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City Administrator Urges Crockett Businesses to Install Backflow Preventers


Bike Race Scheduled to Return in February

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – During the Crockett City Council held on Monday, Nov. 6, Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein urged business owners to install backflow preventers at their places of business.

“I wanted to update the council and the public – we will be sending out some (more) letters – about an audit from the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality). We came out really well, except for the lack of backflow preventers in certain facilities around town,” Angerstein said.

Despite the overall positive audit results, Angerstein said the TCEQ came down hard on the city and added “… if we’re providing water to a facility that has a potential contaminant source and there is no backflow preventer, we are the ones who are held liable, not the business or property owners.”

According to the 1999 edition of Water Supply Regulations, “A backflow prevention device is used to protect potable water supplies from contamination or pollution due to backflow.”

“After December,” Angerstein continued, “we will be cited and fined for every facility that does not have a backflow preventer or an RPZ, which is a reduced pressure zone. All those businesses have gotten letters and we have let them know they need to get inspected. We have provided a list of certified inspectors.”

The city administrator said if the business owner states they do not need a backflow preventer, but the TCEQ says they do, the certified inspector will be the deciding entity.

“We gave a date in December – if those businesses continue and choose not to respond or get a backflow preventer, we are going to be put in situation where we are cited every month for their facility. So, we will have to turn their water off, unless council tells me differently and we start paying the TCEQ fines,” Angerstein explained.

He said the city had already sent out certified letters and had followed up with phone calls.

“There are about 45 local businesses, currently. We really want to get those backflow preventers installed so we are compliant with the state,” he said.

Prior to Angerstein’s remarks, Alex Montoya – with Local Bike Racing – addressed the council about the previous bicycle races held in Crockett and his plans for a future race in February 2018.

“I wanted to give you some updates. I believe we were on the agenda for your last meeting, but I was unable to make it up here. Since then, I have met with the postmaster and got permission to race downtown, if we have a volunteer to allow vehicles in and out of the post office,” Montoya said.

In 2017, Montoya continued, the two races held in Crockett and Houston County brought in over $35,000 to the local economy through hotel rooms, food, gas and other assorted purchases.

“We’re spending a lot of money here in Crockett and we are excited about continuing to build the event here in the future. I just got the approval (for an event in 2018) from the Texas Bike Racing Association. We are looking at Feb. 10 and 11 – the second weekend in February. We are going to be hosting a statewide, regional bicycle racing event,” Montoya said.

Following Montoya’s remarks, Monica Pierre – with the USDA – addressed the council. Pierre apprised the council on “… available funding for the new fiscal year.”

After discussing how Crockett had benefitted from USDA assistance in restoring the elevated water storage tanks along with the removal and replacement of a ground storage tank, she said the USDA had funding available through the “Community Facilities” program “… which could possibly help with a new police department so adequate space could be provided.”

“I kind of estimated,” Pierre explained, “if you were to take the current building (the police department) and do some re-fabrication, it would cost about $200,000. The current interest rate is 3.5 percent which would make payments around $776 per month, over a 40-year term.”

She added the USDA’s housing program had also been funded for 2018.

“We have low-interest housing loans which can go as high as $139,000 for low and very low income families. It is a zero down program. A lot of times,” she continued, “it is hard for an individual to save up money for a down payment. Depending on the appraised value of the home, they could actually roll in their closing costs. You may have individuals who are looking to become homeowners. This can be new construction, including the cost to purchase a lot – as long as it doesn’t exceed the $139,000 mark.”

In other matters brought before the council:

  • Crockett Police Chief David “Buddy” Cross reported the police department received 360 calls for service during the month of October which resulted in 71 arrests. There were 140 traffic citations issued and 96 police reports filed.
  • Crockett Fire Chief Jason Frizzell reported the fire department responded to 48 calls during the month of October with one structure fire. Thirty calls were in the city limits while 18 were in the county. The structure fire was inside the city limits.
  • The minutes of previous meetings were approved.
  • A franchise agreement between the City of Crockett and Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC was approved by the council.
  • The council approved a resolution to split its votes for the Houston County Appraisal District Board of Directors. The split will be 165 votes for W.F. (Red) Kitchen and 164 votes for Kathi Calvert.
  • Bids on tax trust properties were approved.
  • A specific use permit was granted to Genell Lamb and Carl Smotherman for the intended use of placing a mobile home at 104 Thomas St.
  • Reihl Engineering was approved as the third party engineering firm for the Johnson Controls performance contracting agreement with the city.
  • The council received as information the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation report from Executive Director James Gentry.
  • A resolution to support the mission and vision of the Transportation Excellence for the 21st Century’s U.S. 287 Corridor Task Force was approved by the council.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.