Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

May 3, 2014

Contractor resigns, Chandler seeks to create four city staff positions

Athens — The City of Chandler is growing and with growth comes the need for change.

Chandler City Council approved adding a utilities director position to its city staff during a called meeting Thursday at city hall.

“Stanley McCurley with Stan’s Backhoe Service submitted his 60-day notice to terminate his existing water and wastewater operation contract with the city effective May 1,” City Administrator John Taylor said. “This notice is required in that contract. The last day that he will be fulfilling his job as operator with the City of Chandler for water and sewer will be June 30. This notice will effectively cancel the contract with have with him.”

After more than 30 minutes of discussion, city leaders felt it would be best to bring the water and sewer operations in-house instead of using a third-party contractor as they currently are.

One of the major topics of conversation was cost and what would be in the city’s best interest as it continues to grow.

Currently, the city pays $11.50 per meter, per month to McCurley for service. Taylor said there are 1,322 meters in the city resulting in an annual fee of $182,436 paid to McCurley.

“This fee we pay to him is based on meters. As we grow as a city, that fee goes up. Projected for 2015 would be $187,956 and if projected out to 2020 using 40 meters a year it gets up to $215,556,” Taylor said.

As a third-party contractor, the fees cover McCurley’s staff and his equipment. Any supplies needed in repairs, chemicals or other water and sewer operations already come out of the city water budget.

“The $11.50 is not likely to be what a new third-party vendor would charge us. Back in 2002, we did bid out operations and we received two bids. We got McCurley’s at $11.50 a meter and another from U.S. Filter for $14.75 a meter. It is a safe assumption that $11.50 is a low number for third-party operations so we are using that as a comparison to what bringing it in-house might be.”

Taylor, Mayor Ann Hall and City Secretary Shirley Parmer contacted various cities throughout Texas that were similar size to Chandler to see how they handle operations.

Based on their findings, Taylor said the city will need a utility director and two water/wastewater operators who are licensed by the state. A maintenance person would also be hired but not required to have a license.

Taylor said the city could bring the operations in-house for about the same cost as it is currently paying McCurley.

While the annual operating cost would be about the same, there would be an initial start-up cost associated with the transition.

It is estimated the initial start-up cost would be in excess of $100,000 to provide the city with needed equipment, vehicles and office space.

“It is easy to see annual operating expenses of bringing it in house is a cost savings realizing the cost for a third-party operator would get bigger over time,” Taylor said. “The total expenses (for start-up) we are proposing can come from the utilities money market account, which has basically $117,000 in it. There are some other accounts that have money from previous accounts, at least three that we have that are not designated for any particular project we might be able to use. They are basically sitting there for reserve.”

The city has started the process of looking for a utilities director who will then help in hiring the staff needed to run the department.

Location of the department has not been determined, but city officials are considering options that include locating the department at Winchester Park where several maintenance operation items are currently stored.

Text Only
Local News
  • DSC_0018.JPG Volunteers now needed for Athens Soup Kitchen

    Athens resident Terry Mayhall walked through the doors of the Athens Soup Kitchen asking if he could just volunteer. Mayhall now spends his Thursdays cooking soup for people who are hungry.
    Athens Soup Kitchen, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The mission is to feed those who are hungry. The facility that feeds 30 to 63 people weekly, opened its door in March 2014.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-26 Mike chamber.png Coston named chamber president

    After a diligent search, the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board has named Mike Coston president. 
    “The chamber board selected a search committee, which consisted of Chamber members, community leaders and business owners,” Ashley Adams McKee, Chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board, said. “Our committee knew that we wanted to take our time to find the most qualified person to serve as our new president. We had more than 10 applicants and in our first round of interviews we were all equally impressed and excited about Mike's experience and passion for chamber business.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Update on restaurant projects given

    City of Athens officials gave an update on some ongoing projects and financial information at a meeting on Wednesday.
    Director of Planning and Development Gary Crecilius said progress on the Cotton Patch Cafe has slowed considerably with the discovery of a possible environmental hazard. The restaurant is being constructed east of the Walmart store on East Tyler Street.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_3092.JPG HCPAC announces ‘Mattress’ sales

    Why would HCPAC be selling mattresses? Actually, the “mattresses” are tickets to “Once Upon a Mattress,” which opens Thursday, Aug. 7.
    The 26th Annual Youth Summer Musical stars 24 very talented area students, ages 10 through college, and tells the “fractured fairy tale” version of the “Princess and the Pea.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-26 CCL Rotary Celebrity waiter.jpg Gearing up for Celebrity Waiter event

    The Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake is gearing up for its annual Celebrity Waiter event. The Celebrity Waiter committee met on Thursday to discuss last minute items. The event is scheduled for Saturday, August 9 at Athens Country Club. This will be the 18th year the CCL Rotary Club has hosted the fundraiser. For ticket information call Erin Osborn at 903-887-7486.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul harris.jpg Paul Harris recognition

    Rotary of Cedar Creek Lake President Erin Osborn presents Rotarian Bill Burnett with his second Paul Harris recognition. Rotarians are given a Paul Harris recognition when a Rotarian donates $1,000 or more to the fund outright. Benefactors receive a certificate and insignia to wear with a Rotary or Paul Harris Fellow pin.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-25 Sanders_Kendall.jpg Sanders suspended indefinitely

    Two University of Texas football players were arrested and charged Thursday with felony sexual assault after a female student said she was raped in a campus dorm room last month.
    Wide receivers Kendall Sanders, of Athens, and Montrel Meander were arrested and later released on personal recognizance bonds. According to an arrest affidavit, Sanders and Meander texted each other during earlier interviews with police to "get their story straight" and Sanders also faces a charge of improper photography tied to the alleged assault on June 21.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25 tree down college st. 1.JPG Thunderstorms take their toll on counties

    A line of thunderstorms rolled through Henderson County on Wednesday, snapping tree branches and power lines along the way.
    The winds that accompanied the storm resulted in thousands of people in North Texas without electricity and roads broken by falling trees or debris.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Council considering Burton's severance package

    The Athens City Council, by a 3-to-2 vote, tabled a budget adjustment on Wednesday to fund a severance package for City Administrator Pam Burton who’s stepping down at the end of the year.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Eustace ISD approves tax rates

    The Eustace Independent School District Board of Trustees held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday in the Eustace High School Library.
    Several reports and agenda items were considered by the board, and all were passed or approved. Board Secretary Ashley McKee was absent.
    The board was presented with the superintendent's reports on revenue, expenditures, payroll and taxes.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo