Driscoll City Council members approved the appointments of a city clerk and city financial accountant during the July 7 meeting.
Melissa Mungia, who was working as an administrative assistant for the city at $10 an hour, was approved as the new Driscoll City Clerk at an annual salary of $22,880. Driscoll Mayor John Aguilar said the change from hourly rate to salary equaled to a $1 per hour increase for Mungia.
Isabel Chapa also saw a change in her employment status. Chapa had been under contract with the city over the last three months to help facilitate the preparation of information for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 city audits, which are being finalized by auditor Ernest Garza.
The council created the city finacial accountant position to establish and maintain all fiscal controls currently in place, and to ensure the city continues handling its fiduciary responsibilities in accordance with governmental accounting standards, Aguilar said.
Chapa’s salary in the new position will be $31,200 per year, city officials said.
Also discussed at the meeting was the current status of the cleanup at the old landfill site.
The cleanup was completed by the city, Aguilar said, and documentation has already been sent to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The TCEQ at first fined the city $12,000 in January after refuse items were found being illegally stored at the landfill.
The items where buried underground and had been at the location for several years.
The TCEQ later reduced the fine to $9,600 and the city had hoped to see that amount decrease even more after the work of the July city audit was completed.
In an effort to see their books cleared of this matter, city officials said the TCEQ asked the city to begin payment on the fine. The initial payment has been made.
To cover the cost of the fine, the city leased out a garbage truck to Jim Wells County in January for $450 per week. Aguilar said at this point, there is more than $10,000 in the account, which will help cover the TCEQ fine, should the organization choose not to reduce the fine further.
The landfill cost almost $15,000 to clean, and Aguilar said the recent sale of a grappler truck to C.C. Disposal for $7,000 will help with the overall cleanup costs.
With a lack of interest in commercial development in Driscoll, city officials announced the termination of a grant between the City of Driscoll and the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Division.
The city had been approved for a Texas Capital Fund Grant in September 2008. Along with Zebra Inc., doing business as Snappy Foods, the group had endeavored to bring in outside businesses to develop a large commercial center in Driscoll.
Without enough interest, Aguilar said, the city has sent letters to Zebra, asking for payment on $23,750 in engineering fees and $12,250 in administration fees on the project. These amounts would be paid to the state from either the city or Zebra, but city officials are preparing for the possibility that the city will be footing the bill for now.
‘We’ll probably have to pay up front and have Zebra reimburse us,” Aguilar said. “That is probably the worst case scenario, but more than likely what will happen.”