The Brownfield City Council took on a number items in Thursday’s April 1, 2021 regular scheduled meeting. The meeting began with a call to order from Mayor Hesse, then moved to the invocation and pledges. The Council then went into the items of business beginning with public comments. Since there were none they moved to approve the last meetings minutes from March 4, 2021.
The third item of business was to hear the 2020 reports from the Brownfield Director of Electric Utilities, Cat Gonzales. He began with the 2020 outage summary which showed the purpose of the outages across Brownfield in 2020. The report showed to be 211 total outages in 2020. The purposes of the outages were listed:
- Repair/Replace Services – 62
- Change out transformers – 30
- Blown transformer fuses – 31
- House fires – 2
- Replace poles – 57
- Work on pad mount transformer – 1
- Phase on the ground – 4
- Opened breaker – 17
- Cross arm change out – 2
- Broke jumper – 1
- Change out cut-outs – 4
It was noted from Gonzales that 49 of the 57 replaced poles were from the tornado that damaged the south side of the city on June 17, 2020. It took a total of 48 hours over four days to complete the job from the storm.
Gonzales also came back later in the meeting to discuss item 6 which was to consider the purchase of a “recloser” for the electrical distribution system. A recloser is an automatic, high-voltage electric switch like that of a circuit breaker on household electric lines. It shuts off electric power when trouble occurs, such as a short circuit. Unlike a household circuit breaker which will remain shut off until it is manually reset, a recloser automatically tests the electrical line to determine whether the trouble has been removed. If the problem was only temporary, then the recloser automatically resets itself and restores the electric power.
Reclosers are used throughout the power distribution system, from the substation to residential utility poles. They range from small reclosers for use on single-phase power lines, to larger three-phase reclosers used in substations and on high-voltage power lines up to 38,000 volts. According to Gonzales the City will need to purchase a “Three Phase Viper Recloser” to replace the one located on D Street and Stewart Street. The current one is not operational after a series of winter storms in early 2020 and lighting in September. Gonzales stated that they tried to reset the recloser, but it would not.
This particular recloser is on circuit 10, and with it out of service, the recloser also on circuit 10 located at Cerdar Road and Tahoka Road has been taking the brunt of the load. Also once the new high school is up and running, it will feed off of circuit 10 and will need the new recloser at D St. and Stewart St. The cost of the new recloser will be $24,757.50. The Council approved the purchase on the new recloser. Since this was not in the 2020-2021 budget, the council will need to do a budget amendment prior to the end of the budget in September 2021.
The Council then moved on to item 4 which was to hear and consider the 2020 annual update and report from the Brownfield Director of Water and Wastewater James Nix. According to Nix there was a total of seven major water leaks and three major water line replacements. There were two booster stations that were overhauled as well. Nix stated with the major water leaks and fire hydrant clean outs there was 6,411,500 gallons of water loss.
Next on the agenda, the Council approved Ordinance No. 2118. The Council amended City Code Appendix “A” Article 7.000 (entitled electric rates). In a special meeting in March 2021, the Council approved a 1.25 cent ($0.0125) rate increase per kilowatt to cover the cost of electricity generated during Winter Storm Uri which took place in the middle of February 2021. The new city ordinance allows the city to raise the rate. The ordinance also has a repeal clause so the council can change the ordinance back to its original content. The ordinance was approved unanimously. City Manager Jeff Davis said, “we are hoping to get the extra electricity cost paid off sooner rather than later.” Also it was noted there is a chance FEMA or/and the State of Texas will help alleviate the burden of cost.
Up next was to discuss and consider funding from the Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue (HOT funds) for advertising through Ramar Communication’s “Our Town Spotlight”. State law dictates that 15% of HOT funds has to be used for advertisement. The council approved the agenda item which will cost $5000.
The final item listed was to discuss and consider the extension, renewal, amend, or cancellation of the Declarationof Local Disaster-Mayoral Order due to the public health emergency to slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the City of Brownfield. Since the order mimics Texas Governor Greg Abbotts lated executive order, the council approved the extension for another 30 days.
Seven of the eight council members were present. Councilman Chuck Nave was absent. The next meeting is slated for April 15, 2021 at 7:30 a.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.