Engineering company corrects ‘snafu’ with newest municipal water well in Lytle

By Anton Riecher
A quickly resolved engineering “snafu” threatened to delay completion of Lytle’s latest water well project, City Administrator Matthew Dear reported to the Lytle City Council Monday.
Upon inspection, the new water well number four was found to be missing a vital air release check valve, he said.
“It was a snafu by the engineers who just forgot to design it in there,” Dear said.
The correction is only required a “zero dollar” change order at the insistence of TRC Engineering with no cost to the city.
“The city is not paying for it,” Dear said. “It’s their mistake.”
He said the change order does extend the project’s completion date to Jan. 8, 2023. However, the contractors hope to have the project completed this week.
“We’re waiting on shipping,” Dear said. “Fortunately, (the valve) is not on some weird 48-week back order.”
On a motion by District 3 Alderman David Emery, seconded by District 1 Alderman Joseph Morrow, the change order was approved by a vote of 4-0. District 5 Alderman Charles Cate, a reservist currently on deployment, was unavailable to monitor the meeting by Internet as usual.
In other business, the council voted 4-0 to adopt a new employee handbook with an effective date of Dec. 1. Emery said the new handbook, in development since mid-2021, replaces a handbook that is more than 15 years old.
Dear said the final handbook had been through an extensive human resources and legal review prior to reaching the council.
“A lot that used to come to the council goes to the city administrator,” he said. “A lot that used to go to the city secretary comes to the city administrator.”
The “meat and bones” of the handbook does not change, particularly vacations and holiday, Dear said. However, the new handbook does streamline the pay process for greater efficiency.
Council members also voted 4-0 to approve a new franchise agreement with the utility Texas AEP that delivers electricity to more than one million users in south and west Texas. The franchise fee is paid for use of the city’s right of way to place electric lines.
Jessie Lopez, Lytle’s city attorney, said he was working on the final agreement with AEP until the last minute. One item in contention was dealing with any potential conflict between state law and city ordinances.
“We made a couple of compromises in language,” Lopez said.
Dear told the council that although the city has continued to collect franchise fees from AEP no formal franchise agreement has been in place “for quite some time.”
Dear reported to the council that he is working to arrange dates with previous long time city attorney Tom P. Cate where the city can retrieve legal files needed for its records. Lopez replaced Cate last May.
Among reports given by city department heads police Chief Richard L. Priest reported that the city had no robbery or aggravated crime reported in September. He also said there had been no juvenile arrests.
Alarm calls totaled 18 with 15 related to businesses or commercial property. Only three involved local residences.
Vehicle collisions totaled 12 with only five occurring on public property, Priest said.
On the positive side, Priest reported that a local company, A1 Sealcoating LLC, had seal coated the police department parking lot free of charge.