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The Muleshoe City Council held its regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 9, at City Hall. Present were Mayor Colt Ellis, Mayor Pro-Tem Earl Behrends, and council members Lupe Mendoza, Crystal Alarcon and Gary Parker.

City Secretary Zanea Carpenter administered the oath of office to council members Alercon, District 1, and Mendoza, District 2. Both are incumbents.

Earl Behrends agreed to remain in the position of mayor pro tem, and council approved his selection.

Scott Miller of the Heritage Foundation spoke about a proposal that the Foundation combine their offices with the Chamber of Commerce. Discussion followed. The proposal was not an action item, so no vote was taken. City Manager Ramon Sanchez said he would review the proposal and send a copy of the city’s lease to the city attorney for review.

A motion to consider authorizing solicitation and procurement of Professional Services in conjunction with the City’s HOME Reservation Agreement, 2021-2024 Contract No. 1003226 was made, seconded and unanimously approved.

Council considered a motion awarding a construction bid for the HOME Program #1002804 to Build Kingdom, Lubbock, Texas for addresses 518 E Ave G and 305 W 11th. Sanchez said the bid is for construction of three homes. At this time two of the three homes are ready to be constructed, but paperwork still needs to be completed on the third home.

A motion to award the bid was made, seconded and unanimously approved.

Council considered a request from Oneita Wagon Senior Center for financial assistance. In 2003, the city added a voluntary $1 donation to each water bill to support the Center. The city then writes a check to the Center for about $1,600 a month. The Center is requesting that the amount be raised to $2.

Alercon asked whether there were any cons to the proposal. Sanchez replied that some people might decide not to donate at all rather than add the extra dollar.

Behrends raised the possibility that the Senior Center isn’t taking advantage of grants and other opportunities for raising funds. Parker remarked that grants are hard to get and he thinks the Center is doing everything possible. Several council members spoke to the importance of the Senior Center to the city.

A motion to approve the request was seconded and approved by a 3-2 vote. Behrends and Alercon voted no; Ellis, Mendoza and Parker voted yes.

Council considered a contract amendment with South Plains Waste to reflect a 7 percent rate increase to keep up with inflation. The issue of better service was raised, and it was pointed out that two more trucks have been added. A motion to approve the amendment was made, seconded and unanimously approved.

A motion to pass Ordinance O-533-0522 Amending the Fee Schedule to reflect a $2 a month increase on the garbage rate for commercial and residential was seconded and unanimously approved.

Council considered Ordinance O-534-0522 Amending Chapter 4, Article 4.02 Sale and Distribution of Alcoholic Beverages; Adding Section 4.02.010 regarding Late Hours of Operation. The ordinance reflects current practice for permits to change the 1 a.m. closing time on weekends to 2 a.m. for local business. A motion to make the amendment was moved, seconded and approved.

Council considered a recommendation from Muleshoe Economic Development Corporation for Crystal Alercon to serve on the MEDC Board of Directors for a two-year term. Two members of the city council are allowed to serve for a two-year term. A motion to allow Alercon to serve was made, seconded and unanimously approved.

A motion to receive the Investment Summary for the month ending March 31, 2022, was made, seconded and unanimously approved.

A motion to receive the Financial Statement for the month ending April 30, 2022, was made, seconded and unanimously approved.

In Administrative Reports:

1. Mayor Pro-Tem Behrends, Council member Mendoza and staff attended the TML Region III Meeting in Lubbock on March 24. The meeting at the FiberMax facility was well attended.

2. The city staff participated in a Biggest Loser Challenge again this year. Employees lost a total of 103.4 pounds. Sanchez said it was the best participation they have had in many years. The competition over 13 weeks is done in conjunction with the city’s wellness program and involves Public Works, City Hall, the library staff and the police department. Alex Saucedo, having lost six percent of his weight, was the Biggest Loser.

3. The Muleshoe Water Park is scheduled to open on May 3.

4. Youth Fishing Day at Lake Muleshoe will be Saturday, June 4, the first Saturday of the month.

5. Plans for Movie in the Park are projected for the third Thursday in May, June, July and possibly August.

6. The budget process for 2022-2023 has begun. A budget work session will be scheduled for a later date.

7. As a result of HB 3834 passed at the last legislative session, cyber security training is now required by staff and council yearly. Training will have to be completed and sent into Texas Department of Information Resources by June 15, 2022.

8. City projects including the CDBG water line project, the lift Station, seal coat and landfill are in process.

In the mayor’s remarks, Ellis said he had attended a High Ground Site Selector meeting. High Ground helps large companies find the right location for their place of business. Ellis said it was very educational, and he was glad Muleshoe had a presence there.

Parker brought up and Sanchez confirmed that a number of openings are available at the city including two patrol officers, an animal control officer, a part-time dispatcher and summer help at the pool.

“This is the most I have seen for a long time,” Sanchez said, adding that they’ve had very few applications.

The meeting adjourned.

Gail M. Williams

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

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