Council

Council Members Beckey Thompson, Gene Lockhart and Stephanie Muller at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The Commerce City Council voted to table a measure that would authorize a street condition assessment and passed several items at its May meeting on Tuesday.

Mayor Wyman Williams and council member Jean Klaus were not in attendance, with Mayor Pro Tempore Gene Lockhart presiding over the meeting. The swearing-in ceremony for Williams was postponed as he was out with a medical issue.

Much discussion was had regarding a measure that would allow City Manager Darrek Ferrell to negotiate and execute a contract with Halff Engineering for a street assessment report.

Halff had performed a report for the city in 2011 that identified the condition of the city’s roads and recommended ones for repair. In that study, more than 74-percent of the city’s roads were listed in at least “fair” condition, according to Ferrell.

Ferrell said that these assessments usually are obsolete after five years, and recommended performing an updated study. Halff would be performing the assessment with updated technology, using special vehicles outfitted with Dynatest sensors, which can determine the structure and condition of pavement. The proposed cost of the contract would be $55,400, with Ferrell stating that there were available funds in the city budget due to savings on other projects.

Council members Beckey Thompson and Stephanie Muller began questioning Ferrell on what exactly the study entails and what would be done once it was complete. Ferrell explained that part of the study is to assess how much the cost of necessary repairs would be, as well as assisting in finding funding sources for needed projects. Ferrell added that the assessment would take roughly four months to complete.

Thompson stated that she did not feel comfortable passing a vote on the measure without sitting down and hashing out the details.

“This is a lot to take in at one time,” Thompson said. “I would be more comfortable with sitting down and letting me ask all of the questions to get a better grasp of this.”

Ferrell said he was open to having a separate discussion at a later date, but made clear that he would not be able to answer questions about how much specific projects would cost without the advantage of the study.

The council voted to table the measure for a later date.

Council members also voted to amend a current contract between the city and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District.

The contract was signed in 1990 to allow the UTRWD to buy the city’s water rights from Cooper Lake for up to 150 years. Starting in 2041, the city would be able to have access to 25-percent of the water rights for a reimbursement estimated to be as much as $2 million. This process can be repeated every 25 years, taking an increased portion.

Both sides were wanting to amend the contract, and an amended version that allows the city to acquire water at any time and removes the reimbursement, as well as removing a five-percent payment from the UTRWD to the Corps of Engineers and the Sulphur River Municipal Water District associated with the city’s water rights in Cooper Lake.

The amendment was passed unanimously.

An ordinance was passed on second reading that prohibits the use of shallow groundwater underneath the former Covidien property at 400 Maple Street. The ordinance now goes on the books after the second passage by the council.

The council was reorganized, as is custom following an election. Lockhart was named Mayor Pro Tempore, retaining his position. Newest council member Muller was named as an Ex Officio member of the Commerce Economic Development Corporation, and Klaus was named an Ex Officio member for the Beautification Commission.

Sales tax was once again higher than budgeted the previous month. The city is more than $68,000 ahead of projected sales tax figures for the year. Property tax collections were announced at $1,934,186, which is $35,631 more than budgeted.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Commerce City Council will be held on June 18 at 6 p.m.