Council OKs new notification system

LeAnda Staebner
Glen Rose Reporter

The Glen Rose City Council met in a lengthy regular session on Tuesday, approving a citizen notification system, clearing the way for a special election and officially adopting an interlocal agreement concerning effluent water.

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City Secretary Stephanie Ritchie enlisted the help of intern John Hague to research and present an in-depth analysis of several citizen notification systems available to government entities.

He reviewed the cost, ease of use, reviews and functionality. Based on the information gathered, it was recommended that the city use TextMyGov, which the council ultimately approved.

According to the agenda packet, an estimate from the company states the cost to the city for the first year will be $3,500, which includes a one-time $1,000 set-up and implementation fee and $2,500 for 50,000 text messages per year. After the initial year, the cost will be $2,500.

The cost will include unlimited users, unlimited departments and unlimited support for every user of TextMyGov. If the city needs additional messages, they can be purchased at $750 for 100,000 messages, per need.

Hague noted that the service allows the city to create sub-groups, for example, individuals living on a particular street or a particular area of town would be notified of an incident in their particular area. TextMyGov will be available in addition to the city's current emergency alert system.

The notification system will be used for non-emergencies such as temporary street closures, boil-water notices and other situations that arise. 

Resident Sandra Ramsey posed her concern about the city's elderly residents who have limited technology or technology skills.

After some discussion, the council said a notification of the system with instructions on its use would be included in utility bills sent out by the city and support services are available.

Effluent water interlocal agreement

The council also gave final approval to an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with Somervell County for providing and use of sewage plant effluent water.

At its meeting last month, Councilwoman Demetra Conrad presented the agreement for council consideration and discussion, noting that the water would be used to help water the city golf course, keeping it green during the hot summer and appealing to tourists. She noted that if the water needs to be used elsewhere, the city would have the discretion to do so. 

The agreement is for five years, after which time it automatically renews if both parties are still satisfied.

A concerned resident asked the council on Tuesday if it had considered the value of the effluent water in discussions with the county, noting that when residents flush a toilet or wash dishes, they are paying a water and sewer fee.

Conrad assured that the discussion had come up with the Commissioners Court and noted that the benefits of having a green, appealing golf course for tourists, which increases city sales tax collections and other tax income, offsets some of the income the city would lose through not selling the effluent water.

Special election

The council voted to set a special election for Nov. 2, which will include a proposition on alcohol sales and an election for two council positions to fill unexpired terms.

Ritchie noted that a valid petition with the required signatures was not available in time for the May election so it had to wait until the Nov. 2 election.

The Special Local Option Election will let Somervell County voters decide on the "legal sale of alcoholic beverages including mixed beverages," according to the agenda packet.

The council's action also designated polling places, ordered notices of the election to be given and authorized execution of joint election contracts.

Early voting for the election will begin on Oct. 18. More information will be available as the election draws near

Building Official search

The council heard an update from City Manager Michael Leamons on the search and hiring process for a Building Official for the city.

Leamons noted in his monthly report that a candidate with whom he had an interview scheduled did not show up for the appointment. When he tried to contact the individual, no messages were answered or returned.

He said he has contacted at least two other potential candidates, also with no response.

Ritchie noted that the city is currently advertising the position on its website, Facebook, with the Texas Municipal League and on indeed.com

Leamons said that there is an extreme shortage of building inspectors with the proper qualifications, which is making the search more difficult.

Due to the length of the meeting, several agenda items were moved to the council's next regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10.