Natalia Council approves stop signs for 7th St., awards contract for improvement at wastewater treatment plant

More stop signs are coming to 7th Street, garbage rates are set to rise, and the clarifier improvement project at the wastewater treatment plant took a step forward following action at the Natalia City Council meeting held last Monday, August 16.
Stop signs on 7th St.
Stop signs are coming to the intersection of 7th St. and Aubrey St. after a successful petition by area residents.
Mayor Tommy Ortiz said that residents up and down 7th St. were concerned about the traffic problems.

“When they found out that we were having up to Bartlett paved out all the way down to 3rd St., it seemed to make them very concerned with the traffic problems that have existed there for some time now, and it’s going to increase that,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz said once on Kearney, there are no stop signs on 7th St. until the turn at the park, where 7th St. intersects with 6th St.
“It’s all wide open,” Ortiz said. “So if we could install it there on Aubrey, at least that will kind of halfway break it down.”
City Secretary Rene Hinojosa confirmed the City had stop signs that could be installed, and Utility Director Art Smith added that poles needed to be purchased.
A motion by Councilman Mike Fernandez and Councilwoman Selica Vera to install the stop signs passed unanimously with votes from Councilman Darin Frazier and Councilman Sam “Chip” Bluemel, Jr. Councilman Sam Smith was absent.
Discussion on the subject continued after the vote.
“I’m aware that another resident is going to be requesting, probably next month, another stop sign at 3rd and Crescent,” Hinojosa said.
Vera described that intersection as “crazy” due to traffic leaving El Tropiko.
“I would recommend the Council consider establishing procedures for these kinds of things,” Hinojosa said.
“Right, we can’t just give everybody a stop sign,” Frazier said.
“Put a speed bump, that’ll stop it,” Vera said.
Hinojosa added that the presence of stop signs was no guarantee that they would be obeyed.
Frazier suggested that in the future, Council wait before installing stop signs on newly-paved roads.
“I just think sometimes we do things prematurely,” Frazier said. “Let things settle back down and let traffic become normal again. This is what’s new, everybody notices it.”
TxCDBG clarifier improvement project
RGV Industrial’s $189,000 bid was the lowest base bid submitted for the project to rehabilitate the older clarifier at the City’s wastewater treatment plant, and was recommended for the project by M&S Engineering, the City’s engineering firm.
Clarifiers separate liquid and solid waste.
“In their packet they did list several cities whom I have personal contacts with,” Hinojosa said. “They did say they were satisfied.
A Frazier-Fernandez motion to award the project contract to RGV Industrial passed unanimously.
Garbage rate on the rise
Hinojosa reported that Republic Services is raising garbage rates by 3.45 percent.
“Accordingly, we have to adjust our rates,” Hinojosa said. “Currently it’s $22.00 per resident, and that will go up to $22.75.”

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The City’s contract with Republic Services states that the rate can rise either a maximum of four percent each year, or with the rate of the Consumer Price Index, which is 3.45 percent.
The base rate for Natalia residents to receive water, sewer, and garbage services is $82.40 a month.
“Since y’all are on a rate plan for water and sewer, that’s going up automatically,” Hinojosa said.
All rate increases kick in on October 1, the beginning of the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year.
A Fernandez-Vera motion to amend the garbage rate passed 4-0.
Other action
In other action, Council unanimously approved a contract with Natalia ISD for a School Resource Officer.
Additionally, the City’s COVID-19 policy was updated to be in compliance with State regulations, and five homes built thanks to the HOME Program were completed. Hinojosa said that plans for four additional home were sent to Bureau Veritas for approval, and applications for even more homes are in the queue.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer