Members of the Houston City Council received updates on several projects, including the launch of a $1.6 million project to construct a new municipal swimming pool and bath house, during a meeting last Tuesday night.
City Administrator Scott Avery received permission for phase one of a project to identify troublespots in sewer lines that are allowing surface water to infiltrate and make its way to the wastewater treatment plant. The council authorized $200,000 in reserves to enter into a contract with Visu-Sewer of Pewaukee, Wisc., to identify problems in the downtown business district and an area from near the U.S. Forest Service and northward toward Emmett Kelly Park. To save money, the city will undertake some of the work itself by using specialized camera equipment it owns. Work is expected to begin in April. Avery said phase two of the project will likely be done next year.
Avery said receivers necessary for an automatic meter reading project involving the city’s electrical and water meters is slated for installation on light poles and a target area selected. A region from Walnut Street and north to Oak Hill Drive will encompass phase one of the effort. New electrical meters will be installed first; followed by water meters. The system will be tested over a 30-day period before expanding to other sections of the town, he said.
Avery reported that a firm will begin an inventory of the city’s poles on March 9. The study by Osmose Utilities Services Inc., which is headquartered in Atlanta, is to evaluate the system and will take about two weeks. It will offer guidance on what poles need to be replaced first, he said.
Avery also said a city-owned system to bring 1 gig internet to the community is making progress. An engineering firm is set to arrive in the next two weeks to develop more detailed drawings for the project. The main ring for the system is expected to be installed by July.
SWIMMING POOL PROJECT
A St. Louis-based company, Westport Pools, has begun removing some items at the Houston Municipal Swimming Pool — such as a slide — that will be utilized in the new one. The council awarded a $12,200 contract to Jared Smith Hauling and Excavating for demolition of the bath house. It was one of three bids received. The work is expected to take about five days. A fence will be installed around the existing pool to prevent trespassing.
The city also is working out financing procedures for the pool and bath house. The city plans to borrow the $1.6 million. Debt repayment will come from proceeds from a sales tax approved last year. The city also was awarded a $250,000 grant.
In other matters, members:
•Heard that work has begun on the annual routine audit of the city, which is contracted to KPM CPAs and Advisors of Springfield.
•Learned two new employees will join the city’s workforce. Bill Ramsey will work in the public grounds and parks department. Darren Ice will act as a maintenance employee who also will work on developing an inventory of city property. Seven people were interviewed before the field was narrowed to three.
•Heard that a remodeling of a portion of city hall is underway. Some offices will relocate, the council chambers will be enlarged and the utility department will relocate to the northwest corner of the building. An audio-visual system also will be added. Some professional design assistance will be sought. About $80,000 is included in this year’s budget. It is a two-year project that also includes installation of an ADA-compliant bathroom.
•Heard 2019 reports from Police Chief Tim Ceplina and Fire Chief Robbie Smith. (Reports appear elsewhere in this issue)
•Adjourned into a closed session.