A bid for roofing for the Grays Building, 3 new track loaders and contract for elections services were approved by Sulphur Springs City Council at the regular October meeting held earlier this week via Zoom.
Work on the new Grays Building in Pacific Park continues, with the approval of a roofing bid, pouring of piers and plumbing work.
City Finance Director Lesa Smith reminded the council that the decision was made at a previous meeting to rebid the roofing, as costs came in quite a bit higher than project. More than 40 notices were sent to potential bidders for roofing, gutters and sidings for the Grays Building.
The city received four responses: a bid from Griffith Roofing for $83,795, a bid from Diamond B. Roofing of $83,582.75 plust a $2,700 required add on for a total of $85,282.75; a bid from Inman A+ Gutters of $151,341 and a bid of $178,100 from Hefner Roofing.
The City Council accepted Smith’s recommendation that the bid be awarded to the low bidder, Griffith Roofing.
City Manager Marc Maxwell also reported that city staff will be handling quite a bit of ground work for the project, lead by Public Works director Russ Nuss, a master plumber.
The piers for the Grays Building have been poured to a depth of 18 feet. The Capital Construction Division is installing the below grade plumbing. After the plumbing is roughed in, the city’s master electrician, John Smith, will install the below grade conduit for electrical circuits. Potts Concrete Construction will then finish constructing the concrete foundation.
Compact Track Loaders
The city also budgeted, in the enterprise budget, for 3 compact track loaders, commonly called skid loaders, to replace two currently being used by the city’s concrete and pipe crews in the Capital Construction Department and a third units is being used by the water and sewer distribution crew. The old skid loaders have required about $26,000 worth of repairs over the last 3 years. City staff budgeted for new units to replacing the aging equipment.
City Director of Public Works Russ Nuss recommended purchasing 3 skid loaders at a rate of $62,677 each, to be paid out of the city’s enterprise fund. The units would be purchased from the CAT dealership in Sulphur springs through Buyboard purchasing cooperative.
Sulphur Springs City Council approved the purchases as recommended at their meeting conducted Oct. 6 via Zoom conferencing and streamed on YouTube for the public to view.
City Secretary/Elections Officer Gale Roberts asked the City Council to consider approving a contract with the Hopkins County Election Officer to conduct the Nov. 3 City Council Elections.
Per a proclamation for Gov. Greg Abbott, the city’s election was moved from May to November, due to COVID-19 pandemic. The contract would allow the city to partner with the county for election costs to hold the city council election concurrent with county elections. City Secretary Gale Roberts will continue to prepare and post all notices as required by law, including order of election and notice of election, and will accept financial report, draw for a places on the ballot and prepare the ballot. The election officer will provide election services such as programming, testing of equipment, procuring of election workers and other duties.
Maxwell noted that Roberts plans to retiring in December 2021 or shortly thereafter. The contract would benefit the city by having someone who can provide election services when the new city secretary is hired. This contact would help with the transition.
According to city staff, the city has budgeted for election costs, although the exact cost isn’t known, as the city has no way of knowing how many other entities have contracted with the county for election services. (The City of Cumby and Miller Grove and North Hopkins ISDs have also called for city council and school board elections, respectively.)
The Sulphur Springs City Council Election ballot will include two candidates seeking Place 5 on the council and 4 candidates seeking Place 1 on the Council.
The City Council approved the elections service contract between the City of Sulphur Springs and Hopkins county as recommended.
Maxwell also noted that the city has continued to suspend the practice of cutting off water service for non-payment for several months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the number of active COVID-19 cases continues to be between 30 and 90, with 74 active cases and nearly 400 COVID-19 tests conducted at the free testing site from Sept. 25-Oct. 5, Maxwell said the city currently is continuing the policy of not shutting off service due to non-payments.
However, the city manager noted some account balances have grown quite high. As of this week, 6.3 percent of all accounts were in arrears, with 143 of the 423 accounts more than 90 days behind.
Maxwell said the current plan is that cutoffs won’t be reinstituted until after a vaccine is available. At that time, the city will have to decide how to proceed regarding delinquent accounts. He anticipates requiring those who are behind to pay the current bill, plus 1/6th-1/12th of the back amount to avoid having their water service cut off.
Smith also reported that the fiscal year 2019-2020 “ended very well despite everything that’s going on,” leaving the city in “good shape overall.”
General fund revenue came in $794,879 under budget, but without the one-time revenue the city has not received yet it appears to leave the city with a surplus of $96,066over the budgeted amount , Smith reported.
Smith said sales tax revenues also came in $289,372 over budget, even with the pandemic.
The city has 667,943 pending from CARES Act pending. Expect to receive $ from Texas Department of Emergency Management over the next 30-60 days. The city plans to request reimbursement for $890,000 later this year.
Overall, across all funds the city finished $2.188 under budget, according to Smith.
During the public forum portion of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Jay Julian phone in to ask the council to consider a youth city council initiative to actively engage young people in the municipal process.
“Authentic youth civic engagement provides young people meaningful
opportunities to contribute their experiences, knowledge and solutions to
city issues,” Julian said. “I feel a youth council is a great way to promote civic pride and provide a foundation to spring-board our youth’s interest in municipal government. Our future crop of leaders are in our youth.”