City ponders road
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
PAYNE SPRINGS–Payne Spring City Council members agreed to hold a
number of town meetings to discuss a proposals for funding a
road repair account Tuesday.
The council met at a new time it set the end of February. For
years it has met at 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month.
That has been changed to 6:30 p.m..
After much discussion, the council asked residents to consider
an annual assessment or some means of getting more money to fund
road repairs, other than a property tax.
With an estimated 500-plus residences, the council estimates
that at $100 each, $50,000 a year would go a long way to
repairing roads over a two-year period. A few other ideas were
“Do you know how much roadways and drainage problems could be
fixed with that amount of money?” Councilman Michael Juica
The money would be used only on expenses related to maintaining
the roads, he added.
Some of those expenses include road material and culverts,
maintenance of equipment, dump trucks, etc., fuel for the same
and wages for personnel who will work on road repairs, Juica
No date was set for the first of several town meetings. Council
members asked those attending to discuss the subject with their
neighbors and submit additional ideas to city hall. The council
wants to run these ideas by the city attorney before calling a
formal town hall meeting to discuss with citizens options open
to the city.
In other business, council members:
• agreed to place self-adhesive carpet squares in a test area at
city hall to measure the effect on the surrounding acoustics.
One draw back of the new meeting room is the difficulty in
distinguishing sounds in the room due to an echoing effect from
the sound reverberating off the floor and walls. Two large flags
spanning the width of two walls in the room have been hung, but
acoustics still need improvement.
• agreed to a dollar raise to hourly wages for police Sgt. Lupe
Garza, who earned an excellent review.
“Officer Garza deserves more money than we give him,” Juica
• no action was taken on a reporting system for the police
department. The city will be seeking a grant to assist it in
meeting this need.
• heard no bids were received on the city’s quest to improve the
security at city hall. The issue was tabled.
City installs a smarter way to water ball
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–The very last visit with a vendor at the October
2011 Texas Municipal League Convention in Houston, may yield a
watershed of savings for Gun Barrel City.
City manager Gerry Boren, said the UgMO booth was one of 800
booths at the convention and this one was at the end of a row in
the corner, and easy to overlook.
“When I visited with the agent and realized this product might
save the city both money and water, I was interested in light of
plans for expanding our park,” Boren told The Monitor.
Last year, the city was paying $1,000 to $1,200 a month to water
the ball fields, he said.
The literature Boren picked up from UgMO, short for underground
moisture monitoring, claims to reduce irrigation water costs by
as much as 20 to 50 percent.
The buried sensor collects real-time data and radios it to the
base station every 10 minutes to tell it when optimal soil
moisture levels are reached. No more puddling and wasteful
runoff, or irrigating during a rain event.
After returning, Boren showed the company’s literature to
members of the Economic Development Corporation. After further
inquiries with the Pennsylvania-based company and its
representative in Houston, the EDC agreed to try the soil
moisture monitoring system out at the baseball fields and
landscaping at city hall.
“It was a good match to the new city hall with its solar
electric panels generating power on the roof,” Boren pointed
The EDC picked up the $7,500 cost of installing the system,
which includes 26 wireless underground sensors and a signal
repeater to boost the radio signal up to 2000 feet.
If the city is pleased with the first year of operations, it
plans on installing them throughout the new park expansion
project, Boren said.
“It's all about saving money and water by doing the same thing,
more efficiently,” he added.
The city could save between $2,400 and $6,000 a year,
conservatively, if the UgMO system delivers. That means it could
pay for itself within 18 months of installation.
Its use should also decrease damage created by mowing an
over-watered lawn and negate the occurrance of scorched turf.
And, the whole thing was installed in half a day, Boren