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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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September 11, 2013     Hays Free Press
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September 11, 2013
 

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Page 2A i NEWS Hays Free Press September 11, 2013 ___ re___ee ress The Hays Free Press (ISSN 1087-9323) published weekly by Barton Publications, Inc., 122 N. Main St., Buda, TX 78610. Periodicals postage paid at Buda, TX 78610 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Barton Publications, Inc., RO. Box 339, Buda, TX 78610. ISSN#1087-9323 NEWS TIPS If you think it's news, we probably do too! Newsroom phone: 512-268-7862 E-mail: news@ haysfreepress.com Mail: 113 W. Center Street, Kyle, TX 78640 CORRECTIONS Any erroneous reflection upon the character, standing or reputation of any person, firm or corporation which may appear in the pages of the Hays Free Press will be corrected upon being brought to the attention of the publisher. DEADLINES The deadline for display advertising and any contributed news copy in the Hays Free Press is 5 p.m. Friday the week prior to publication. The deadline for Letters to the Editor and classified word advertising in the Hays Free Press is noon Monday the week of publication, though we encourage readers and advertisers to observe the Friday deadline. LETTERS GUIDELINES We welcome locally wren letters to the editor on timely topics of community interest. We ask that you keep them to about 350 words in length and that you not indulge in personal attacks on private individuals. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity. All letters should be signed by the author and include a daytime phone number where the author can be contacted for verification. Letter writers are limited to one letter per month. Letters can be emailed to csb@haysfreepress.com. HISTORY Founded April 10, 1903, by Thomas Fletcher Harwell as The Kyle News, with offices on the corner of Burleson and Miller Streets in the town's oldest remaining building. It merged into The Hays County Citizen in 1956. The paper consolidated with The Free Press in October, 1978. During its more than 100- year history the newspaper has maintained offices at more than a dozen locations in Kyle and Buda. Kyle's water tanks in dire need of repair BY ANDY SEVILLA andy@haysfreepress.com As the newly configured three-person Texas Water De- velopment Board, which was sworn in 1hesday, begins to delve into the water woes of a drought-stricken state, soon too they will consider Kyle's request for a three-quarter- million doilar loan to rehab the city's water stor- age tanks in need of "urgent" care and to develop a water and waste- water model. At their July 16 meeting, council members gave the go-ahead to pursue the $750,000 loan - over a 20-year period - that ac- cording to the city's finance de- partment would costs between $65,000 and $75,000, depending on interest rates at the time of closing, in annual debt service. "It will be necessary to adjust the water and wastewater rates to cover the annual debt service payment for this 20-year loan," Kyle Finance Director Perwez Moheet said in the fiscal note attached to the loan. Water and wastewater rates have been on an upward path for the past several years in Kyle and customers can expect prices to increase, once again, by 20 percent and 10 percent for water and wastewater, respec- tively, come Oct. 1. This increase is the third in a three-year plan that was scheduled to level out the city's Water and Wastewater Utility Fund. Rates, however, may have to in- "It will be crease again ifthe Texas Water De- necessary velopment Board to adjust the (TWDB) accepts the city's loan re- water and quest and council members then wastewater decide to enter into the loan. rates to cover "The princi- pal and interest the annual payments on this 20-year loan will debt service be due beginning payment for next fiscal year (FY 2014)," the this 20-year fiscal note read. Joshua More- loan," no, the city's grants admin- -Perwez Moheet, istrator, said he Kyle Finance Director submitted the completed ap- plication for the $750,000 loan to the TWDB last week. Once that application is sub- mitted, the water board mem- bers could consider the city's loan request in as soon as 60 days, Darrell Nichols, who helps oversee the State Loan Program Texas Water Development Fund II (DFund), said in a telephone interview last week. If approved by the TWDB, Kyle would use $450,000 for the rehabilitation of four city water storage tanks, $150,000 for wa- ter system modeling software and $150,000 for wastewater system modeling software, ac- cording to city documents. The four tanks identified as needing "urgent" and "exten- sive" repairs are: Rebel Road GST (ground storage tank) #1, Roland Lane EST (elevated stor- age tank), Well 3 Standpipe and Well 3 EST, according to the city's resolution. The water and wastewater system models are necessary for evaluation of the existing and future capabilities of the city's water and waste- water systems, the resolution states. The Rebel Road GST is one of three pumping systems the city has to access groundwater from the Edwards Aquifer. This tank is "key" to meeting peak summer demand and is "the single most important pumping structure we have to respond to emergency loss of surface wa- ter," according to an Aug. 7, 2012 presentation by Jason Biemer, city utility coordinator. The Roland Lane EST sup- ports pressure and fire flow at the far south end of Kyle, and it has been identified as second in repair priority, following the Rebel Road GST, according to the presentation. The Well 3 Standpipe and EST support approximately 30 percent of the water needs in the city's northwest quadrant during the summer, the presen- tation states, adding that repairs should be made simultaneously to maximize cost effectiveness and minimize disruptions to PHOTO COURTESY OF THE KYLE PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT / Texas Tank Service inspecled Kyle's water storage tanks in 2012 and found several in need of extensive repair. Repairs for the Rebel Road GST (pictured above) include replacing and enlarging the roof ventilation system, replacing tank entry system, replacing metal roof support system and recoat entire interior of tank, among other things. operations. Some of the "urgent" needed repairs to the storage tanks in- clude repairs and upgrades to the roof ventilation systems, metal fatigue, tank contamina- tion preventatives, and re-coat- ing, among a plethora of other problems identified in tile pre- sentation. Despite the "Urgent" needed repairs, "at no time has the safety of the water Supply been compromised. W4 con- tinue to meet or exceed all wa- ter quality and safety rules and regulations," according to the presentation. If the TWDB approves the city's loan request, Kyle would have up to two years to issue debt, according to city docu- ments. Kyle would have to issue Cer- tificates of Obligation bonds in the amount of the loan, plus is- suance costs, to obtain TWDB funding. The water board would then purchase Kyle's CO bonds with the debt the water board issued to cover the loan. Kyle owns and operates 14 elevated and ground water stor- age reservoirs. The TWDB loan would finance the rehabilitation of only four water tanks. The city will also soon need to address the expansion of its wastewa- ter treatment plant, which city officials have estimated to cost upwards of $4 million. Kyle council torn on search for municipal court judge BY ANDY SEVILLA andy@haysfreepress.com Kyle council members are moving forward with the search for a municipal court judge be- fore Sundra Spear's appoint- ment automatically renews for another two-year term. The council decision last week to request Letters of Interest and Statements of Qualifications for the position, was approved in a split vote, after two council members dissented moving for- ward to potentially replace the judge who has served in the post for the past decade. "She's been our judge for the past ten years, or so. I know that when we hired her, we hired her because of her experience and the education that she has," said council member Becky Selbera who joined council member David Wilson in casting the two dissenting votes. "I believe that our citizens that has (sic) come before the judge, the judge has been very thoughtfltl to them, she has respected the court and the city as far as our citizens." Spears was first hired to serve as Kyle's Municipal Court Judge in Jan. 2004, and according to state law a municipal court judge serves in defined two or four year terms. In Kyle, a municipal court judge serves for two-year terms and Spears' present term expires on Jan. 24, 2014. "I don't think that it's fight for us to move forward with an RFP (Request for Proposal) when our judge has been excellent at her job. I think that we're just mak- ing a huge mistake," Selbera told council members at their Sept. 3 meeting. But, council member Saman- tha LeMense said she brought the matter to the attention of the council not because Spears has done a "poor job," but out of fis- cal responsibility. "I feel that it is our responsibil- ity as a council to make sure that we spend our money wisely;" Le- Mense said. "I do hope that she (Spears) does apply for this, but I also think that it is something that we should take alook at and make sure that we are still get- ring the most for our tax dollars and the most for our citizens." Spears' salary for the present fiscal year is $24,213.54, plus an $85 cell phone allowance. Spears' position is part-time, and the city also pays for her share of federal employment taxes, medicare and"health in- surance. She began at a salary of $2,000 per month, or $24,000 an- nually; in 2004. "I'm very happy with the judge, both in price and what she's able to perform," Wllson said. "I think the citizens and the city of Kyle are very well served, and I don't want to communi- cate this to the judge as us not being happy with her - and it's to that point that I'm concerned and not really in agreement with this one." But, not everyone on the dais agreed that an automatic renew- al of Spears' contract was the right step. "It would be irresponsible for us, no matter how good any city employee was, to continue to automatically renew a contract every two years for the last de- cade with very minimal review of the contract, (and) of her perfor- mance..." said Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson, adding that she is con- fident in the city's RFP process. "This is a healthy exercise. I think when we begin to become loyal to our employees over a se- res of years, above the loyalty we have to our citizens, that's when city government starts to break down," Johnson said. Spears was not immediately available for comment, but Kyle City Manager Lanny Lambert told cotmcil members that "she wasn't pleased" with the process. Council members have voiced concern over Spears in the past, as she was tmwilling to provide magistrate services on occasional weekends and HAYS COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING FOR PROPOSED TRANSPORTATION REINVEsTMENT ZONE, NUMBER ONE PUBLIC HEARING LOCATION CORRECTION This notice corrects the location of the September 17, 2013 Public Hearing as previously advertised in the September 4, 2013 issue of the Hays Free Press. The correct location of the Public Hearing is the Hays County Courthouse, Room 301, 111 E. San Antonio Street, San Marcos, Texas 78666. holidays at the Hays County Jail without more pay, despite an in- formal agreement between Kyle and the county. Spears wrote a letter to Hays County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Beth Smith, who handles the scheduling of magistrate ser- vices at the jail, informing Smith that she would no longer volun- teer magistrate services in 2013 as her contract with the city did not call for ttt service and she was not getting paid to do it. This move came about after Spears unsuccessfully requested a raise in the 2012-2013 fiscal year bud- get. She, along with all other city employees, received a 3.5 per- cent cost of living adjustment (COLA). According to the city's time- line, Letters of Interest for the part-time position will be ac- cepted until 5:00 p.m. Sept. 24. On Oct. 7, council members will interview selected candidates, which could include Spears. Council member will select their lone candidate for the posi- tion on Oct. 8 and they will sign- off on a two-year contract with the candidate for service as mu- nicipal court judge on Oct. 15, according to the timeline. "This proposed timeline will allow City Council to follow the 90-day notice requirement be- fore the current Municipal Court Judge's contract expires on Janu- ary, 24, 2014," city documents state. NOTICE OF TAX REVENUE INCREASE The Plum Creek Conservation District conducted public hearings on September 5, 2013 and September 12, 2013 on a proposal to increase the total tax revenues of the Plum Creek Conservation District from properties on the tax roll in the preceding year by 7.317073 percent. The total tax revenue raised last year at last year's tax rate of 0.021000 for each $100 of taxable value was $598,039.62, The total tax revenue proposed to be raised this year at the proposed i tax rate of 0.022000 for each $100 of taxable value, excluding tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year, is $631,736.02. The total tax revenue proposed to be raised this year at the proposed tax rate of 0.022000 for each $100 of ta revenue to be raised from new property year, is $650,586.00. The Board of Directors is scheduled te will result in that tax increase at a pub September 17, 2013 at the PCCD Offi, Antonio St., Lockhart, TX 78644 at able value, including tax added to the tax roll this vote on the tax rate that Lic meeting to be held on Building, 1101 W. San P.M.