Alba council votes to invest funds in city’s sewer system

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The city of Alba committed to a long-term improvement of the sewage system at last week’s regular city council meeting.

Council authorized the issuance of combined tax and surplus revenue Certificates of Obligation in the amount of $990,000, and approved the sale of the certificates to the Texas Water Development Board. The revenue will be used to replace approximately half of all of Alba’s wastewater lines.

The city will pay interest at a rate of 2.35 percent on the borrowed funds with payments subsidized by the Environmental Protection Agency through the state’s Clean Water Fund. Based on Alba’s 2017 revenues, officials predict some rate increase will be required to finance the debt. Given final approval of the transaction by the Texas Water Development Board, it is anticipated the transaction will close on August 1. Design will then commence immediately, with construction beginning in earnest around March.

Discussions regarding the job scope revealed the most efficient type of system would be a gravity flow sewage system, however most gravity systems are installed at a depth which would be too deep for the city of Alba to service for repairs. It may be possible to “shallow” the lines somewhat, and consideration will be given to the installation of a lift station. Water Manager Paul Kelbe summarized the discussion by stating, “We will figure out what the best solution is for the city of Alba.”

Council Member Tammy Kirkpatrick introduced the motion which was seconded by Alderman Larry Jones. The motion passed unanimously.

Council also approved a planned rate increase of 1.5 percent for household trash disposal requested by Sanitation Solutions, INC of Paris, part of the firm’s five-year contract with the city. The contract is in its second year.

Council Member Marja Heinert was elected to serve as Mayor pro tem for a second term. The council approved her election without dissent.

After a spirited discussion regarding the pros and cons of hiring a municipal ordinance firm to update and maintain city ordinances, council chose alternatively to create an ordinance review committee. As Alderman Jones explained, “I hate to spend money on what we could do for ourselves.” Newly elected Alderman Robert Kraemer noted he had already begun such a review.

By unanimous vote the council decided to advertise their surplus fire truck with the internet firm Fenton Fire Equipment of Portage, Pennsylvania. Only one query had been received regarding purchase of the fire truck after advertising the truck for sale in the greater Tyler area.

Council passed a resolution of non-support for the SWEPCO Wind Catcher Project. The vote followed a brief discussion of the CARD (Cities Advocating Reasonable Deregulation) efforts and discussion of the many unanswered questions regarding the project.

Council scheduled the annual budget workshop for Monday, July 23 at 6 p.m.

In attendance were Mayor Hass, and council members Kirkpatrick, Jones, Kraemer, and Larry Harris. Council member Marja Heinert was absent.

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