Estimates hit $17 million: Lytle drafts “wish list” for major moves to stay ahead of growth

At the Lytle City Council meeting last week, the council started on drawing up a list of capital improvement projects that will require long-term financing, the start of the discussion handed over to Alderman Cate.
“I got that the email from Jeff, he came back with updated costs for all the infrastructure projects that we’re going to be needing in the next 10 years and I want to say it was approximately 17 million,” Cate said. “But he highlighted this in his email: ‘I’ve attached updated costs for the water and wastewater CIP plans. These were taken from the impact analysis and updated to today’s cost. The items highlighted in green are ones we’ve identified that will be needed in the next five to six years.’ The items that he highlighted were the elevated storage tank, the 12-inch pipeline loop, the booster pump and the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant.”
Cate went on further to share that the wastewater treatment plant would cost 12 million, the booster pump would cost $973,750, the 12-inch pipeline loop would cost $2,668,750 and the elevator storage tank would be $1,872,500.
“Andrew’s proposal was for 20 million dollars in certificate obligations and a certificate of obligation for $800,000 …. you can loop that in with that $800,000 and you have about $300,000 left over to work on other streets or sidewalks.”
The council then ran through a first draft ‘Christmas Wish List’ of things they wanted and had already placed on their capital improvement list up to this point.
“We started with the sidewalks, then it goes to the elevated water storage tank, to a booster station in the wastewater treatment plant,” Campa said. “We also discussed that there’s a transmission line, water transmission lines and then we threw in the park storage thing, concession stand, the fire station was mentioned, real property, ballroom improvements and public works facilities.”
They’re still working on a financial forecast, they’re supposed to meet on the meeting on the 28th to go over that before they make and major moves. We need to wait until the financial portion is done before we make any decisions.
Next Item – Postponing Issuance of Certificates of Obligation
Approving the capital list so far, the council moved on to the next item: Discuss and act upon Issuance of certificates of obligation based upon the recommendations made by the city’s engineer and financial advisors for funding necessary infrastructure projects. This item was quickly tabled until the 28th as it was tied to the same financial stand still the capital improvements list was.
Closed Session
Going into closed session at 7:58pm, the council returned after a Consultation with their attorney concerning case no. 22-02-0062-CVA, Rachel Faish et al v. The city of Lytle et al pending litigation and took no action.
Next Item – Storage of City Documents
Heading to the back of the building, the mayor and all present Alderman slipped into a back room to personally take a look at the current storage conditions of city documentation and maps to confirm whether or not they were being held in an appropriate environment and manner in city hall. Returning, the Mayor shared the council’s desire to begin digitizing their material through the company Frontera Concepts and took a look at their costs.

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“I think we’re going to need to get Frontera involved to go ahead and kind of give us an idea of the costs,” Mayor Gonzalez said. “Both the short term of getting somebody to go ahead and do that for us because, to be honest, I don’t think we’re going to have the chance to be able to do it ourselves…things that are 10 years old, those we can we can put them in as we get a chance to be able to get them digitized.”
Next Item – City Hall Staffing, Work Environment
Approving this action the council then opened the floor up to former employee in the Tax Permit Clerk position, Melinda Maria, as she gave reasons for her choice to quit after only two days of working at Lytle City Hall.
“In the short time that I did work here it was pleasant with pretty much everyone except one person and it made it a very hostile environment for me to work here,” Maria said. “Mind you, I was working at a bank for quite a number of years and I left that job to come over here….I would not, do not like that kind of a drama or negative attitude towards me and I told her I’m done …I believe in great customer service knowing the background that I do have. Customer service is something that we’re here to serve the public …something needs to stop and I’ll be the light that starts it. It was a pleasure working with you guys. Like I said, I can only tolerate so much, I’m not that type of person. So thank you for your time.”
Saying her final goodbye, Maria left the room and the council discussed the next possible action to take. Campa explained that she would mainly be dealing with this issue after speaking with City Attorney, Tom Cate, as they’ve also received similar complaints for three other employees and some residents coming into the building.
Both the action to continue to address this issue and the ability to advertise for a new employee was approved, followed by the request to also hire a part-time Kennel Tech.
Next Item – Revised Employee Handbook
The council then moved on to approve the revised employee handbook as Alderman David Emery explained everything already accomplished in their current draft of the handbook.
“We’ve been working on the handbook by way of our committee here for over a year,” Emery said. “We’re behind the self-imposed schedule that I have on it because of Covid …we finished looking at the handbook that we have when Josie sent it out to all the council members and the department heads in an email attachment. I know it’s long, 60 some pages, but I hope you’ve had a chance to look at it and we’re open for any changes, additions and deletions as to what you saw there.”
Emery said that they plan to take the employee handbook for the police department as inspiration, though with the goal of lining it out in a way that is strictly unique to Lytle City employees.
“…we’re in the draft stage here and we’ll be sending what we have done to our HR person for her to look at and make additions or subtractions to suggestions,” Emery said. “When we get all of that back you’ll have an opportunity to look at all of her changes and then when the council approves that final draft, we’ll probably do a major re-type of everything…there’s just one more section that we need to consider and that is about social media and using social media and on city time and city machines.”
Next Item – Spring Clean Up Day
Lastly the council confirmed and approved a date for spring clean up day in the month of April: “9th for a walk the street clean up. I’m looking for volunteers and we’ll advertise that,” Emery said. “And the 23rd for a bulk trash drop-off and 30th as a back-up day.”
By Christian Toler
News Correspondent