Sulphur Springs City Council made quick work of the May agenda, wrapping up the entire Zoom conference meeting in 40 minutes. During the May 5 meeting, the City Council approved one ordinance, two resolutions, a final plat request for Connally Corner Addition and heard about a few projects in progress or planning stages.
Ordinance No. 2766
The Council heard on second and final reading Ordinance No. 2766, which amends and updates Pretreatment Ordinance No. 2538. The new proposed ordinance is 40 pages and can be viewed on the city website.
City Utilities Director James Jordan Tuesday evening reported no substantial changes were made to the proposed ordinance since the first reading. In fact, aside from correcting a punctuation typo, there were no changes to the proposed amendment.
At the April council meeting, when the ordinance was first proposed, Jordan explained the city’s pretreatment ordinance requires industrial users to pretreat their wastewater to a certain standard. Changes are needed to meet Texas Commission on Environmental Quality requirements.
The ordinance, as proposed, “gives legal authority and outlines the procedures to implement a revised industrial pretreatment program. It sets sewer discharge parameters and requirements that each industry must meet in order to discharge into the city’s sewer system. The changes are required by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and should have no financial impact,” city staff reported at the April meeting.
City Manager Marc Maxwell at the April meeting noted only three industries in town produce any effluent, which would impact them. City staff recommended approving the ordinance request.
A public hearing was held. City officials received no calls on the phone line provided for citizens to address any comments on the matter.
The four members of the council unanimously approved the pretreatment ordinance as proposed.
Resolution No. 1192
The council was asked to consider approving Resolution No. 1192 in regard to Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC’s application for approval to amend its distribution cost recovery factor to increase distribution rates within the city.
“This is this thing we go through with Oncor, periodically, where they try to go up on their rates. They have proposed a rate. This resolution would deny it. Then, they would appeal it,” Maxwell said.
The city manager further noted that Sulphur Springs then joins other cities in an Oncor Cities Steering Committee to conduct a joint investigation of proposed rates. The current proposal would see the rate going up about about 88-cents per customer. The committee will investigate to see if that’s appropriate. If not, they will work with Oncor for an agreed rate.
After receiving no calls regarding the matter, the council approved Resolution No. 1192.
Resolution No. 1193
The City Council also approved Resolution No. 1193 showing support for Trinity Oaks Apartments‘ application to be submitted to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas for an Affordable Housing Grant.
Maxwell noted that Trinity Oaks Apartments representatives have appeared several times on the council agenda, applying for programs for improvements. The council supported Trinity Oaks’ efforts twice to apply to Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for funding. Trinity Oaks was unsuccessful in their application for assistance through tax credit programs. This time, the application is for a grant from a federal home loan bank.
“There’s really no down side. No participation on our part. Staff recommends approval,” Maxwell said.
The resolution was approved.
Presented for council approval was a final plat request for a 6-lot subdivision at the corner of Connally, Easy and Atkins Street.
Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski reported Pat Chase was asking to be allowed to create six lots on 1-acre tract of land to be call Connally Corner Addition.
Each owner will have a two-car garage with an option for a garage apartment upstairs, which could potentially provide supplemental income on property for the owner. It could also be a private studio or space for the resident, or left open and unfinished.
The lot owner will be required to live on site, either in the principal home or the garage apartment. Also, the property can’t be sold to a rental company. Stipulations to that effect are in the plat, according to the community development director
Upgrades to existing utilities, including sewer and water, will be in place on Easy Street, and the applicant has factored in an alley to provide rear entry to the lots. Variances for the project were granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The Planning and Zoning Commission also recommended the plat at their recent meeting.
The city engineer has gone over the plans and indicated satisfaction that it meets all city stipulations, including a recommended building envelop, according to Niewiadomski.
The council approved the final plat for Connally Corner Addition as recommended.
Maxwell elaborated on a few of the items on the 4-page city manager’s report he provided to the City Council.
The city manager was scheduled to meet this week to go over electrical and security specifications on the Grays Building, part of the improvements city voters last November approved for Pacific Park. Maxwell anticipates advertising for bids within in the next 30 days. During that time, dirt will be brought to the site to begin building the pad up, where the building will eventually be located.
The city is making preparations to burn a large brush pile at Coleman Park, he noted.
“This pile has been building for a few years. It is somewhere between the baseball fields and the lake office and tennis court. We are going to pick a day when we expect winds to be mild out of the southwest, so that the smoke will rise and blow away from Azalea subdivision and out over lake. By the time it crosses the lake, it will be well above the rest of the city,” Maxwell noted.
The city manager noted the significance of city staff having to repair only three broken water lines during the month of April.
“That is astounding. Two decades ago this number would have been 80 or 90. Especially in the summer time, we’ve had very high number before and we’ve seen the numbers declining. A good portion of the reason why it’s so low is the fact that the ground is saturated. We tend to see a lot of breaks during a dry spell when ground starts moving and withdrawing from the various pipes. And agian, we will see an in crease,” Maxwell said.
Another reason the number of water break repairs are so low, according to the city manager, is that over the years the city has often chosen street projects that have utility issues. Worst utility issues have been replaced first.
For example, the city previously had a choice between repairs on Houston Street or several other street projects. After having 13 water line breaks in one day on Houston Street, the city opted to replace it and rebuild the street. Since it’s repair, the city hasn’t had any water line breaks on Houston, Maxwell said.
The city noted that water lines over the last 24 years also have been replaced with C900 a PVC pipe estimated to have a usage life of 100-plus years. None of those pipes have broken.
“I think it’s remarkable that we’re making that kind of progress on the water breaks,” Maxwell told the council.