The Poteet City Council held the regular monthly meeting on March 2, with Mayor Willie Leal presiding. Members present were Nicholas Sanchez, Denise Sanchez, Rick Flores and Jesse Leal. Richard Castillon was absent.
The first motion was the approval of the consent agenda, which consisted of the minutes of the last meeting of Feb. 2 and the special meeting on Feb. 12. It was approved unanimously.
Engineering Company Approved
The city is in the process of applying for a Texas Community Development Block Grant and needed to select an engineering company for services for the application and subsequent engineering contract if the grant is accepted.
Five companies submitted bids and were scored by a committee that included the mayor and City Manager Eric Jiminez. Nick Sanchez moved to approve the company choice, with Leal seconding. Denise Sanchez voted against since she was not consulted in the selection process.
Richard Gibbens presented a proposal from the Performance Services, Inc. for an investment grade audit of all cityowned properties.
They looked at the lighting, air conditioning and water meters throughout the city. He suggested that they replace the street light bulbs with LED ones, replace interior lights with those as well, and added that many of the fixtures are obsolete and will need to be replaced. Replacing those can save 50% on electricity.
The water meters are manual read that are old and therefore are not giving an accurate reading. He suggested Advance Metering Infrastructure which can be expanded at any time and can be accessed from a smart phone or computer, can detect leaks and has remote shutoff. The waste water plant, he said, was the best he’s seen in all his years in the business.
In short, he recommended LED lighting in all areas, UV lighting in air conditioners to get rid of germs, replace old air conditioners, install programmable thermostats and replace the water meters. These will pay for themselves in seven years by lowering the utility bills for the city and bringing in more revenue for the water department. At the cost of $122,000, he guarantees that they will save money or the company will pay the city the difference.
Each of the council members were interested, but wanted to see firm figures, which could not be given until the audit was done completely. It was settled that he would send a list of all those cities he’d worked with and a copy of a normal contract, without the figures in it so they could look it over. Once a project and costs were agreed upon, it would take six to 12 months to complete.
Bill Lay asked the council to enter into an interlocal agreement with the County so that they could use the services of the 911 Rural Address clerk.
The addresses in the city are often not correct, some places even having more than one address. For the safety of the citizens and the aid of the first responders, all addresses need to be updated. That way they can be placed on the county 911 map, clarified for the Appraisal District and updated for utilities and the post office information. There would be no cost to the city for this assistance.
N. Sanchez moved to approve the item as read, with D. Sanchez seconding. Motion passed unanimously.
Lay, the Building Official, presented a request for a variance for a 28 new manufactured home park at 9th Street and Avenue M. The owner wants to use caliche instead of concrete running pads. A soil sample will be taken to engineer the depth and compaction needed. The variance was approved unanimously.
Mayor Pro Tem Sanchez had an item up for discussion regarding tax abatement for small businesses. The City Attorney explained that abatements currently exist for economic development where buildings can be upgraded for old or new businesses. The abatement only applies to the improvements, not the original tax on the building. These abatements usually last for 10 years and are only on city taxes, not school or county taxes. Since the business owners are putting in new infrastructure, without the city spending any money. The mayor said that he did not think they could afford to do this now due to the effects of the lockdowns. D. Sanchez asked who would want to open a business at this time. There was no action since this was for discussion only.
Annual Police Report
Police Chief Bruce Hickman briefly discussed the report, which included the racial profiling figures that were filed as required earlier in the year. He said that with the lockdowns, they were not able to have a normal Blue Santa, but managed a drive through for it. They were able to get masks under the federal COVID grant, as well as some new signs. The shooting range is being used quite a bit now, with different counties and organizations using it. The department has moved into the old Appraisal District building, after being renovated by the officers. There are still things to be done outside. During the year, they only received two notarized complaints.
Mayor Leal said that the Strawberry Festival will take place as usual beginning on April 9. The general election for three places on the council will be held on May 1 at the Junior High Café. Early voting will begin April 19 at the Poteet Public Library.