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San Jacinto News Times - Local News

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City council considers hiring officer; work on streets to total $533,868


SHEPHERD – Shepherd City Council members discussed entering into an inter-local agreement with the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Department and awarded a contract for a Hurricane Ike Disaster Recovery road project Monday evening during a regular meeting. Following a lengthy discussion about the best and most economical way to get the city's ordinances enforced, council members voted to table a decision until after they know more about the city's budget at the end of this month. On the agenda was a discussion and action item to enter into an inter-local agreement with the county sheriff's department, having them enforce the ordinances. Most of Monday night's discussion, however, was whether or not the city should send a city employee to ordinance school or work with Pct. 2 Constable Roy Pippin by hiring a fulltime constable deputy under Pippin's authority to enforce the ordinances. "We've got to have someone to enforce ordinances," said Councilman Van Loggins. If the city hired an officer it could cost $44,595 per year for salary and benefits, plus fuel at about $4,000 a year, plus a patrol car for about $31,129 according to Loggins. "That doesn't include paying a prosecutor and a judge to hear the cases at about $200 per month for each," Loggins said. After the first year, the cost could go down," he said. An alternative would be hiring a constable deputy for the Precinct 2 Constable. If a constable deputy was hired that officer would be used exclusively for Precinct 2 and the City of Shepherd and the initial cost would be lower. "We need to decide if the city is willing to pay initially around $80,000 per year to do this," Loggins said. A city budget workshop is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 26. At that time council members will have a better idea of how much money the city will have to work with, according to Shepherd Mayor Glen Dillon. Work on seven streets in the City of Shepherd will be overhauled as a result of a $592,650 Hurricane Ike Disaster Recovery Grant. Streets to be reconstructed include Ross, Hill, Bell, Smith, 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The low bidder was selected for the job – Triple C Blacktopping, LLC of Onalaska – with a bid of $533,868. The remainder of the total bid (about $58,000) will be put into another approved city project. Giving a preliminary view of the city's budget, Mayor Dillon said he has the first draft prepared with the city's utility fund "on target" with a positive cash flow of about $18,000. "The big thing missing in the general fund is the potential $750,000 reimbursement to Texas Department of Transportation and the reimbursement for a city truck stolen," Dillon said. "The general fund revenues are pretty much on target and balanced right now. There are no contingency funds this year in the general fund and no capital improvements included in the budget," Dillon said. The new budget starts Oct. 1. In other business, council members voted to order a city election for three aldermen in November.


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