By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

ELKHART – A fine imposed on the City of Elkhart by the Railroad Commission of Texas as a result of a gas line on Moore Street – which was hit during a repair of a leak – was discussed by the Elkhart City Council during a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, June 5.

“A few months back, we had a leak out on Moore Street – the first leak on that end this year,” said City of Elkhart Public Works Supervisor B.J. Perry. “The center of the hole, where the gas line was – we didn’t dig there.”

Perry explained that while waiting for dry material to fill in the hole, he observed the “wall” of the hole beginning to cave in.

“I reached over with the mini excavator and smooshed it in, and when I came back with it, I hooked that gas line and pulled it out,” he said. “Of course, then, we went through the 911, 811, gas company and everything. I even dug it up for the gas company to fix and was helping fix it.”

The efforts to rectify the issue were temporarily halted, however, due to the gas company representative lacking a necessary part to complete the repair.

Perry said he submitted paperwork on the matter to the Railroad Commission prior to the completion of the repair.

“It gives you options to choose, and the option I chose was that we failed to hand dig in the area where the line was,” Perry said.

It was an occurrence, he assured, which will not be repeated.

“We did report it, so we didn’t have the big fine like we did the last time – back in 2012 or 2013,” he said. “We didn’t know to call it in to the Railroad Commission at the time, so we got a $1,500 fine.”

A motion was made, seconded and unanimously carried by the council to pay the fine incurred by the city as a result of the Moore St. gas line break.

Other action taken during the meeting included the approval of the minutes of the council’s May meetings and the approval of a pay raise for Public Works employee Seth Hollingsworth, who recently passed his basic D water test. Councilman Raymond Dunlap was appointed as the city’s 2018-2019 ACAD representative in place of Councilman Billy Jack Wright.

Early in the meeting, the council retreated to executive session to, according to the agenda, “discuss all aspects of the position of the City Secretary Carla Sheridan.” Upon resuming open session, the council unanimously moved to take no action on the matter.

Held immediately after was a discussion “to request City Attorney Blake Armstrong to amend Ordinance No. 03272018-1 authorizing the City Secretary to seek advise of the City Attorney only when directed by the Mayor or the City Council.” No further action by the council was taken.

Sarah Naron may be reached via email at snaron@messenger-news.com.