Poteet council approves department head contracts

Poteet is being considered as the home of Brandlich Energy Solutions, Inc., which is a processing plant for recycling asphalt shingles. Howard Brand presented the idea to the Poteet City Council at their regular meeting on Tuesday, September 5. Giving some statistics about the current disposal of roofing materials, he described their process for recycling not only the oil in the asphalt, but the gravel and fiberglass as well. Total number of roofing squares discard each year into landfills is estimated to be 136,800,000 and they have a 300-year decomposition rate in those landfills. The process Brandlich uses a solution that is made up of 5.714% organic chemical and water to separate the raw components of the tiles and they are the only ones in the world to have this technology now.  Light sweet crude oil is extracted and can be sold to refineries. The other components can be sold for use in other industries, such as using the gravel for decorative sand, masonry or fracing sand. Oil can also be extracted from the tar paper and the paper itself can be sold to the pulp industry.

The processing plant will operate 24/7, but the construction or trucking will only be done during the daytime hours and the noise from the plant would be a minimum since the equipment is electrically run. There is no waste, no air or water pollution since everything is captured and reused by the plant.  They will receive product from Laredo, Corpus Christi and San Antonio. They plan to hire approximately 100-150 people in the first year. Plans are in motion for processing plants to be built in Houston, Dallas and San Joaquin, California. There was some discussion regarding lease requirements with the City Attorney, Bobby Maldonado. They are looking at leasing 15-20 acres of the land at the waste water plant area. Everything they do will be under roof, as well. If they get the go ahead soon, the plant operation would be up and running by the end of the year. A proposal was a percentage of the income from the plant and a percentage from their sister plant in Freer.  The council will take this all under consideration and decide at a later date.

Council members unanimously approved an ordinance for “Registration and Inspection for Rental Dwellings and Complexes and Rental Buildings.” This is instituted so that rental properties can be inspected and brought up to fire, health and safety codes. The code would hold the landlord accountable and there are fines for infractions. This would consolidate and update any current similar ordinance.

Nick Sanchez moved to accept the Animal Control Ordinance as presented, listing fines and fees, plus regulations for animal ownership. Susanna Perez seconded and also voting in favor was Estella Rocha, Richard Tuttle and Reynaldo Anzaldua. Mayor Albert Trevino was presiding, but cannot vote. These regulations will be available at the City Hall and will be posted on the new website.

Police Chief Bruce Hickman asked that the council allow him to apply for eGrants for body armor for his officers. This offer came down from the Governor’s office and is 100% grant funded. This armor is rifle resistant, which is stronger than any they currently possess. The council members agreed unanimously to apply for the grant.

There was discussion about an item that has been brought up before; giving department heads a contract of employment. Sanchez said that because of the actions of former city council members, he wanted to assure that department heads did not have to defend their position every month, as happened before. This would bring security to them and hopefully, take politics out of it. It was decided to direct the attorney to come up with a contract. Council will have to work on job descriptions. Perez voted against it.

The Planning and Zoning ordinance was approved in 1954 and was never instituted, so it needs to be updated. After some discussion, it was agreed that a P and Z Commission be established, set up with five or seven community members who will be appointed to staggered terms. Council also agreed to advertise for interested members.

Council voted unanimously to expand the City Administrator Eric Jimenez’s position from part time to full time employment for the same rate of pay. They feel he is doing a wonderful job.

Hickman asked the council to consider some sort of ordinance establishing regulations governing alarms. Several local alarms go off randomly at night, specifically the school and a business, and often, those with keys refuse to come down to take care of the problem, leaving police officers with the task of securing the buildings, which takes them away from patrolling. He would like a record of where the alarms are, who is responsible for them and the name of a second contact. Afterwards, if a false alarm goes off, they can monitor how many times and perhaps even pull their permits. Council approved unanimously.

They also approved filing an application with the USDA Rural Development for financial assistance to purchase library equipment. This is just the first step indicating intention to apply for the grant and if the specifics of it are not satisfactory, they do not have to continue with it.

Jimenez reported that the email and the website for the city is up and running under the address www.poteettx.org. He is working on getting an add-on that would allow payments for outstanding warrants to be accepted there. Currently, there are $1.5 million in outstanding fees. He has cut six to seven phone lines that were not being used, which will save the city $2,000 per month.

Hickman reported that the Police Department had nine arrests during the month of August and had 53 new case numbers issued. They answered 15 alarms at the school during the month. Officers answered 166 calls for service. They impounded 19 vehicles and one abandoned one, with 14 being later released. Collections for fees for the month totaled $3,708. Four vehicles have been sent to auction. He invited everyone to a flag raising ceremony on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. PD and VFD volunteers have been working to give the building a facelift, being motivated by the donation of the flagpole.

Meeting adjourned at 8:43 p.m.

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