By Valerie Reddell
Ivanhoe City Council will seek voter approval on May 5 of a $2 million bond package to fund street rehabilitation and improvements within the City of Ivanhoe, following action at the February council meeting held Feb. 8.
City Secretary C.D. Woodrome said 7.5 miles of the main city streets will be targeted, focusing on the areas that lead into the city and to the lakes.
"All our other streets branch off of those," Woodrome said.
If approved, the bond issue will generate $1.7 million to $2 million of funds that the city hopes to use to leverage its application for grant funding in the next round of disaster recovery projects in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Ivanhoe has retained bond counselor Lance Fox and Jim Gilley of U.S. Capital Advisors to provide the needed professional services related to issuing the bonds.
The city will conduct the election using equipment rented from County Clerk Donece Gregory, as well as her advice on conducting the election.
"This is a huge step forward for us," Mayor Cathy Bennett said after the council voted unanimously to call for the election. "We will have multiple town hall meetings. We want everyone to understand what we are attempting to do."
Bennett further urged those attending the council meeting Thursday to talk to their neighbors and encourage everyone in Ivanhoe to come and listen to those town hall sessions.
An unmodified report Davis, Heinemann & Company who presented the independent auditor report on the city's financial records for 2017 should help the city clear the necessary hurdles to issuing the bonds.
The auditor told council members that city finances outperformed the budget forecast.
The budget for the 2017 fiscal year projected a deficit, using cash reserves to balance the budget, but revenue exceeded expenses by $60,000 for the year.
The auditors recommended that the city begin to draft a succession plan for how financial matters and operations would be passed on to another staff person who would eventually try to fill Woodrome's shoes.
She also recommended that the council review security measures, ensuring that financial records are locked in a secure place and the passwords that protect access to those records.
Bennett introduced David Marshall as the city's new volunteer Director of Public Works. Marshall has many years' experience with the Texas Department of Transportation and as an instructor with Amarillo Junior Collect and the Texas Engineering Extension Service.
Marshall has been in the position for about two weeks.
"Now I realize what I stepped off in," Marshall said with a chuckle. "We have massive problems, and help is on the way. But it took a long time for the roads to get this way, and it will take a long time to fix."
Marshall told the council that would be using a different material and techniques so that the repairs will last long, and those patches will "ride smoother."
Marshall is working on a master plan that will be used to prioritize work as well as direct future projects funded by the proposed bond and any disaster recovery grants the city can obtain.
That new material was set to be delivered Feb. 9. Marshall anticipated that crews would work on the 148 sites identified by FEMA in 2015 as weather permits.
"In the spring we will do our durndest to catch up before we have another disaster," Marshall said, which drew groans from Woodrome and several others in the audience.
"Drainage is the first thing on the agenda," Marshall continued. "If we don't have the drainage correct, the roads won't hold up to the hydraulic action of that water."
City Marshal Terry Riley reported that the call volume went down 10 calls or so during the last month. No burglaries were reported.
Municipal Judge Judith Haney reported that 10 or 11 citations were issued in January. Those citations chiefly dealt with vehicle registration issues, no driver's license or not changing address and equipment problems.
The court held show cause hearings and capias warrants were issued in cases where people never came forward and took care of their violations.
"From 1965 to 2005, court costs have gone up 1760%," Haney said. "It's still limited on what judges could do and how we could get that money in, but we have a little more clout."
The Ivanhoe Municipal Court will have pretrial hearings on Friday, Feb. 16. Haney said that if any violators do not "see the light" after meeting with City Attorney Brad Elrod, those cases can proceed immediately to a bench trial, or set a date to hear the case before a jury.
Clean up set
City officials are finalizing plans for a citywide cleanup that will provide an opportunity for residents to dump appliances and other large items for free. Details will be announced soon.
Residents who would like to donate items for the huge annual garage sale can drop off items on March 19.
New Staff members
Office Assistant Malissie Taylor and Colby Kipp have joined the city staff as part of the Workforce Commission's Dislocated Worker Program, Woodrome announced. TWC pays their salary expenses for one year.