Sunday, August 1, 2010



  KISD teachers get pay hike
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Even before the 2010-11 school year budgets are approved, trustees at school districts all across Texas must approve their teacher salary scale.
July 20, Kemp Independent School District trustees were reminded the salary scale is what drives the district’s budget, as it is the single largest expenditure for the district.
Trustees approved a teacher step increase based on the number of years completed, as mandated by the state.
“This amounts to a 3 percent pay increase, mandated by the state, without any help from the state,” board president Keith Foisey explained.
The trustees also approved a 3 percent raise for the remaining staff, but it is based on the successful outcome of the tax ratification election (TRE).
Stipends (amounts paid to teachers and coaches for extra duties) will remain the same for all positions, except the newly formed soccer program.
The head soccer coach will receive a stipend of $3,500 for the season.
In other business, trustees:
• heard the district library report as presented by Jennifer Halley, Texas based account manager for Follett Library Resources.
The libraries on all campus are overloaded with outdated books and need updating to newer material, she explained. ”You are not a historical library, you are an educational library,” Halley repeated each time she discussed the individual campuses.
“It will take five years to bring your district up to an acceptable standard,” she said.
Her examples called for getting rid of a substantial number of older books; 36 percent in the intermediate library, half the books in the junior high library and similar amounts on the remaining high school and primary campuses.
• reviewed the student handbook.
A ruling on cell phones will allow the student to carry them but not to use them except in designated areas and times.
• approved a scheduled tax resale of approximately 20 properties.
Bids will be accepted starting at one-third of the current property values.
Amounts range from $650 for a lot in Hill Estates to several in the $15,000 range, in various locations.
• approved a list of properties to be removed from the delinquent tax rolls.
Trustees hope this will increase the tax collection rate percent for the district.
The removal of properties that have been on the delinquent rolls for years and with untraceable owners, in no way negates the amount owed.
Should a property owner be located, the item will be brought back on the rolls for collection, business manager Kim Johnson said.
• approved the Student Code of Conduct.
• accepted, with regret, the resignation of trustee Scott Clearman.
Clearman is building a home, and once he and his family move, he will no longer live in the district.
He will serve until his trustee position is filled.
The district has 180 days to make other arrangements.


Council rejects move
City to continue bank renovation for new city hall
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The promise of some significant cost savings for a larger building was rejected in favor of the long-approved plan to turn a former bank building into the new Gun Barrel City Hall.
Waving a document, city manager Gerry Boren told city council members July 22 the bank reconstruction process would take a year from the time the document was formally approved by the city.
The first step will be to advertise for firms to submit qualifications for construction manager at-risk, Boren told the council during a special called Thursday morning session.
As proposed, the reconstruction would use standard wooden-stud construction, Boren said.
“If you want to go (pre-cast concrete) tilt-wall, it knocks off two months (in construction time), but it requires a different architectural process,” he said.
The city will be able to get low-interest USDA financing (and possibly a loan/grant package) in the 4 percent to 4 percent range, which would require an annual payment around $85,000, Boren reported.
“We did get an energy grant from Oncor,” he added. “The solar panel guys will put (panels) anywhere you want.”
Boren said construction manager at-risk bids could be opened in about three weeks.
At that point, the discussion shifted to the next item on the agenda – a proposal to sell the former bank building and build a new, larger city hall along Municipal Drive, near the existing police department and fire station.
“We’ve had an offer on the building to sell,” Boren said. “We also need to expand (the proposed renovation plan) by about 700 square feet to create a foyer.”
If the city sells the building, for a reported $575,000 (the city paid $480,000), it could build a larger structure on Municipal Drive at a lower cost, mayor Dennis Wood said.
“If it were my money, I definitely would save that money,” Wood added. “If we’re going to go with the offer, we need to get it in writing and get started.”
“We’re still eight months (to completion) from when we sign the contract,” Boren said.
“I think we need a building on (State Highway) 334, and not stuck out on the 40 acres,” councilman Curtis Webster said. “We’ve had the city hall here for 30 years.”
Webster then made a motion to continue with plans to renovate the bank building, with the addition of 700 square feet for a lobby, which quickly received a second.
“If you put it (the city hall) on the 40 acres, you’re going to have more drainage issues, are we not?” councilman Dennis Baade said. “That’s an unknown cost. I like having the city hall on Main Street.”
“(SH) 334 is a commercial area, and you’ve got commercial traffic here,” councilman Marvin Pace countered. “I don’t believe you could go in any city and find the city hall on Main Street.”
Councilman Melvin Hayes said the proposed reconstructed bank building project (which was unanimously approved by the council some months ago) would contain a small post office, “which would really be very convenient to have on this end of town.
“On the 40 acres, you might as well forget that part of it,” Hayes pointed out.
Council members then approved Webster’s motion to continue the project as proposed, with Pace opposing.
In other business, the council:
• agreed, 4-1, to reschedule the city’s rained-out July 4 Festival to Saturday, Nov. 6, with Webster opposed.


MUD orders new rate study
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Reports

TOOL–West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District Board of Directors hired Espey Consultants to prepare a rate study.
“Prices keep going up and they’re not going to come down,” general manager Tony Ciardo said at the July 26 regular meeting. “It’s time for us to really look at our rates.”
The board took note that the district has not shown any new water or sewer taps in a while. “There’s no growth at present,” Ciardo said.
Espey Consultants engineer Kenneth Tillman said the rate study may take six to eight weeks to complete.
The total cost of a rate study for both the water and wastewater utilities totals $36,230 and includes a future model that the board and manager can use as a tool, Tillman said.
“Tony can check rates every year to see if they are sufficient to meet district goals,” he explained.
Espey Consultants was also chosen to prepare bid documents for painting the elevated water storage tank in Seven Points.
Though impressed with how well the tank’s last painting has held up, Ciardo said, “We really need to get this underway.”
The bid will include a wash and recoat, as well as relettering the city’s name and state and the utility name.
“The city has requested adding its logo to the tower at its own expense,” Ciardo said.
“I’m not thrilled with putting a logo on it,” Jim Scrimshire said. “It’s not a city tower.”
In other business, directors:
• having received approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for ground storage tank plans, signed bid documents for a 500,000-gallon galvanized steel ground storage tank for Tolosa.
Espey Consultants was tapped to oversee the advertising and bid process, not to exceed $8,500.
The clear well will stand 40 feet high and have a 48-foot diameter.
It will also include a system of baffles to insure uniform disinfection, with water filling from the top and draining from the bottom.
The $350,000 project is part of a $1.2 million plant expansion program.
Bids are set to be opened Aug. 18 for presentation to the board Aug. 23.
• kept the same committee assignments with Eldon Cox, C.D. Smith and Clifton Smith on the Policy Committee; David Lewis, Carolyn Morgan and Jim Scrimshire on the Insurance Committee; and Joe King Scrimshire and Clifton Smith on the Budget Committee.


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