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Mayor's Minutes

By Ricky White

I would like to thank and recognize the Public Works employees for the great work they have done at Reeve Lake trimming the trees and cutting out the dead limbs. Still have a little work to do, but the park is looking great. Also, the city has plans to install a water sprinkler system on the west side of the playground equipment. Getting more grass coverage will dress this area even more. I would encourage everyone to drive by the park and admire the work that has been done.

I visited with School Board President Ricky Barnett and he is asking everyone to begin piling tree limbs and wood behind Subway. The school is preparing a big bonfire for the homecoming football game.

The highway construction continues to make good progress. The completion of this project still stands at the end of October. The rain has postponed some progress, but will hopefully still make the planned completion date. The merging lane into Highway 60 from the north end of Main Street looks very good. I want to thank George Frye for suggesting this idea to the former Mayor, JB Douglas, a couple of years ago and City Manager, Patricia Phipps, for negotiating with TXDOT to make it a reality. It is going to make a huge improvement. Once the highway project is completed, the Economic Development Committee has plans to install an electronic billboard. They have other plans that will dress this area up also.

The city council had meetings the last couple of weeks discussing the budget for the new fiscal year and discussing the City’s tax assessment. City Manager, Patricia Phipps, has done a great job meeting this year’s budget and putting together the new budget. The new budget will be set at $4,143,445 beginning October 1, 2014 and ending September 30, 2015.

The city council voted to set the city tax rate at .7992 per $100 valuation. This is down compared to last year’s tax rate of .8250 per $100 valuation. The effective tax rate is .7942 per $100 valuation and the council voted to increase the rate .005 per $100 valuation to apply to the Interest and Sinking Fund for the new fiscal year. Also, the tax increase will assist the City of Friona to qualify for funding from the PRPC (Panhandle Regional Planning Commission) to extend the water line from Maple and Highway 60 back over to the north water tower.

Chief Jimenez and the Police Department answered a total of 234 calls. There were 72 warnings issued, 64 citations issued and 18 arrests. The police department has done a great job the past several months with the limited help they had. Officer Andrew Aguirre graduated from the Academy and is now working full time for the police department. The police department also hired Eric Fuentes and is currently fully staffed.

The Volunteer Fire Department was called out three times in August. (Fence caught on fire, a gas leak and a small grass fire.)

The city pumped 24,160,500 gallons of water, sold 19,107,000 and billed $78,687.83. This month, water usage was really close to last month’s usage. The rain has helped keep usage down. Less water being applied to the lawns.

Judge Campbell was really busy last month. There were 81 new cases filed and 43 cases were trial by judge ending with a guilty plea. There were 10 cases dismissed and 9 new juvenile cases filed. The Judge collected $7,347.30 and the total court costs were $2,953.26.

EMS had a total of 27 total runs. There were seven 9-1-1 calls, eight transfers and 12 no transfers. The City Manager, Patricia Phipps, has replaced the current billing company for the EMS department and it has paid big dividends. In the month of August, the city collected $19,992.91. This is an average increase of approximately $5,000-$6,000 per month collected.

The Friona Public Library had 1,949 patrons visit the library in August. There were 3,379 website visits, which consisted of individuals looking at the website or ordering books.

Lastly, the City of Friona office will be closed on September 30, 2014 to finalize the year-end procedures.

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