The City of Palestine maintains four lakes within the city limits: Blue Lake, Lower Lake, Upper Lake and Wolf Creek Lake.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality inspected the four areas in 2019 for deficiencies and named all for as lacking proper record keeping on the maintenance and structural upkeep. Blue Lake was noted as being in the most need of repair. Blue Lake restricts water from flowing without restriction to Bassett Road and Salt Works Road where the city has had water problems for many years.
The city made pre-application for a Flood Infrastructure Fund Grant and Loans through the Texas Water Development Board in 2019.
TWDB reviewed the pre-application and invited the city to make a formal interest for the grant\loan in case funding comes available.
Abriel Carillo with KSA Engineering said that by not approving the City’s request in the pre-application process it is not saying they would not approve it, but if any funds are left over the city’s needs are on their short list.
The loan for the repair and maintenance would be for 942,000. It is a 30-year loan at very low or 0% interest. The money would be paid back at 31,400 a year for the 30-year period. Carillo said that, in the past, the loans have been forgiven after several years of payment.
Mendi Chambers, Interim Emergency Management Coordinator for the city of Palestine, said in addition to the loans, with the grand money also available, the city could receive up to $1.2 million in funds for the four lakes. And that much work is needed at the four city lakes.
Mayor Steve Presley would like more engineering studies to determine if Blue Lake could be drained and eliminated. He said a study would be needed to determine the impact of elimination of the lake.
“The water-shed is small for Blue Lake,” he said.
Council member Vicki Chivers, whose district Blue Lake is in, said that she had received very little input from her district residents about the lake.
Presley said he believes the money for repair and maintenance could be better used for problem flooding areas like Bassett Road.
Other action by the council included:
• Approved a settlement for $880,000 with Lone Star Equipment on the Sanderson Farms Road construction lawsuit.
• Approved $15,000 out of HOT Funds for International Great Northern MOPAC hospital building repair where Hope Station is located
• Approved $15,000 for marketing The Polar Express at the Texas State Railroad
• Approved $72,633.12 for a contract with Central Square Technologies LLC for software and training for the Police Department to transition their records over to a compatible system and eventually go to a paperless system.
• Discussed CARES Act spending and deadlines.
• Discussed Church building on N. Sycamore updates on action by owner to secure the building and partial demolition.
• Announced that due to the pandemic the annual Veterans Breakfast hosted by the city will not take place this year.
• Discussed Health Department inspections are resuming.
• Discussed leaks and mold in the library.
• Discussed accounting system problems with how Sales Tax Revenue is calculated.
• Approved Suzanne Eiben as new member of Palestine Economic Development Corporation Board.