Sunday, October 28, 2007

     

 

 

 

 

 


Sewage spill reported
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–An 800-gallon sewage spill Tuesday in Lakeview Acres off State Highway 198 in Gun Barrel City was reported to state regulatory agencies.
East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District, which also provides wastewater treatment service, issued a spill report to Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Thursday.
The spill was due to human error, ECCFWSD general manager Bill Goheen told The Monitor.
An after-hours call to the district by Lakeview Acres resident Donald Kline prevented more raw sewage from flowing into the lake, Goheen added.
“We really appreciate him giving us a call,” Goheen said.
Lift Station 32 on Harmon Road was recently installed with a telemetry device to automatically send a signal to the district when service is disrupted. However, on this occasion, a maintenance crew had forgotten to restore power to the lift station before clearing the site around 3 p.m. that day.
Kline told The Monitor spills have repeatedly occurred over the years, and he’s fed up.
“You know what the first indicator of a spill is?” he asked, then pointed to his nose.
The members of the maintenance crew were severely reprimanded, Goheen said.
Also, the district is looking into various ways to tighten quality control, to reduce human error.
One measure would require maintenance crews to call the office, once they’ve finished working on individual lift stations, with a report that power has been restored.
Goheen explained power was disrupted so the electronic terminal connection could be inspected and screws tightened as needed to avoid short circuiting.
Lift Station 32 serves 15 to 20 houses, Goheen said, and has a 1,000-gallon holding tank.
The power was off to the lift station from around 2 p.m. until 10:20 p.m., when the district corrected the mistake, Goheen said.
To his credit, Kline kept making calls to the district and TRWD until he was able to report the spill to a live person. That was the TRWD’s Darrell Andrews out of Fort Worth.
As it so happens, Andrews serves with Goheen on a committee looking at ways to protect the Cedar Creek Lake watershed from contaminants, especially from high levels of phosphorous, found in organic matter.

Restaurant renovation

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
The Jalapeño Tree has purchased Papacita’s Mexican Restaurant on Main Street in Gun Barrel City from Robert Hampton. The location will remain closed three to six weeks for renovations, and then reopen as the Jalapeño Tree. Prospective employees and managers will be training at the Athens location. Hampton still owns the Papacitas in Longview, and will have no connection with the Jalapeño Tree, other than the fact Hampton and Jalapeño Tree president Paul Bambrey are great friends. Jalapeño Tree has opened locations in Sherman, Mesquite and Tyler this year, and will soon open one more in Granbury. The chain’s Kilgore restaurant has been voted “Best of Best in Mexican Food” three years running.

EDC measures pass
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–As expected, the Gun Barrel City Council approved an agreement between the city’s Economic Development Corporation and East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District to get sewer service for Heritage Cove.
The agreement was initiated by councilmen Charles Townsend and Todd Hogan.
However, in a vote to approve the plan, Hogan cast the lone dissenting vote.
“It was my obligation as a councilman to find a solution to the impasse,” Hogan told The Monitor. “It is also my obligation to vote my conscience.”
Hogan believes these types of expenses are part of doing business, and should be paid by the developer.
“The majority of the council opposed payment based on a contractual argument. I oppose its payment on principle,” he said.
Council members Patsy Black and Kathy Cochran were absent when the vote was taken.
It passed 2-1, with the mayor also in favor of the measure.
The EDC agrees to pay $35,143.55 as an impact fee, and ECCFWSD agrees to connect the project to its main sewer line.
Another performance agreement between the EDC and Harbor Point Cinema, Inc. was approved, which changes the dates for hitting major milestones in the construction of a planned eight-plex movie theater at Heritage Cove.
The former agreement had not gone into default, and the council had no problem unanimously approving it.
In other business, the council:
• set a joint workshop between the EDC and the council to discuss an east-west road, traffic light installation and seawall at Heritage Cove, among other topics to be determined. The workshop is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13.
• tabled action pertaining to preparing a sewer franchise fee ordinance at 5 percent of sewer rate.
Hogan put this forward as a possible way to help fund other city services, such as street lighting and fire hydrants. He estimated the fee would only add $1.75 to $2.50 to the billing, and raise about $46,000, annually.
Councilman Marty Goss opposed the measure, saying that amount would not be enough to finance what Hogan proposes.
City manager Gerry Boren didn’t have hard figures, but said the electric bill on new lines and poles for street lighting would amount to $58,000 per year, while installation costs would be much higher.
Goss said he put in three poles, one transformer and lines recently at a cost of $11,000.
Goss again predicted the need for an ad valorem tax in the not-too-distant future, saying this would amount to stacking fees unnecessarily. Hogan countered that the proposal was a way for “growth to pay for growth.”
• appointed Harry McCune, Steve Webster and Joe Agnes to the Hospital Search Committee, and Townsend as chairman.