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Links for Thursday, February 12, 2015:

NewsObituariesTown TalkCouncil okays MLK

Council okays MLK holiday, sets election

The Friona city council met Monday February 9 with all members present. Mayor Rick White presided. Octavio Moreno was present and told the council he was taking a Political Science class at West Texas A&M and part of his assignment was to attend and observe a city council meeting.

The council set Saturday May 9 as the election day for city council and approved a joint election day and location with the Friona ISD school board election. There are three seats available on the city council and the school board.

Police Chief Isidro Jimenez gave the department profiling report and activity report for January. The department had 561 calls for service, issued 49 citations and 169 warnings. The police officers logged a total of 5,057 miles patrolling the city in January.

The official audit report that was scheduled for this meeting was moved to the March agenda. The auditor giving the report was not available at this meeting.

Accounts payable and financial statement for January were discussed and approved. The city manager was authorized to let bids for sealcoating and Brandt Engineering was approved to manage the project. Friona has joined with Dimmitt, Hart, Muleshoe, and Bovina in order to negotiate a lower rate for the sealcoating project in the cities.

City manager Phipps asked the council to consider allowing city offices to close for the Martin Luther King holiday in January. She explained many people thought they were closed and business at city hall was very slow on the holiday. The council approved allowing MLK day as a holiday.

A variance request by Efrain Balli to build a three car garage at 1619 W. 10th was approved. No action was taken on a request for city water on property owned by Cargill north of town. The property has a house and a well and the council wanted to determine if the well was working before deciding the issue.

Local AgTexas (formerly Great Plains Ag Credit) manager Robert Jones addressed the council about a water flooding incident at the AgTexas office. Water was shut off at the AgTexas building when they overlooked paying their water bill. When the bill was paid, an AgTexas employee told the city they would be there when the water was turned on. A few minutes later city employees turned the water back on and assumed someone was inside the building but it was during the lunch hour and no one was present.

As a result, one of the urinals in the restroom ran for about an hour, flooding the office. Employees discovered the mess when they returned from lunch. AgTexas requested the city share the expense of the cleanup. City manager Phipps said the city workers are supposed to make sure someone is home (or in the office) prior to turning water back on. In this case the employees assumed someone was in the office.

After a discussion the city council approved paying half of the cleanup expense. They also instructed the city manager to amend the city policy and require employees turning water back on to make sure someone is present. If no one is home they will be required to wait and go back when someone is home.

The council went into closed executive session about 7:30 p.m. On return to regular session, the council authorized the city manager to post a bid in the Friona Star to sell approximately 1.12 acres of land on Austin St. across from Hunan's, stretching from Great Plains Ag north to the alley. (The bid notice is in this Friona Star.)

The next meeting of the city council is 6:30 p.m. Monday March 9. All council meetings are open to the public.