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Council discusses grants, water

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coldspringcityBy Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — The Coldspring City Council discussed current and future grants to assist the city in its efforts toward growth at its Dec. 4 meeting.

Mayor John Benestante said that in 2023, the city received four grants — $250,000 from ARPA, $630,000 from the state’s MIT-MOD program, $500,000 from the state’s CDBG program and $3 million from TxDOT — and for the city, that is unique.

Projects include running sidewalks near all schools except the elementary school, which is out of the city limits, he said. The first project will be from the High School to the Courthouse, and the city will apply next year for one for the junior high to courthouse.

Benestante said TxDOT will provide design with city oversight.

“All we have to do is communicate with the area of town affected,” he said. “We want to get pedestrian traffic off the highway.”

Next year, the city will apply for a grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife for park improvements, and one from FEMA to be used in the downtown area to improve the removal of storm water.

In a separate matter, the council discussed changing its water treatment to get rid of chlorine gas and switching to bleach.

Benestante said that with the plant being located near two schools, the change is justified.

“We’ve never had a leak, but after the fire at the chemical plant near Shepherd, I started looking into potential hazards,” he said. “Bleach doesn’t become gas, but soaks in the ground. It’s just as good as chlorine.”

He said that this will be discussed with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

In other business, the council:

•approved moving to legal means to get a nuisance property cleaned up;

•approved an electronic sign for City Hall, which will be installed in the first quarter of 2024. Benestante said it will be used for public information regarding weather, events and meetings, and that Peoples State Bank will assist in funding;

•discussed amending the city sewer ordinance, as it was found that in some areas there were multiple customers on one tap. Benestante said the city will consider changing the fee structure to institute a commercial tap fee as well as multiple tap fee;

•approved the city budget of $2,381,200 for 2024, an increase over last year’s budget which is attributed to additional grant funds;

•approved an election contract with San Jacinto County, will be held in March;

•approved a resolution for maintenance control regulation and supervision of state right of way; and

•approved a budget amendment for CDBG grant funds.

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