Members of Cumby Town Council discussed a number of topics including water meters, grant opportunities, safety equipment and equipment for town employees. The meeting took place in the municipal building, with room for 10 in-person participants only, but made available to others via Zoom video conferencing.
Mayor Doug Simmerman at the Tuesday evening meeting asked Cumby City Council to consider potentially replacing the RG3 water meters currently in use with new main meters. The readers are designed to digitally read the amount of water used nearby, without manual reading. Some are not functioning properly and the city is unable to say how much water has been used. When this happens, the city must average the bill or charge at the base rate. The Master Meter would allow the meter reader, if the device does not get a reading on the meter, to stop and get a manual meter reading. This would provide an accurate reading whether the vehicle is equipped with a reading system or not.
Simmerman noted that the package presented to council members included three quotes from Underground Utility Supply, a distributor that priced meters in different purchase increments, so not all meters had to be purchased at once, but could be purchased in increments.
Another council member suggested checking to see if there are any grants the city could potentially apply for to help cover the cost of replacement meters. No action was taken on the recommended buy on Tuesday night.
The contract for the new lifting station has been awarded. A pre-construction meeting is scheduled for the 21st. The project schedule should be discussed. No start date has yet been announced. The project requires the ordering of three water pumps. Officials were told that it usually takes 3 months to get them. A grant helps fund the project.
Jake McAdams of Public Management spoke with city officials about helping them prepare for a grant application from the Community Development Block Grant Program’s Community Development Fund. Amounts of $50,000 to $350,000 may be requested to help fund water and sewer, drainage, gas system, road and street improvements, or solid waste/landfill disposal for improve public facilities to meet basic needs or eliminate unsafe conditions. The city would only be responsible for
McAdams noted that the scoring system for grants has changed over the past year, but the town of Cumby could still have a competitive change when making an infrastructure grant. If approved, the city could potentially receive funding in the fall of 2022. A 5% match would be required. Public management would help coordinate engineering and any other requirements for the grant. The city would be overpriced to issue three public notices in advance. If approved, public management would receive payment from the grant funding. Key elements of grant application scoring include whether or not the city has received a grant in the last 5 years and the percentage of match; median household income is another factor that can be taken into account. If the city goes out for a grant, the application would be submitted for approval in the spring.
The city council discussed possible action on the property at 204 Mill St. The structure had been condemned, a city official reported. One owner is said to have died. Further research is needed to be able to contact the next owner so that something can be done about the unsightly health/safety issue.
Place 1 Alderman Sheryl Lackey recommended that a committee be formed to review policies and procedures and positions in the personnel policy and employee handbook to include updated language and unspecified legal requirements for put the city in a better position to protect citizens and employees. A subcommittee including Lackey, Place 4 Alderman Betty McCarter and City Attorney Leigh Thompson was formed.
Lackey also asked the city to begin researching potential grants for safety equipment and personal protective equipment to better protect city public works employees. She said she met with them and asked what could be done to better help them do their job. Some issues have been raised as security issues. She said they don’t meet OSHA standards. It was pointed out that these employee regulations fall under the health and safety code.
The municipal clerk has been appointed to undergo training on the law on the investment of public funds.
The city attorney was authorized to create or approve an employment contract for police department employees.
A request for the small section of the Cumby town limits in Hunt County to be included in a proposed emergency services district was also discussed.
No action was taken regarding the possible involvement of agricultural students in the creation of a book exchange or the repair of the park toilets, as the other parties who were to be involved in the two projects were affected by COVID-19.