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Meters, Grants, Protective Gear Among Topics Discussed By Cumby City Council

Cumby City Council members discussed a number of topics, including water meters, grant opportunities, safety equipment and gear for city employees. The meeting was conducted at the municipal building, with room for 10 in-person attendees only, but made available to others via Zoom videoconferencing.

Water Meters

Doug Simmerman

Mayor Doug Simmerman, during the Tuesday night meeting, asked the Cumby City Council to consider potentially replacing the RG3 water meters currently used with new Master Meters. The readers are designed to pick up the water usage amount digitally from nearby, with no manual reading. Some don’t work properly and the city is unable to tell how much water was used. When that occurs, the city has to average the bill or bill at base rate. The Master Meter would enable the meter reader, if the device doesn’t get a read on the meter, to stop and get a manual reading from the meter. This would provide an accurate reading, whether the in-vehicle shows a reading system or not.

Simmerman noted the packet presented to the council members included three quotes from Underground Utility Supply, a distributor that priced meters in different purchase increments so that not all meters would have to be purchased at one time, but could be bought in increments.

Another council member suggested checking to see if there are grants that the city could potentially apply for to help cover cost of replacement meters. No action was taken regarding the recommended purchase Tuesday night.

Grants

The contract for the new lift station was awarded. A preconstruction meeting is scheduled on the 21st. Timing of the project is expected to be among discussion. No start date has yet to be announced. The project requires ordering of three water pumps. Officials have been told it typically takes 3 months to get those in. A grant is helping to fund the project.

Jake McAdams with Public Management spoke with the city officials about potentially helping them prepare an application for a Community Development Block Grant Program Community Development Fund Grant. Amounts of $50,0000 to $350,000 can be requested to help fund water and sewer, drainage, gas system, road and street improvements or solid waste disposal/landfills to improve public facilities to meet basic needs or eliminate hazardous conditions. The city would only be responsible for

McAdams noted the scoring system for the grants has changed in the last year, but the City of Cumby might still have a competitive change at an infrastructure grant. If approved, the city could potentially receive funding in the fall of 2022. A 5 percent match would be required. Public Management would help coordinate engineering and any other requirements for the grant. The city would be out the cost to publish three public notices up front. If approved, Public Management would receive a payment from the grant funding. Major components of the scoring of grant applications include whether or not the city has received a grant in the last 5 years and match percentage; median household income is another factor that can be considered. If the city goes out for a grant, the application would be presented for approval in the spring.

Screenshot of the Jan. 12 Cumby City Council meeting conducted on Zoom

Other Items

The City Council discussed possible action on property at 204 Mill St. The structure had been condemned, one city official reported. One owner was thought to have died. Additional research is needed to be able to contact the subsequent owner so something can be done about the unsightly health/safety issue.

Place 1 Alderman Sheryl Lackey recommended a committee be formed to review policies and procedures and positions in the personnel policy and employee handbook to include updated language and legal requirements not specified to put the city in a better position to protect citizens and employees. A subcommittee including Lackey, Place 4 Alderman Betty McCarter and the City Attorney Leigh Thompson was formed.

Lackey also asked that the city begin looking for potential grants for safety equipment and personal protective equipment to better protect city public works employees. She said she met with them and asked what can be done to better help them do their jobs. Some issues were brought up as safety issues. She said they do not meet OSHA standards. It was pointed out that those employee regulations fall under the Health & Safety code.

The City Secretary was designated to attend public funds investment act training.

The City Attorney was authorized to create or approve an employment contract for police department employees.

A request for the small section of Cumby city limits in Hunt County to be included in a proposed Emergency Service District was also discussed.

No action has been taken regarding possibly having ag students involved in creating a book exchange or repairs to Park restrooms, as the other parties that were to be involved in both projects were impacted by COVID-19.

City of Cumby Municipal Building

Author: Faith Huffman

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