GORDON, TX – Tuesday night’s Gordon City council meeting started off with three alderpersons taking the oath of office to begin their two-year term. Albert Dickson and Sherry Pierce are continuing on the board and Pat Sublett is returning after several years of absence from the board.
Judy Cathey, during the public comments part of the meeting, gave an update on plans for the city-wide clean up this Saturday, May 16th from 8 a.m. to noon. Blake Rexroat and Cathey have set up a Facebook group “Inaugural City of Gordon Clean Up” offering up-to-the-minute information about the clean up and the ability to let them know you will help. Blake Rexroat said that he was pleased with all the response for help they have gotten so far for the clean up.
Barton Water Supply’s 40 year contract for water with the City of Gordon is about to expire and board members looked over the contract to see about needed changes. Barton Water Supply uses nearly as much water as the City of Gordon and has nearly as many meters. The main concern was that if the water plant needs to be expanded because of increased demand there needed to be something in the contract obligating Barton Water Supply for some of the cost of capital improvements.
The Aquatic Garden that has been discussed at several past meetings was once again on the agenda. The lease agreement had been presented to the city attorney for review. The attorney said that the city should discuss with a knowledgeable source, the fact that they are bringing in invasive plants. He also said it needs a legal description of the lease property, wording on invasive plants if they are allowed, public liability insurance of at least $2 mil per occurrence, clarified tax liability on tenant improvement so that tenant pays directly and removal of improvements on tenant’s termination of lease. After much discussion it was decided that they would continue to research the project further.
Albert Dixon was nominated for Mayor Pro-Tem by Sherry Pierce and unanimously elected.
The council voted unanimously to remove the $5 drought charge on water bills. The recent rains have filled Lake C.B. Long which automatically moves the city from Stage 3 back into Stage 1 restrictions, which is voluntary conservation. City secretary, Barbara Epperson said that Gordon is still on the TCEQ watch list. Being on the TCEQ drought watch list means that a public water system has greater than a 180 day supply of water remaining, but has not secured long-term water sources.
The agenda item to award bids for an emergency water supply line was tabled.
City employee, Josh Nolte had recently turned in his resignation to take a job at another water department offering a much higher salary and benefits. Now the council had to figure out how to meet the requirements for staffing the water department and prepare for water supervisor Kenneth Epperson’s future retirement. The city had hired Nolte with the plan that he would take the schools necessary to acquire his B license in preparation for Epperson’s retirement. Nolte received his Class B license a couple of months ago and was soon after offered the better paying position. Pat Sublett suggested that in the future they hire someone who already has their B license, have Kenneth Epperson retire and only have two employees. It was suggested that two employees would cost the city too much in comp time pay. The hours required to run the plant keeps two people working so much they can’t take all the time off they acquire. The problem of acquiring a B licensed operator and keeping them at the salary the city offers wasn’t resolved. It was suggested that they check with other water departments to get an idea of what B licensed operators are being paid. A motion was made to advertise for a Class B licensed operator, the motion passed 4-1.
The board approved purchasing a new meter reading device for $2,499. If possible, most of the funds for this device are to come out of a defunct law enforcement fund that has $2023.00. The city had a meter reader several years ago, but when the city’s computer was upgraded, the reader wasn’t compatible. This device makes meter readings more accurate and saves time.
Purchasing a roller that is used for paving was discussed but no action was taken.
The board approved reducing the probationary period for new city secretary, Shelby Cathey. The standard 90 day probationary period for Cathey is set to end July 13th. The request was to have it end at the next city council meeting so she could be officially hired June 8th. Retiring city secretary, Barbara Epperson has had July 1st set as her retirement date. Because of all the paperwork and signature cards that must be signed and taken care of after Cathey’s probationary term ends, Epperson was requesting the end date be moved up. This will eliminate any gap between when Epperson retires and Cathey is eligible to handle all the legal paperwork that comes with the job.
Bills were approved to pay and the meeting was adjourned.