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Council terminates city well contract

Council terminates city well contract
NANNETTE KILBEY-SMITH Ty Davidson with LBG Guyton addresses the La Vernia City Council March 8 regarding his firm’s work for the city regarding a new municipal well. The city terminated LBG Guyton’s contract during the meeting.

The city’s plans for a new municipal well have taken several steps backward, as La Vernia City Council has terminated its contract with well engineers LBG Guyton. The action was taken during the March 8 regular council meeting.

Bill Hutchison, representing LBG Guyton, updated the council on recent issues, advising his firm had terminated the services of one contractor San Antonio-based Bain Medina Bain which had not fulfilled its obligations, causing delays to the city’s well project, he said.

Councilmen Randy Leonard and D. Bradford Beck questioned Hutchison closely regarding LBG Guyton’s work for the city, citing $90,000 paid to the firm.

Leonard asked City Attorney Charlie Zech with Denton, Navarro, Rocha & Bernal if the council could withdraw into executive session regarding the matter. Told they could not on the specific point in question, Leonard continued his questions, then made a motion to terminate the city’s contract with LBG Guyton, citing failure to perform its contract in a timely manner. Beck seconded the motion.

“I have an obligation to the taxpayers, and I believe you’ve failed miserably,” Leonard said. “I don’t have any confidence in you.”

The council was advised at that point that an executive session was possible. Gerlich made a motion to withdraw into closed session, seconded by Beck.

When the council returned, the original motion was voted down. Another motion was made by Leonard, to terminate the contract “at will and without cause.” Beck seconded; the motion was approved unanimously.

This leaves the city with several sets of plans for a new municipal well and a replacement well, a well site, and plans for a filtration system, but no step closer to drilling of a new well the city desperately needs. It continues to purchase water when necessary from the Canyon Regional Water Authority, a costly measure this past year during the extreme drought, the single worst one-year drought on record.

In other matters, the council:

¢Approved an ordinance to prevent parking on U.S. 87 and F.M. 1346 near the intersection of the two roads. The vote was tied at two for and against. Mayor Harold Schott cast the deciding vote in favor of the measure.

¢Discussed an ordinance regarding public nuisances, specifically weeds and grass clippings, etc., being disposed of by blowing or raking them into city streets. This died for lack of a motion.

¢Approved including a $62.50 fee for water reconnections after hours.

¢Approved membership in a “buy board” or cooperative purchasing agreement with the Education Service Center Region 4, at no cost to the city.

¢Approved a motion to allow the La Vernia Historical Association to proceed with plans for a veterans memorial to be placed in the La Vernia City Park, instead of placing it near U.S. 87, as had been discussed previously.

¢Approved contributing matching funds with the Floresville Electric Light & Power System for the 2012 Summer Youth Program.

¢Received a “pretty clean” audit report for fiscal year 2010-11 from Armstrong, Vaughan & Associates.

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