Grapeland sets date to start interviews for city superintendent’s position
Houston County Courier
By Jenna Duncan
The Grapeland City Council will begin interviewing candidates for city superintendent Friday, Oct. 5, the council announced at the city council meeting Tuesday night, Sept. 11. Following an executive session, the council voted to hold initial interviews for the top five candidates and one alternate. They also decided the salary would be based on the candidate’s experience and expected duties. During Tuesday’s meeting the council also adopted the property tax rate, discussed bids for the water improvements project and finalized an agreement with Angelia Excavating for conditions during the street improvement project. The council adopted the property tax rate of $0.572969 per $100 valuation, which is slightly lower than the year before. “I think it’s a win/win for the citizens of Grapeland,” Mayor George Pierson said. “Sooner or later we’ll have to do like all these other cities and raise our rates. I’m trying not to, but it’s going to come down to where if they expect superb services then we’re going to have to do what the county did and other cities have done.” After they adopted the rate, the council approved the 2012 tax roll. In other business, the council voted for two items regarding the street improvement project, which will result in the repaving of nine streets in the city. First, the council voted to allow Pierson to approve the draw inspections for the project. Since Grapeland does not have a city inspector, Pierson and interim City Superintendent Fred Reynolds will have the power to approve the monthly reports from contractor Angelina Excavating. During the project, the city will provide Angelina Excavating with free water, and in exchange the company will give the city any leftover materials, such as asphalt and dirt. This agreement was approved by the city council. Decisions on another public works project were tabled during the meeting.That would be a water improvement project to construct a new well. The city began accepting bids about two weeks ago, and the only two companies that submitted bids estimated the project would cost more than double what the city has funds for. “I think they felt like we were just so desperate and needed water so bad - that’s all I think they had on their mind,” Pierson said. The city has $222,000 in grants to cover the project, but the companies estimated the project would cost $506,000 and $590,000. The city is allowing the two companies to rebid, and then will reopen the project for bidding. In other action, the council voted to take a loan from Prosperity Bank for $59,700 to buy new EMS cardiac equipment. The fire department will make the payments on the loan, Fire Chief Roger Dickey said at the meeting. Additionally, the council voted to present a plaque to the Lions Club because the members regularly do trash clean-up, and the council agreed to have a law enforcement officer stationed at the Peanut Festival on Saturday, Oct. 20 in addition to the officers who already will be on patrol.