By Jan White
CROCKETT – At the meeting held of the Crockett City Council on Monday, Dec. 5, members were presented with a list of possible projects for using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds awarded to the city.
During the meeting, City Administrator John Angerstein reported that ARPA monies were still available that hadn’t been used. He said that Crockett had received over $1.5M in funds. Items purchased so far include laptops and printers for police vehicles, the purchase of an animal shelter, and a motor grader for road repairs, “But we have funding left on the table,” said Angerstein. “We have until 2025 to spend the funds.”
After speaking with council members and city employees, Agnerstein came up with a ‘top ten’ list of suggested ways to spend the money:
1. Repair to wastewater plant sludge. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ), this item is mandatory. Angerstein estimated that the project would cost anywhere from 100k to 200k, depending on the method they use.
2. New roof on City Hall. It was estimated that the building was constructed around 1988, with an upgrade a few years later. Angerstein estimated that the cost for replacement would be around $65k but hasn’t asked for actual bids yet.
3. Drum roller purchase. It was estimated that a new drum roller would be in the $30k range.
4. Parking lot beside Moosehead and behind Hearts Desire. The parking areas need upgrades, reworking the ground, stabilizing, and repairs.
5. Welcome to Crockett signs. Angerstein reported that there are six major highways that lead into Crockett and at this time five of them have metal signs that are rusted and dilapidated. He also said that designs were for a possible cinder-block style sign with raised metal lettering and backlighting that represented the city’s “Paradise in the Pines” logo.
6. Bathroom at Wheeler Park. Updates for the current restroom facility would include a new roof, paint, and new lighting, which would cost around $22k. It was also suggested to build a pavilion similar to the one in Davy Crockett park. Angerstein estimated the cost would be around $60k, but there have been no actual bids on the project.
7. Downtown Strategic Planning – Angerstein proposed hiring a strategic planning group to help with downtown planning and tourism. He said it would take commitment and work and that the city would have to commit to hiring a salaried employee, developing a budget, and other specific requirements. The program requires a three-year commitment of $25k per year and would include holding public meetings, sizing buildings, working with the downtown park and pavilion, and possibly creating a downtown visitor center.
8. Gear and repairs for Fire Department – The fire department has requested four new sets of bunker gear, bay heaters for the Fire Station, and some repairs to the slab and footers.
9. Purchase of a vehicle for the Police Department. The police department has requested the replacement of its oldest Tahoe with a new one.
10. Refurbishing the pavilion in Davy Crockett Park. It was suggested that the pavilion in the park receive some needed repairs and paint to keep it updated.
After hearing the list and discussion among the council, Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher suggested that the agenda item be tabled until the next meeting when members have had a chance to go over the list and prioritize what they believe to be the most crucial ways to use the funds.
Other agenda items included the approval and authorization to execute a State Infrastructure Bank Loan agreement that will be used in conjunction with street improvement in the city, updates to the city’s Policy and Procedure Manual, and the sale or disposal of surplus items no longer serviceable for the city.
Council members also voted to increase the budget for the Crockett Economic Industrial and Development Corporation forensic audit based on the request from the auditors. Angerstein explained that the original proposal was based on a “sight unseen” situation. After the project began, the auditing firm realized that they would need additional funding to complete the project. It was projected that the auditors hope to finalize the report before Christmas. The proposal was to increase the budget up to $125k.
The final agenda item was to approve the bid from KSA Engineers along with an application for funding through the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) for the Texas Community Block Program Grant Program for wastewater improvements.