Alba City Council OKs emergency planning

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The Alba City Council approved participation in the National Flood Insurance Program at last Monday’s regular April meeting at Alba City Hall.

Tully Davidson, Wood County emergency management coordinator, spoke about the importance of joining the National Flood Insurance Program. He said that once their participation is approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, residents will be able to purchase private flood insurance.

Although it may take several months, Davidson stated, he hoped FEMA would approve both Alba’s participation in the national flood plan as well as the Wood County Hazard Mitigation Plan by the end of the month. The county’s updated hazard mitigation plan was also adopted unanimously by the Alba council.

Travis Reed, an engineer with Schaumburg and Polk Engineering of Tyler, updated the council on his efforts to secure a loan through the Texas Water Board for sewer main replacements on Mockingbird and Quitman streets. He said a closing date on the loan could come as early as July 20, with design commencing immediately and work starting in early 2019. The discussion was timely in that the 10-inch wastewater main on Quitman Street recently suffered a complete failure. Only prompt and decisive action by Mayor Sonny Hass and Water Superintendent Paul Kelbe stabilized the failure and restored the area for safe vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Hass described the failure as a “very dangerous situation.” Regarding the 7 by 12 foot resulting hole, Kelbe stated the city is simply not equipped to dig that deep. The council resolved to pursue relationships with larger, better-equipped neighboring cities and local contractors to provide emergency services in any such future occurrences. Reed added that 90 percent of Alba’s service lines are four to five feet deep, with the mains being deeper, and mains at Mockingbird, Quitman, and College streets being the deepest.

The board conducted a healthy discussion on creating an occupancy ordinance addressing citizens residing in recreational vehicles. Alderman Tammy Kirkpatrick proposed a motion to conduct an informal survey of how other cities handle the situation, to collect information on other area ordinances and to form a committee to review and submit a recommendation. The motion passed unanimously and will be added to the May agenda.

In related action, the board agreed to solicit bids for ordinance codification with a view toward including the initiative in next year’s budget. The consensus of the council was to endeavor to contract a firm familiar with the East Texas area.

Other longstanding action items, summer work hours and work age requirements, were deemed by the council to be adequately addressed in the present personnel policy. A personnel policy review is presently 60 percent complete. Councilperson Marja Heinert stated the new policy addresses both issues.

Alba Library representative Cheryl Gill briefed the council on construction and placement of Little Free Libraries in the community. Alba-Golden agriculture mechanics students have constructed the book stations and placement is anticipated at City Park, the senior housing, Pay N Save and Golden Grocery. The council deferred action until next month’s meeting so they could view the construction, determine proper mountings and specific placement locations.

The board approved Judith Hammer as a citizen representative to the Alba Economic Development Corporation. Hammer was recommended for the position by the EDC.

Mayor Hass and Aldermen Kirkpatrick, Heinert, Larry Harris, and Larry Jones attended the meeting. Alderman Jonathon Mize was absent due to a work conflict that arose.

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