Devine City Council orders May 4 General Election, joins Source Water Protection Program

The Devine City Council ordered a General Election to be held on Saturday, May 4, and voted to join a USDA-funded program to protect source water at the Special meeting held last Tuesday, Feb. 12.
General Election
A motion by District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez and District 3 Councilman David Espinosa to order a General Election for the positions of Mayor and District 2 and District 5 representatives passed 3-0, as did a motion by Lopez and District 5 Councilman Cory Thompson to accept the Notice of Election.
District 4 Councilwoman Jennifer Schott and District 1 Councilman David Valdez were absent.
For more information on the upcoming election, see separate election story.
Source Water Protection Program
Deborah McMullan of the Texas Rural Water Association (TRWA) pitched Council on the Source Water Protection Program (SWPP), a joint project with the USDA that aims to help water systems protect their water sources from contamination.
“I go over the system and look for potential sources of contamination,” McMullan said. “Then I go back and develop best management practices.”
SWPP is funded by the USDA and is free to the City. McMullan said that her suggestions usually involved little to no cost, and were based more on educating the public and changing habits.
Though the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) doesn’t require the City to participate in SWPP, Mayor Bill Herring said the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) recommends it. McMullan estimated the project would take from three to four months to complete.
A Thompson-Espinosa motion to approve the SWPP passed 3-0.
Later in the meeting, Public Works Director Ismael Carrillo notified Council that one of the motors at Edwards Aquifer Well #1 has gone out.
The 250hp engine is over 15 years old and has already been rewound once, in 2016. Carrillo said the City Engineer Raul Garcia had recommended buying a new engine, which will cost around $32,000.
Carrillo said the new engine should last between 15 and 20 years, and will come with a one-year warranty if installed by contractors.
ACI/Republic Services transition
ACI Recycling & Disposal, the City’s solid waste management provider, was recently bought out by Republic Services, which will take over ACI’s contract with the City on March 1.
Rates, trash pickup days, and routes will remain the same, though ACI’s trucks will be replaced by blue Republic Services trucks. Residential garbage cans will be replaced as those currently in use wear out.
“They’re a great company,” said Blake Caesar, ACI’s Vice President of Municipal Solid Waste. “They’re going to do good things for Devine.”
Caesar is staying on with Republic as the Municipal Marketing manager for the area, and according to Ryan Whiteside, Republic Services’ General Manager for the San Antonio area, employment offers have been made to the rest of ACI’s employees.
“We’re going to make sure you get the same service you’ve been receiving,” Whiteside said.
An Espinosa-Lopez motion to approve Republic Services taking over ACI’s contract with the City passed 3-0.
Municipal Airport
Airport Manager Vicky Pumphrey informed Council that surveyors from KSA Engineers had been at the airport earlier in the day to take measurements for the upcoming fuel farm installation. The restrooms have been demolished, and septic tanks are scheduled to be removed soon.
“It’s moving along,” Pumphrey said.
After reviewing a proposed lease agreement and rates for the City’s T-hangar and noticing several potential issues, Council voted to postpone action on the matter. Consequently, a proposed lease with Joe Munoz and sublease of Hangar 2 were also tabled. All three issues are on the agenda for the Regular Council meeting scheduled for press day on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
Executive Session
Council twice adjourned into Executive Session, the first time to discuss the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property.
Upon reconvening into open session, a Lopez-Espinosa motion to allow City Attorney Tom Cate to begin negotiations regarding the property discussed at a cost not to exceed $2,500 passed 3-0.
The second Executive Session was in regards to contemplated litigation. After Council reconvened in open session, a Lopez-Espinosa motion to “take appropriate action on the matter discussed” passed 3-0.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer