Local Volunteer firemen, Jaime Santa Cruz, David Massey, Lyndon McDonald, Efren Hinojos and Michael Davis are shown with their new pride and joy–a new, 2000 gallon tanker firetruck obtained through a block grant through the Town of Van Horn. Another grant through the Department of Agriculture provided an additional $30,000 worth of much needed firefighting equipment.
Photo by Gilda Morales
By Edna Clark
As of Tuesday morning, February 14, only City Aldermen Incumbents Nuny Morriss and Lyndon McDonald have filed while CCAISD School Board Incumbent Trustee Letty Hernandez has filed to run for their respective positions in the upcoming Joint Elections.
On Monday morning, the Town of Van Horn City Council met with Mayor Pro Temp Pam Young presiding in the absence of Mayor Glenn Humphries. Best wishes and prayers for a complete recovery of Mayor Humphries were extended by Council members.
City Secretary Fran Malafronte presented Council with 2017 Joint Election worker pay rates which remain the same as in 2016. Those rates include a base rate for each person plus an hourly rate for time worked. Meals and snacks for the workers will be provided.
Citizen Pete Torres Jr. once again addressed Council with claims of incorrect gas meter readings. This time, however, Mr. Torres stated that his meter readings were accurate. He told Council that he was speaking up for others who allegedly have complaints about their bills.
When asked to submit the alleged billing statements for review, Mr. Torres refused. Instead, he threatened Council with legal action for alleged incorrect billing. All aldermen and Ms. Malafronte advised Torres that in the best interest of all concerned, the citizens with alleged complaints should come to City Hall with their billing issues.
Council approved an engagement letter from Knapp & Company, PC, for 04/01/2016 – 03/31/2017 auditing services.
An Emergency Request for financial assistance from Mrs. Becky Brewster, Executive Director of Rainbow Daycare, was received and reviewed. According to the letter, government assistance for the low income childcare facility has been drastically cut. This can potentially leave many minimum wage parents without a safe place for their children while they are working.
Council approved a one-time donation of $2,500.00 as a stop gap measure. Mrs. Brewster will be asked to contact Council for more funding if needed. Additionally, the amount that is currently designated annually for the Rainbow Daycare will be addressed and increased in upcoming budget workshops for 2017-2018.
To close out the meeting, Council adjourned to the adjacent Culberson County Visitors Bureau (CCVB) to resume discussions with the Pride General Contractors Project Manager about the substandard additions and repairs previously made to the building.
The CCVB auditorium flooring is pitted from apparent faulty floor installation.
CCVB Sr. Events Coordinator, Brenda Hinojos has received multiple floor care instructions; each set of instructions differing from the one before. A previous contractor had previously addressed Council with the need to have a different floor buffer to shine the floors. Yesterday’s Pride Project Manager advised Mrs. Hinojos that at no time should a buffer be used on the floors. Only clear water mopping and new wax applications should be used.
All of these discrepancies and more were discussed with the Pride Project Manager. Upon consultation with City Attorney Steve Mitchell, Council refused to sign off on any pseudo repairs that had been made. Mr. Mitchell advised Council that once all avenues have been used to rectify the CCVB condition, legal action can be taken to force proper reconciliation of issues that have plagued this project.
On a lighter note, the brand new Van Horn Volunteer Fire Department fire truck has been received and placed into service. Council members were given a tour of the state-of-the-art fire truck by Alderman Lyndon McDonald. The much needed fire truck is a result of previous Block Grant programs.