Ballinger City Council round up - City seeking citizen input

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register
Ballinger city manager Brian Frieda discussed projects that the city has ongoing, as well as new hires and working on the retirement system.

Ballinger city manager Brian Freida is seeking input from citizens in Ballinger regarding roadwork and other projects the city has going on. He said that the city is due $794,098 from the American Recovery Act. The city is also receiving a grant for paving projects.

Frieda said that the city is seeking input regarding the repair of city streets after water and sewer work are completed, "Some of the streets are brick, and they've been here for a long time. We'll have to go across some of those brick streets for the water and sewer work. To put the bricks back is expensive. So, do we want to put bricks back, or pave the roadway. Paving isn't nearly as expensive as brick. I value the people's opinion and want to hear from them."

As for other paving work, Frieda laid out the priorities, "The Stripes area is a priority. We want to get that work done soon. We're also looking at Park Ave, Phillips Avenue, 8th Street, 13th and 14th Street, East Avenue and Broadway in front of the elementary school. We're working with the engineers to develop a plan."

Another project that the city is looking at is drainage, "We are looking at improving the drainage. We're considering concrete drainage. Again, we want input from our citizens on the project," Frieda said.

The city continues to work on the water lines. According to Frieda, the old water lines weren't capped or blocked off when the new poly line was installed. This is the reason that some of the water looks brown or green. Water is passing through the poly line, but it's also passing through those old lines due to the work not being completed properly.

Frieda said that the city is partnering with other cities, including Coleman, Brady, and Miles for insurance purposes. Frieda said that this could help employees of all the towns involved, "If we can come together and get 200 employees, combined, we could lower insurance costs. The more people we have involved, the lower the rate. It can also help with dependent insurance." According to Frieda, they already potentially have 204 employees, but the city is still talking to other towns about getting involved. He also said that he wants to work on the retirement system as well, "We're looking at retirement insurance benefits. We want to bolster the retirement system."

The city is looking for citizens who want to serve on the board for redistricting. The board is a short term commitment.

They're also looking for citizens to serve on a longer term board that will review substandard properties. The substandard properties board will have monthly meetings. Frieda will put the list for both boards together and present it to the council. He is asking for each council member to select someone from the list. The boards will be comprised of 5 citizens.

The city is hiring a public works director. The council will review the hiring of Rebecca Coulson in executive session at the next council meeting. Coulson has a bachelors degree in geology and has experience designing infrastructure systems for the water distribution system in Montana.

Sharon Sneed Hicks and Daniel Santee are the new city attorneys. Both attorneys worked as special counsel for the City of Sweetwater. They did not work as the city attorney in Sweetwater. "We save money hiring them as the city attorney since hiring them as special counsel would have been more expensive. We also get the law firm that Santee works for by hiring him, which is another 20 attorneys we could potentially use."

The city has two employees now qualified as Certified Pool Operators. Jess Manning and Thomas Ammons have completed the training. The city plans on sending an additional employee to the training.