|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
City accepts streets, utilities at Southpoint
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — City Council members unanimously approved a plat for the Southpoint Shopping Center at Tuesday's session, pending execution of documents by all the property owners and resolution of a few pending items. City Manager Marilyn Sutton said the process of accepting the streets and utilities for the Southpoint Shopping Center was somewhat unique because it has multiple owners and it is an existing development. The streets and utilities are being dedicated for public use at the request of the primary owners of the 22.809- acre property, Don C. Baskin and Annita L. Baskin. Sutton said City Attorney Jim Wright has been working for the last two to three months to come up with something fair and equitable to the city and the property owners. "They have verbally agreed, and they were moving around to get signatures and locating utility lines," Wright said. Mayor Clarke Evans asked if all the utility lines and streets were up to code. "As good as we're going to get," Wright said. The lines were inspected using a video camera and the plumber has signed an affidavit that all the defects found have been corrected. Council members also unanimously approved a 1.9 percent cost of living increase for city employees to be effective Oct. 1. Sutton said the adjustment would increase salaries by $60,000 for the next fiscal year. Elgin Davis made a motion to approve the cost of living adjustment saying, "We've good employees. Councilman Ray Luna asked if there are revenue items in the budget that will increase to offset the salary increase. Sutton said sales tax revenue is up by 13 percent so far this year. "If it gets hot, electric revenue will go up," Sutton added. Evans added that he was 100 percent behind the salary increase, and "sending a strong statement to employees that they are appreciated." "I wish we could do more," said councilwoman Judy Cochran. The council reappointed Ray Hill to another oneyear term on the board of directors for the Deep East Texas Council of Governments, beginning July 1, 2013. The council approved the first pay estimate for the Livingston Municipal Library Project for $123,315.49 to J.E. Kingham Construction Company, Inc. Sutton reported that the project is much further along than the report included with the pay request indicates. Most of the items included with the pay request relate to startup costs through the end of March, Sutton told council members. Sutton also reported that bids were opened for the express feeder project with the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency on Friday. The project will connect the Livingston substation to the Ogletree substation. It will take seven months to complete. Electric customers will only notice minor spot outages as equipment is placed. Bids for the Trinity River Authority expansion project will be opened May 23 during a special meeting when City Council members will also be sworn in for a new term. Once city officials approve the bonds for the $15.5 million project, the TRA board will consider the package at their next meeting. After the TRA board takes action, and rating agencies review the bond package, the bonds could be ready to sell in early July, Sutton said. Contractors could be given a notice to proceed in late July. The project has a construction timeline of 23 months, which would wrapup about April 2015. The City of Livingston currently contracts with TRA to purchase up to five million gallons of water a day, but the water treatment plant currently can only process about three million gallons a day. Under the contract, the city pays for raw water, debt service and the water treatment plant. The last upgrade at the water treatment plant was in 1979. Once this project is complete, it should eliminate the need for implementing the city's drought contingency plan, according to Sutton. Grant approved for Circle Drive Sutton announced that the city has been awarded a $275,000 grant for street improvements on Circle Drive, under the Community Development Block Grant Program. Out of 50-plus projects, the Circle Drive project ranked 12th. Funding ran out at No. 17, Sutton said. Livingston will likely be funded in Year 2 of the current grant cycle. Water Storage Tank Project Sutton said contractors have been drilling test piles at the construction site for the elevated water storage tank. The design required that the pilings hold 21 tons, and the tests held up to 294 tons. "The engineers were real pleased with the results," Sutton said. The bids for the 20-inch line were set to be awarded Thursday, Sutton said at the Tuesday night meeting. The project should be complete in April 2014. "And then we can put the Fire Chief in there," Sutton joked, referring to the office and storage space that will be available under the storage tank itself.