MDD, city eye business move to industrial park

Council to mull recycling, gets update on sidewalk, street work
Reporter Editor

From left, City Secretary Terry Blanchard swears in Mayor John King, council members Nathan Bland and Joyce Dalley, elected to new terms in May. 
Reporter/Mike Brown From left, City Secretary Terry Blanchard swears in Mayor John King, council members Nathan Bland and Joyce Dalley, elected to new terms in May. Reporter/Mike Brown In one of its more unique actions ever, Rockdale council members on Monday approved sending a letter to an unnamed nearby municipality giving notice Rockdale wants one of that town’s businesses to relocate at Coffield Industrial Park.

Meeting in regular session, the council also opened a dialogue on a possible recycling plan and heard an update on a TxDOT partnership to provide extensive street, drainage and sidewalk repairs.

LETTER—Choosing her words carefully to avoid identifying either the business or the municipality involved, Municipal Development District (MDD) Executive Director Kara Clore said the entity is working with an established firm which has evidenced a desire to relocate in the industrial park.

Clore said only that the business is “in a town not real far away.”

She said preliminary investigation revealed the firm would need additional water inflow to provide required fire protection at the site.

Clore said toward that end the MDD is seeking Texas Capital Fund grant funding for a 12-inch water line from the Texas Street waterworks to Coffield Industrial Park.

“As part of the grant requirement we’re going to need a letter from the city to that other city requesting that we (Rockdale) take that company,” Clore said.

The council voted unanimously to draft and send such a letter.

RECYCLING—Steve Shannon of Progressive Waste Solutions met with the council in a workshop session as the city prepares to negotiate a new five-year trash collection contract.

City Manager Chris Whittaker was instructed to enter negotiations with Progressive and also consider the addition of a curbside recycling option for Rockdale residents.

Shannon said he was an advocate for recycling and noted he believed Progressive could provide the service for a small additional fee. He said recycling would be in a 96-gallon container such as the green one now used for trash.

“But it would be a different color and would have instructions on the lid listing what materials should be placed inside,” he said.

East ward council member Joyce Dalley said she was in favor of recycling but had some concerns about the effects of such a fee increase on her constituents.

Whittaker said the contract will not come up until December and suggested a survey to gauge public support for a recycling program.

It was pointed out recycling would not be an option, that the fee would be added to all trash collection bills whether or not it is used by the customer.

SIDEWALKS, STREETS—The council discussed funding for a joint project negotiated by Whittaker with the Texas Department of Transportation and announced several months ago.

Rockdale will provide drainage and engineering and TxDOT will construct a sidewalk along US 79 (Cameron Avenue) from Dollar General to the downtown area and drainage and street work from Dollar General to US 77 (overpass area).

“That’sa3to4million dollar project and we’ll get it for half price,” Whittaker said.

US 79 will be re-striped to three lanes—one lane in each direction plus a central turning lane—and current angle parking will be retained in the central downtown area.

Mayor John King recommended no money be taken out of city reserves for the project.

In other business the council:

• Learned there’s a slowdown in the process of obtaining $3 million in certificates of obligation for police department construction due to a delay with a required audit. “The initial auditing firm walked away,” Whittaker said.

• Okayed hotel-motel tax funds for the Chamber of Commerce’s upcoming Buckin’ Bulls and BBQ event and for the next Apache Pass Fly-In.

• Re-elected Dalley as mayor pro tem.

• Endorsed Atmos Energy rates recently approved in a statewide settlement.

• Appointed City Secretary Terry Blanchard associate municipal judge.

• Sold a piece of property on Kennard Street for $800.

• Held a public hearing for a Community Development Block Grant application.

Also see story page 1A.

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