Natalia City Council appoints Sepulveda to NMDD Board, considers GIS map of city’s infrastructure

Crystal Sepulveda will replace Mark Marcum on the Natalia Municipal Development District Board of Directors after the Natalia City Council unanimously approved her appointment at Regular Council meeting held on Monday, Jan. 28.
“Crystal Sepulveda is an architect,” NMDD Chair Ruby Vera said. “She and her husband are very involved with all kinds of activities here, including the Little League. She would very, very much like to participate in the NMDD.”
A Mike Fernandez-Chip Bluemel motion to approve Sepulveda’s appointment passed 5-0, with Sam Smith, Selica Vera, and Darin Frazier all voting for the measure. Mayor Tommy Ortiz was also in attendance.
Sepulveda will serve out the rest of Marcum’s term, which ends in February 2020.
2019-2020 TxCBDG engineering services contract
“We actually had five engineers submit their qualifications for the application for the 2019-20 Texas CDBG application project which will be for water-slash-wastewater services and improvements,” City Administrator Lisa Hernandez said.
M&S Engineering had the highest internal rating with a 97.66, followed closely by TRC Engineers with a 97.33, Dunaway with 88.67, 6S Engineering with 75.33, and Mendez Engineering with 69.33.
“This was our first time that we actually had to do the decimal point for the engineers, because TRC and M&S did come out with both 97,” Hernandez said. “Either firm we are happy to work with, but with this, we’re going to recommend M&S Engineering.”
A Fernandez-Bluemel motion to approve the selection of M&S Engineering passed 5-0.
Graphical Information System
Tom Turk of M&S Engineering provided a demonstration of a Graphical Information System (GIS) map.
A GIS system stores and manages spatial and geographic data, such as the location of water pipes, wastewater pipes, fire hydrants, and more. The Medina County Appraisal District’s interactive map, available on their website, is an example of a GIS map.
“My focus here with the City is water, wastewater, valves, hydrants,” Hernandez said. “We really have an issue with our underground infrastructure. It’s like playing the Lotto whenever you have a water leak. You go out there and you think a leak’s coming from one place, and it’s actually not.”
Turk estimated that the startup fee would be between $15,000 and $20,000. The yearly GIS software subscription is $4,000, with an additional $100-200 yearly fee for viewer access.
“That’s not bad,” Frazier said. “I was thinking $100,000.”
Hernandez said M&S already has the City’s water and wastewater lines ready to be integrated into a GIS thanks to mapping done by the USDA.
“I would really entertain that we start looking at this, especially with budget season coming up, for a capital improvement project,” Hernandez said. “This would ease a lot of our headaches with our infrastructure.”
ACI/Republic Services transition
ACI Recycling & Disposal, which has provided Natalia’s solid waste management services for several years, was recently bought out by Republic Services, which will be taking over the contract.
“They’re a good, solid company,” said Blake Caesar, ACI’s Vice President of Municipal Solid Waste “It’s going to make us stronger. We’ll have better equipment, a lot more help, and we will keep providing the service that ACI has done for this city.”
Caesar is transitioning to Republic Services as Municipal Marketing Manager and will still be in touch with City officials.
“Any problems you can still contact me, and we’ll try to get them resolved,” Caesar said.
Ryan Whiteside, Republic Services’ General Manager for the San Antonio area, said he was looking forward to working with Natalia.
“The main things that are going to change as we switch over from ACI to Republic are we’re going to have blue trucks driving up and down your streets instead of the black and white trucks,” Whiteside said, adding that garbage cans would be changed out as the company had time to rebrand them.
“We’re attempting to bring over the employees from ACI so they all have a spot with us,” Whiteside said, “so hopefully it’ll be the same drivers and helpers that have been up and down your streets for the last handful of years.”
Whiteside said that Republic Services runs around 140 routes in San Antonio as opposed to ACI’s 20, and that the company provided services to 28 municipalities before acquiring ACI.
“I hope you don’t forget us,” Frazier said. “We’ve been forgotten by waste management companies in the past as they get bigger and bigger and all of a sudden don’t need the little cities.”
“I wouldn’t be here if you guys weren’t important to me,” Whiteside said.
Other business
Council approved Resolutions implementing a Public Funds Investment Policy and a Computer Controls Policy as recommended by the City’s auditing firm; heard a presentation from Amy Edge regarding the upcoming Bluebonnet Festival; and heard a presentation from Natalia Little League President Jaime Gomez on the upcoming season.
The meeting adjourned at 9:12 PM.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer