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Spring Signals Start Of Construction Projects In Sulphur Springs

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Spring signals a time of new things, and in Sulphur Springs, many are taking advantage of the warmer weather to begin construction projects – including road work, new apartments and multifamily housing units and business renovations. Four additional single family housing projects were green lit by city officials, and the city also approved a contract to jump start the Saputo sewer line expansion project, submission of a grant application for significant infrastructure improvements on Randolph Street and purchase of a used dump truck to better assist the city utilities department in their work, agreed to adjust rules to allow for electronic submission of proposals to make the bid process for city projects more competitive, and authorized the city manager to negotiate with entities for two potential economic development projects in Sulphur Springs.

380 Agreements

Four 380 agreements approved by Sulphur Springs City Council this week will allow for the construction of four additional single family homes, making a dozen infill housing agreements approved since the city adopted the policy last year. Once projects are complete, the city anticipates receiving an additional $12,000 in revenues annually as a result of the program, according to Sulphur Springs Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski.

SM Family Holdings was granted three 380 agreements which will reimburse the family corporation for permit and tap fees associated with construction of a single family home at 207 West Ross St., which is located just East of WA Street near Pacific Park; reimburse permit and tap fees as well as city liens on 209 West Ross Street, where a single family home will be constructed just east of the 207 West Ross; and to reimburse city permit and tap fees associated with construction of a single family home at 6134 Lamar St., which is located mid-lot between Beckham and Whitworth streets, also near Pacific Park. These fees will only be reimbursed upon successful completion of the homes within 3 years of the agreements being granted.

SM Family Holdings also in January also received 380 agreements to construct single family homes at 306 South Moore St. and 222 Craig St., and in February for 119 West Ross St.

Larry Shaw, the very first applicant to apply for a 380 infill housing agreement, was granted yet another 380 agreement which will help with demolition associated with clearing of the lot, permit and tap fees, and $2,200 in city liens owed on 202 West Beckham St. Demolition will be by the city’s capital construction department, an estimated cost of over $15,500, Shaw plans to subdivide the lot and construct two homes on the property, according to Niewiadomski.

The applicant previously received 380 agreements for reimbursements for fees at 206 Beckham Street and 943 Beckham Street; both projects are currently under way.

Sewer Main

Construction has finally begun on the Saputo sewer main, a $750,000 sewer project funded entirely by a grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture. The project is possible because of a $50 million plant upgrade at Saputo and their cooperation with the Texas Department of Agriculture.

City recently began construction of a new sewer main from West Industrial across I-30 and down East Shannon Road

The new main will supplement an older undersized main. The path of the new main begins at Saputo and continues under the interstate., then, continues south for 3,500 feet before connecting to an existing trunk line. The new main has a 15-inch inch diameter.

On April 6, City Finance Director Lesa Smith recommended Sulphur Springs City Council accept the lowest bid of $166,000 from D&D Pipeline of Longview, one of five companies submitting proposals, for the sewer line bore for the Community Development Block Grant project.

“They performed the work on the Saputo expansion itself. When Saputo did their expansion, they did some of the work and they were very recommended. What they will do is for 320 feet of sewer main under I-30, install the manhole and complete the connection to the work the city crews are doing,” Smith said. “Part of this bid includes their labor and the materials for their portion of the work as well.”

Mayor Johns Sellers noted a great variance of about $100,000-$200,000 in bid quotes, more so than usual. Niewiadomski noted that one factor include the high cost if they run into difficulties with the bore due to the distance involved; the bidder would have to “eat that cost.” D&D did the work for Saputo’s wastewater pre-treatment plan and discharge plan and are very familiar with how that works.

The City Council agreed to issue a contract to D&D for the sewer line bore.

Grant Application

Marc Maxwell was authorized at the April City Council meeting to act as the city’s representative for another Community Development Block Grant program application to be submitted to the Texas Department Agriculture. In January the City Council approved a grant administrator for the project by the May 3 deadline. The grant writers after reviewing a few potential options for projects, applying for a $350,000 grant to help fund infrastructure improvements on Nicholson Street was identified as the one most likely to meet qualifications and be awarded the grant.

The grant would replace water and sewer lines, allow for construction of a new concrete street and should allow for some drainage work on Nicholson Street as well. The grant is an 80/20 grant, which means that the city would be responsible for $87,500 of the $350,000 project. The city plans to include labor and equipment, as well as a $25,000 cash match to meet their part of the matching requirement, if awarded the grant.

Place 5 Councilman Gary Spraggins made the motion to approve the resolution authorizing city staff to apply for the grant for the project, which would allow the city to take advantage of the program which would only require the city to pay “20-cents on the dollar.” The motion passed.

Economic Development

The city manager also was authorized to meet with representatives to continue negotiations for two potential future economic development projects. The council discussed the potential projects, identified only as Project Hold fast and Project Flourish, during an executive session conducted 45 minutes prior to the regular April City Council meeting. The council then during the open portion of the meeting authorized Maxwell to continue negotiations regarding the projects. No additional information about the potential projects has been released, and will not be announced until negotiations are concluded and contracts are presented for approval to the City Council or a decision to not move forward with the projects is made, as is standard policy for such matters, according to city officials.

Zoning Change

Donnie and Allen Wisenbaker’s request to rezone their property on northwest Rockdale Road and State Highway 19 from single family to commercial has been granted. The Wisenbakers in March asked the Planning & Zoning Commission to consider rezoning the 11.74 acres, which consists of three tracts, to accommodate existing uses and future uses along the SH 19 corridor.

The property is surrounded by a mix of zoning designations, from light commercial to the east and the south, single family to the west, and light industrial to the north. City staff told the P&Z Commission at the March meeting that given the context of the area, heavy commercial is an appropriate use for the property. It also fits in with the land use plan of commercial along the SH 19 corridor, according to Niewiadomski. The request was approved by the Commission, who along with city staff recommended it to the City Council for approval.

Bid Policy

City staff are in the process of drafting a new policy which would allow business professionals to submit electronic bids and proposals in the future. Smith explained that over the last year that the city has received multiple enquiries as to where or no the city accepts electronic bids and proposals. She said offering an electronic submission option would be good, especially for timely bids, those which might only be good for a very short period of time. Allowing bidders to submit online would allow them to do so in an even more current and efficient manner.

Place 3 Councilman Oscar Aguilar said he foresees having the policy in place to accept electronic bids helping out the bid process in the long run, as it could mean more businesses participating in the bid process, making them more competitive and providing additional options on projects.

Texas Local Government Code requires cities to have a policy regarding electronic receipt of bids and proposals in place before the city can accept them. Sulphur Springs did not have one, so Smith asked City Council to consider approving a resolution approving rules which would allow the city to accept electronic bids and proposals.

The city will be required, per the government code, to utilize third party electronic bid software. Essentially, that would mean bidders could submit bids online through the software and the bid would remain sealed until the date and time established in the bid documents. At that time a staff member who has authorization to do so would go into the system and unseal the bids at that time. Each authorized city user would be required to have their own individual password and ID for login. The software, according to the government code, would also be required to have its own audit system which would show what each person did any time they used the software, which would validate that all bids remained sealed until the designated time. The system would also need to utilize the atomic US nuclear clock to ensure the bids are unsealed at exactly the specified time.

Smith said there are several software programs that offer different features, while others are on a per bid basis. City staff members are still talking with different vendors to determine which software program would be the best for the city. Allowing electronic submission could prove useful in the near future, as the city is nearing completion of the design for the new Senior Citizens Center, which means the construction process is not far behind.

Sulphur Springs City Council and staff members take their seats, after months of meetings conducted via Zoom.

Truck Purchase

Utilities Director James Jordan received approval Tuesday to purchase a used dump truck at a rate higher than originally budgeted. Construction and equipment costs have gone up since the amount was budgeted. Jordan said city staff has searched for a unit that meets their needs, but have discovered enough money for the needed purchase. They have located some units, but they do not meet the use needs for the utilities department. Jordan reported a 2006 Mack dump truck with approximately 370,000 miles on it that has been well maintained has been located in Kingston, Oklahoma. It has a 12-yeard demo bed on it that is constructed a little bit heavier than the city has in it’s current fleet of dump trucks, and is in mint condition for the age of the truck. The purchase is estimated to be about $9,000 above the $50,000 purchase limit which requires approval of the City Council before a purchase can be made. It will require a budget amendment

The city currently has two dump trucks, a 2003 International and a 1999 dump truck, which both have approximately 420,000 to 600,000 miles each on them. This would be adding another truck to the fleet which would allow the city to continue to maintain collection and distributions of materials. Typically, these truck are built to have an average life of 1 million miles, according to Jordan, who was excited to be able to make the trip to Oklahoma last week to collect the truck which will better equip city utility workers to perform their jobs.

Announcements

The City will be hosting it’s annual Spring Clean Up from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 12-17 at the site just past FlowServe on U.S. Highway 67. City residents can bring large items that are too large to be collected by sanitation works. This can include brush and other large items. Hazardous materials or chemicals will not be accepted. The city will accept up to three regular-sized car or pickup tires per household but not commercial, large truck or tractor tires.

Hopkins County Rodeo Committee will be having the annual UPRA Rodeo starting at 7:30 p.m. Apr l6-17. Doors open at 6. Tickets are available at Circle E and the Civic Center Box Office. A trick roper out of Florida will also be bringing his trailer town to provide an LED lighted show.

Cinco de May Festival will also be held downtown this year, with lots of food and vendors downtown.

“It’s going to be a fun day with Mexican music live. So they can come up here and do the Cha Cha Cha or whatever. Come join us,” Place 3 Councilman Oscar Aguilar invites.

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Author: Faith Huffman

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