Council moves forward w/ warning sirens, saving money

During its regular Aug. 03, 2021 meeting, the Forney City Council met to consider early bond redemption, design standards, golf carts, outdoor warning sirens, Buffalo Creek Interceptor, Project Owl.(watch official video)

  • Public Comment
    • Ms. Linda Gamble asked about previous feature CWD had for recycling, the events at the park that offered shredding.  There would be no loss for doing this recycling.  No reason people should take confidential papers and pay for shredding.
    • Mr. Mike Ellison said he appreciates council persons serving.  Many people are noticing the traffic growth on farm roads, trying to figure out what smart growth looks like.  Sees a lot of trash around.  He takes his kids out to pick up trash several times a month, maybe could be service project for school kids.  He would be willing to help beautify the city.

  • Approved as one consent item:
    • the quarterly investment report ending 6/30/21.
          Documents indicate the city earned 18k at a rate of 0.086%.
    • the acceptance of public improvements for the C-Life Church project.
    • a Resolution approving a Professional Services Agreement with KSA Engineers, Inc. to provide consulting and support for updating the Engineering Design Standards and all related issues.
          Documents state the maximum cost is $34k, and is in the approved budget. 

  • Approved all matters incident and related to providing for the redemption of certain outstanding bonds of the City, including the adoption of a resolution pertaining thereto.
        Ms. Powers asked for update on the subject.  Ms. Woodham said the bonds are from the pass-through toll project, issued on behalf of TxDOT, for 80, 548, 741, 740 projects.  The agreement says they will receive maximum payment of 40 million, so far got 35 mil.  Always exceed traffic counts, so get maximum payment.  This year will redeem 2.5 million, saving 915k of interest.  Since 2013, prepaid 17 million, and saved 8.5 million in interest.  Only 2 years remain on the program.
  • Approved action on an Ordinance amending Chapter 12 of the Code of Ordinances, Traffic and Vehicles, by amending Section 12.09.002 'Permitted and Restricted' deleting certain required equipment for golf carts and slow-moving vehicles as authorized by Section 551.4041 of the Texas Transportation Code.
        City Attorney Mr. Thatcher said in Oct, council approved allowing golf carts in neighborhoods, some parameters must be met: driver must have a license, only on roads 35 mph or less.  Ordinance required certain equipment: lights, SMV sign, seat belts, turn signals.  Mr. Cooper said he can't find anyone to install seat belts on golf cart.  State law does not require seat belts, so city can remove that, and turn signals.  Mr. Roberson asked if risking liabilities for not having seat belts - Mr. Thatcher said the drivers must have insurance, obey traffic laws.  City must consider what reasonable restrictions on operation of vehicles are.
  • Approved authorizing a change order for the renovations and building expansion project.
        Mr. Groves said requesting an extra $176k now, will save money in long run, as contractors already on site.  $81k to add 2 offices, modify lobby.  Another $80k for Public Works shop area, expand a bay and provide a break room.  Expecting another 10 personnel, with these changes, will then be at capacity.  $14k is for Community Development, to create additional work spaces.
        Mr. Chambers asked this included electrical.  Mr. Traylor asked why not future-proofing this, if will be at capacity when done.  Mr. said due to conversations about possible bond funds for more expansion; if don't do this, will not have enough room for personnel.
  • Approved authorizing the creation of a project to fund the Ground Warning Siren system and related connectivity components
        Mr. Cardwell said this is the system discussed for several months.  Next item is the project, about 392k with 11 sirens; as put up towers, the amount could fluctuate.  Vendor's assessment indicates will be able to use only city Right-of-way.  Connectivity for the fiber ring is a large chunk, it will cross Hwy 80 in 2 locations, one bore-under, another using the Gateway bridge.  This is not just for the sirens, other projects can take advantage of this (fiber).  Recently installed first city-owned street light, when add more will need to remotely control them.  Utility billing would like instant-read meters.
        Mayor Lewis verified this RFP is only for sirens, not fiber - correct, the fiber RFP will be release later after council approval.
        Mr. Cooper asked if they weren't planning on more sirens before - Mr. Cardwell said they would need more if doing voice instead of tone sirens.  11 tone sirens is sufficient for the whole city.
        Mr. Chambers asked what provisions for hackers; Mr. Cardwell said this system is hardened against hacking, much of which is the fiber connection.  The backup will be on their Motorola radio system, which is encrypted and time-stamped.  Mr. Chambers asked how many people in city will have access to the system; Mr. Cardwell said managed by PD and dispatch.  Would like to eliminate the human factor by getting signals from FEMA and NOAA for alerts. 
        Ms. Powers said good to limit number of proposed towers, concerned about having to acquire property rights, hoping they can avoid that.  Mr. Cardwell said only concern is in industrial areas, and businesses are usually amenable to such encroachments.
        Mr. Chambers asked if any other cities our size use this system; yes.  When they contacted references, talked to some not on vendor's list who still said they were happy with the system.
        (Documents indicate the project will be $2.7 million, from existing fund balances, and a 12-18 month completion)
  • Approved authorizing the purchase of a Ground Warning Siren system and authorizing the City Manager to execute a contract with ATI Systems.
        Mr. Cardwell said this is for the project just created.
  • City Manager's report - Mr. Daniels said inaugural Forney esports league is live.  7 FD personnel accepted to professional development classes in Maryland.  Recently he, Chief Briggs, Mr. Roberson held a virtual meeting with Big Brother-Sister Lone Star chapter.  Plan to meet w/ Fire Department about their interest.  City will get $6.7 million from American Recovery Act, in two installments.  $3.37 million has been approved for first payment.  Given the negative publicity last year about purchases, want both council and residents to have a say what the money should be used for.  Staff will send out a survey soon.  Mr. Traylor said glad to see the question: do you live in the city.  There is a risk of that being answered incorrectly.  Ms. Powers asked if any AI to filter that out; no.  Mr. Traylor asked if could send unique qualifier codes on water bills.  Mr. Daniels said that had been asked about the bond survey.  Mr. Traylor said would like to restrict it to residents of the city.  Ms. Powers likes to use registered voters, who would have to be in city limits.  Mr. Chambers asked about people who didn't vote - Mr. Daniels said could use the water bill, but not all residents get city water, would be more difficult.  Ms. Powers said will capture people who don't vote, but are registered.  Mr. Daniels said want to be quick, but fair.
  • Events: Mayor Lewis said now have community garden, next to admin building, 202 W. College St, produce given to seniors in town, managed by Sharing The Love.
  • Held a 52-minute executive session re:
    • Buffalo Creek Interceptor
    • Project Owl

  • Took no action
  • Adjourned at 2007
Tuesday, 2021, August 3