Sunday, July 22, 2007







 City loses police chief
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

PAYNE SPRINGS–Payne Springs Police Chief Tim Meadows tendered his resignation to the city, effective Thursday.
That same week he was wearing a police badge from Seven Points.
“I just felt it was time to further my career in law enforcement,” Meadows told The Monitor.
The mayor was out of town this week and unable to be reached for comment.
At last month’s city council meeting, a great deal of discussion focused on the police department.
At least one council member favored reducing the number of officers and vehicles, when Meadows presented the council with the need to replace at least one vehicle.
“With the conflict among the city council members, I felt this was the best move for myself and my family,” Meadows said.
“We’re glad to have him,” Seven Points investigator Dustin Bryant said. Meadows took up duties as a patrolman.
Meadows took over as police chief when former chief Wade Norris transferred to Star Harbor in January 2006.
He has worked for the city since December, 2004.

Sewer rates increased
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District board approved a wastewater rate increase that will boost most customers’ minimum bill by $1.01.
As approved Wednesday, the rate increase, from $3 per 1,000 gallons to $3.25/1,000, will go into effect with the September billing, which reflects August usage.
General Manager Bill Goheen said a study indicated the water district was losing money on wastewater treatment.
By basing the rate on water meter size, every customer – both residential and commercial – will be paying the same cost to treat wastewater, Goheen noted.
The cost of treating wastewater has increased significantly over the past couple of years, and it’s likely the cost of treatment will continue to go up, Goheen said.
“We need to seriously look at sewer rates,” he said. “Our water rates are fine.”
Under the previous rate structure, the minimum bill included 25,000 gallons. The new rate allows zero usage, meaning charges will begin with the first gallon.
The board chose not to increase the cap (maximum cost) for residential customers, which will remain $39.86 per month.
For customers with a 5/8 inch meter – 4,351 of the district’s 4,611 customers – the minimum bill will increase by $1.01 to $35.53.
The district has 205 customers with a ¾-inch meter, and the minimum rate will increase by $1.24, to $50.59.
For 30 customers with a 1-inch meter, the minimum rate will increase by $4.50, to $135.
The rate increase is projected to provide $52,611 in additional revenue, Goheen reported.
A new billing software package (approved by the directors earlier in the meeting) will provide a much more accurate and detailed breakdown of sewer usage across the district, Goheen said.
Using those new figures, the district can adjust rates to meet costs in the future, trying to avoid “rate shock,” he said.
“We need to evaluate our rates every year and make small, incremental adjustments, rather than wait three years and jump it by a buck and a half,” Goheen said.
Although the board approved the new rate structure as presented, a number of different scenarios were reviewed during a lengthy discussion led by board member Jim Boyles.
Near the end of the discussion, Boyles said Monarch Water (which supplies a number of subdivisions on the southern end of Cedar Creek Lake) was proposing a flat sewer rate of $49 per month.
“We would be $14 less expensive than what Monarch is proposing,” he said.
“In order to remain viable, we have to cover our costs,” board treasurer Carol Meyer said. “Everyone knows how the cost of fuel has increased.”
In other business, the directors:
• agreed to purchase a new billing software package for approximately $50,000, including enhancements to the district’s computer server.
Directors had discussed the need for the software at length during a workshop Monday.
• granted an easement to Embarq to install equipment on district-owned property along Luther Lane for $350, plus the legal costs associated with drawing up and filing the easement agreement.
• heard a brief update on current projects from Athens engineer Chris Weeks.
Five new customers have already tied into the district’s wastewater system as part of the new self-installed sewer project in Cedar Branch Park and Southwood Shores, Weeks said.
The lengthy grant-funded project is nearly complete in Cedar Branch Park, and the district’s focus will shift to Southwood Shores, he added.
“Once all of this is done, you’ll have 110 to 120 new sewer taps on your system,” he said. “I feel there will be more people there who will tie on.”
• authorized the finance committee to transfer funds from a non-interest-bearing account to an interest-bearing account.

Four fire units fight blaze in Siesta Shores
Courtesy photos/Jack Schell, Golden Days Media


Firefighters from Gun Barrel City, Payne Springs, Mabank and Enchanted Oaks battle a fire that damaged a single-wide mobile home at 150 Ben Lacy in Siesta Shores in Gun Barrel City early Tuesday. One person was home when the 10:30 a.m. blaze began. No injuries were reported.





Mabank volunteer firefighters are reflected in the window of a fire engine, after gaining control of the fire. Firefighters didn’t clear the scene until 1:30 p.m., according to Gun Barrel City firefighter Dustin Conner.






Gun Barrel City code enforcement officer Jacqui Calloway pours water on the head of a sweltering firefighter taking a break during the one-hour battle.