2018-10-10 / News

Lyford leaders talk sidewalks, mowing contract

by Allen Essex

Lyford city commissioners approved on Monday steps to borrow $3.2 million by selling municipal bonds in order to get funding through the Texas Water Development Board to replace the city’s water distribution system.

The city is appointing SAMCO Capital Markets Inc. as its financial adviser, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP as bond counsel, Sigler Winston Greenwood Engineering LLC and Langford Community Management Services Inc. as the city’s consultants.

Mayor Jose G. “Wally” Solis and City Secretary Lydia Moreno were authorized to sign documents related to the bond issue.

Solis raised the alarm last year about inadequate water pressure and non-functioning fire hydrants as a danger to city homes and property and a possible reason for high fire insurance rates.

In other business, Commissioner Rick Salinas argued that the city needs to hire a mowing contractor to cut grass in city parks and property because the Public Works Department has only five workers and has many other duties, such as maintaining water and sewer systems, fixing pumps and equipment, animal control, maintaining vehicles and maintaining buildings and equipment.

“Public Works doesn’t have enough time to work on (water) meters, mowing and all the other things,” Salinas said. “Hiring more workers, with workers’ comp., insurance and all that is too expensive. We need to let a contractor do it.”

Commissioners agreed to hire a contractor but funds must now be found, Moreno said after the meeting.

The city has the same five public works employees it had when Lyford was half as big as it is now, Salinas said.

Commissioners clashed over an item the mayor put on the agenda to discuss steps to reopen Central Park for public use.

A grand opening ceremony was held before the heavy rains in June but roads were not completed and drainage was still inadequate, causing a large lagoon to form. While there was a controversy at the time about opening the park before funding was available to build restrooms, the road through the park was too muddy and grassy areas were flooded, so the park had to be closed.

Whether the road through the park should be open to through traffic or if it should be controlled access was not resolved.

Before the City Commission meeting, the Lyford Economic Development Corp. “B Board” discussed a proposal to split the cost of local match for a downtown improvement project that would build sidewalks and lights in the historical downtown business district.

City commissioners want to split a $75,000 local matching amount of a hoped-for $250,000 downtown project but the B Board has tabled the matter twice. If the “B Board” doesn’t commit its $37,500 share of the local match with the city paying the other half, the project may not happen. An application to the Texas Department of Agriculture for the Downtown Revitalization Program must be made in order for the request to be considered.

An application will also be made to the Texas Department of Agriculture for funding for a Rural Health Clinic but, even if the city is able to have the building constructed, an agreement will have to be made with a doctor’s clinic or group to staff such a facility for at least 10 years, Moreno said.

Hiring a full-time police officer, Merced Rodriguez III was approved. Also approved was appointment of Bethsabe Roel as a non-paid reserve peace officer. Both were given an oath of office by Mayor Solis.

The Lyford Police and Fire Department and Willacy County Emergency Medical Service will host the fifth National Night Out program from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 11 at Lyford Municipal Park at Park Street and Bulldog Ave.

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