By Edna Clark
The Town of Van Horn City Council met Thursday March 31 with all aldermen present. Minutes and financial reports were approved. Bills totaling $154,183.36 were paid for March invoices.
Council heard from Dion Corralez concerning departmental operations. An increase in garbage disposal and waste water usage has increased due to the influx of pipeline companies. The gas company completed its state survey with only minimal deficiencies. There were a few Grade II and III aboveground gas leaks which can be easily and quickly repaired. No underground leaks were detected.
Animal control employees will be setting more traps to capture the increasing numbers of stray dogs and cats. The City is asking citizens to contact city employees for problems in their areas.
City Secretary, Fran Malafronte, and Corralez made Council aware that several pipeline contractors need water for their projects – water that the Town of Van Horn could supply to them for $25,000 to $60,000 per month. This water would be pumped from seldom used city water wells, such as the Sanchez Well east of town, into a large water storage tank. Contractors’ vehicles would potentially have access to this water without affecting local citizens’ water services. Corralez was instructed by Council to gather information for possibly implementing this unexpected program and source of revenue for the Town of Van Horn.
Alderman Rudy Hinojos asked Corralez about East Fire Bush Street traffic congestion and garbage accumulation caused by Pilot Travel Center patrons. Corralez assured Council that he and his crews were monitoring the situation and would make recommendations for improvement in the area. Additional dumpsters have been installed, and extra garbage pickups have been implemented to alleviate some of the garbage overflow. Mayor Glenn Humphries stated that the city and the Pilot Travel Center corporate officials need to work together to find a solution.
Council approved the Final Budget for Fiscal Year 2016-17 as well as Ordinance NO 16-03-382, adopting the Town of Van Horn Final Budget effective April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017. According to Malafronte, this ordinance is a new government requirement devised to prevent indiscriminate changes to the annual budget.
Ordinance NO 16-03-383 was passed to amend Town of Van Horn Fee Schedules. Malafronte stated that a complete list of Fee Schedules is available in the City Hall offices and will soon be posted on the Town of Van Horn website. Pursuant to new changes in the Fee Schedule, there will no longer be corporate membership rates at the Mountain View Golf Course. The Blue Origin corporate account will not be subjected to the new ordinance as that account was the only corporate account in place and current. Council approved grandfathering in and continuing the current Blue Origin account for $700 annually for up to 10 members. For every additional 10 members, an extra $700 fee will have to be paid. No new corporate accounts will be accepted.
Ordinance NO 16-03-384 to amend compensation for the mayor and alderman was approved. This ordinance stated that no increase in compensation will be paid after May 7, 2016 elections.
Dion Corralez requested that the Van Horn Clean-up Campaign be implemented with Clean-up Day being set for April 23, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Prizes for the contest will be $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $100 for third place. Additional prizes such as electronic tablets will also be awarded. Prizes will be paid for the total number of garbage bags of trash that are collected, instead of per pound. Corralez stated that there would also be a contest for bulk garbage that is submitted. Lunch of burgers, chips, and drinks will be provided for participants at City Hall. Council approved all requests for Clean-up Day and encourages the community to participate and clean-up Van Horn.
Finally, Malafronte related that all paperwork has been completed on the fire truck grant and will be put out for bids shortly.