind of thing,” Ellis said. “Using the funds already budgeted for the vacant position will enable the department to continue with those efforts as well.”

Council members approved the request.

“I’ve noticed the efforts in cleaning up those substandard homes,” Councilman Vernon Denman Jr. said. “I think that’s a very positive thing for our community.”

Ellis added those projects are a cooperative effort between the city’s Development Services and Street departments.

In other business, the Council approved a $13,812 expenditure to repair the city’s 300 horsepower raw water pump at raw water pump station No. 2.

Utilities Director Robert Sedgwick told council members the pump’s check valve malfunctioned after a power outage occurred at the station on July 14.

“When the power went out, it slammed shut and broke the check valve,” Sedgwick said.

He recommended a 14-inch buffer swing check valve from Flowtech that closes slowly using hydraulic oil. Other bids included a stainless steel value which could break again under similar conditions and another hydraulically operated valve which would include a strainer and add significant operation costs.

The funds would come from the department’s Water Treatment fund, which currently has $86,364 remaining in it.

Also on Monday, the Council:

• APPROVED the appointments of Cody Harris and Cecelia Webb to places 2 and 3 of the Real Estate Committee, respectively.

• APPROVED the appointments of local business owners Vicki Hills, Dan Gleason and Lee Loveless to places 2, 6 and 7 of the Main Street Advisory Board, respectively.

• APPROVED the appointment of Mike C. Kelly to place 4 of the Parks Advisory Board.

• APPROVED a land lease for hangar construction at the Palestine Airport.

• APPROVED a contract with Traylor & Associations for grant management services under the city’s HOME grant.

The Palestine City Council meets every second and fourth Mondays of the month in the council chambers at the Palestine City Hall, 504 N. Queen St.