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Front Page August 1, 2017  RSS feed

Cascading water problems roil City Council meetings

By Mac Shadix


The Texas A&M Target Communities Program group: left to right, Dr John Cooper, assistant V.P. Urban Planning, Jeewasmi Thapa, Program Coordinator, Sam Hudson, Student Assistant and Jaimie Masterson, Associate Director. Photo by Mac Shadix The Texas A&M Target Communities Program group: left to right, Dr John Cooper, assistant V.P. Urban Planning, Jeewasmi Thapa, Program Coordinator, Sam Hudson, Student Assistant and Jaimie Masterson, Associate Director. Photo by Mac Shadix With only council members Martin Housler and Dianne Ryder at the table for the 5 p.m. meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee there was not a quorum present and they could not discuss issues or take action. Housler and Ryder chatted pleasantly with the Texas A&M Target Communities Program group until the special called council meeting began at 6 p.m.

The real fireworks began when the public comment section of the special called meeting began. Ex City Attorney Gayle Raye lit into the mayor about the terrible water at her house on Gene Street. You cannot bathe in it, wash clothes, or cook with it, she said. Raye lambasted Mayor Royce Dawkins about the water, about her relations with him on social media, and on her not being added to the agenda as she had requested. Raye approached the council table with photos of unbelievable bad water in bathtubs. After Raye’s three minutes were up Karen Jackson Capio echoed Raye’s complaints in a calmer but more emotional manner. Buffalo Press Publisher Mac Shadix also spoke, saying that he had received numerous complaints about red and yellow water and strong chlorine smells in the water. Others present reported that while they had red water and occasional yellow water, they had not experienced strong chlorine smells.

Moving onto the hot seat when the discussion turned to the replacement of “old cast iron pipes.” Buffalo Director of Public Works, Tommy Reese told the council that they were in consultation with engineers, were testing the water and the water sources. Reese told the council that the city was set for a TCEQ inspection on August 18. Reese assured the council that the water was safe to drink, if unappealing. The council postponed action until the test results were received. It was stated that the water issues would be on the next agenda.

After the meeting, City Secretary Debbie Waters said that despite the bad water there had been no complaints to city. People who are experiencing bad water should call the city and talk to their council representatives. Without communication, no one knows what you are experiencing.

The drama of the water complaints made the following meeting with the Target Communities Group seem like a garden party. Dr. John Cooper spoke briefly. “We want to give you a little insight into our processes,” he told the group. The group, which will be dealing with issues that can be contentious stressed community involvement and openness. Citizen involvement is necessary to avoid surprises.

Ken Jones gave the BEDC quarterly report. Included in the report was that their income was down by about 2%.

Agenda items on the effective and proposed tax rates were passed over by Mayor Dawkins, but the council insisted on a brief discussion. The Buffalo Property appraisal value has decreased slightly this year and Ryder had a question of how the effective rate could be lower than last years. The answer appeared to be that last years rater was higher than the last effective rate. However, it was still below the rollback rate.

The police report was presented by Chief Lance Pavelka. It stated that the department had answered 60 calls for service. these included; one theft, three forgery, one felon in possession of a firearm, one burglary and one evading arrest. The department issued 252 citations.

Chief Pavelka issued a warning about leaving children or animals in unattended vehicles. “We will bust your windows to get them out.” he said.

Pavelka also warned that accidents are on the rise because of the blinking yellow lights. Yellow means yield, the chief emphasized.


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