By Anton Riecher
The Lytle City Council voted 4-0 Monday to approve a $771,147 engineering services contract for water system improvements estimated at more than $5.5 million.
On a motion by District 5 Alderman Charles Cate, the council voted to hire TRC Engineering for the water improvement project including a 250,000 gallon elevated tank on the town’s south side, a 12-inch water line extending from Interstate 35 to Railroad Street and a new pump for the city’s booster station.
Cate questioned whether an even larger elevated tank might be beneficial in the long run.
“Coming back in 10 years from now if we have to build another elevated tank it’s probably going to be triple what it is right now,” Cate said.
For full video coverage of the meeting visit the Devine News YouTube channel at youtu.be/0b6XaSzAXM0.
Craig Bell, representing TRC, said he could prepare estimates on a larger tank for consideration at a future council meeting. The figures presented Monday were already updated from a presentation several years ago.
“Costs aren’t going down, you’re right about that,” Bell told the council.
Financing for the water improvements is covered under $8.5 million in certificates of obligation approved by the council last year.
The elevated tank, to be located in the Rosewood Estates subdivision, will consist of a concrete pedestal supporting a steel bowl. More than 5,800 linear feet of new 12-inch PVC distribution pipe will replace existing six-line pipe as part of the city’s water main loop.
“The longer we wait the more it is going to cost,” Cate said. “If we put this off and don’t pull the trigger in the next six months we are looking at spending even more next year.”
In other action, on motion of District 4 Alderman Michael Rodriguez the council authorized city staff to move forward with a financial cost evaluation for an amendment to the Lytle Farms subdivision public improvement district calling for a substantial increase to $20 million over the next 30 years.
A PID is created under the state’s local government code to provide specific types of improvements or maintenance such as landscaping, sidewalk construction, roads, security, street lighting and water facilities.
The Lytle Farms subdivision will consist of nearly 200 homes of which 99 will be duplexes.
Also related to Lytle Farms, the council scheduled a workshop for 6:30 p.m. March 21 on establishing a consistent policy on providing street lights. The workshop comes after the council voted 3-2 in February to take no action on a request by Lytle Farms that the city take responsibility for the monthly electricity to power 14 street lights.
City Administrator Matthew Dear reported a favorable reception from Texas Department of Transportation officials regarding two sidewalk projects proposed by the city. He said TxDOT is looking for “turnkey projects” without a lot of engineering involved.
One project calls for sidewalks along Main Street near the city hall and post office. Dear said TxDOT recommended extending the project even further to reach Somerset Street with a six-foot-wide sidewalk on one side and a 10-foot-wide pathway on the other.
That project might well qualify for 100 percent funding by the federal government, TxDOT told Dear.
The second sidewalk project would extend from McDonald Street to city hall with pedestrian bridges across Interstate 35. TxDOT objected to the pedestrian bridges, Dear said, and recommended amending the project to eliminate sidewalks already included in the frontage street improvements underway.
With regard to the I35 frontage road project, Mayor Ruben Gonzalez said that TxDOT is nearly two weeks behind schedule with the northbound road being opened to two-way traffic still needing curbs and sidewalks. He promised a complete update at the next council meeting.
District 3 Alderman David Emery was absent from the Monday night meeting.
By Anton Riecher