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Galena Park Council hears from public

PAUL WINFIELD, vice president of the Galena Manor Civic Club, makes a point while talking to the Council. “The chief of police… wants to censor the citizens of Galena Park.”

Business-like Council Meeting, and Progress made towards re-opening Galena Manor Community Center

Galena Park, TX. – May 16, 2017 at 6 PM: Mayor Esmeralda Moya called the meeting to order. After a prayer and pledges to the flags the Commissioners unanimously approved minutes for the April 18, 2017 and May 2, 2017 meetings and the Accounts Payable through May 16, 2017.

The Commissioners unanimously approved the engagement letter between Belt, Harris, Pechacek, LLP and the city for the single audit year ending September 30, 2017.

The Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement between the city and Civicplus, Inc. for the amount of $5,500 for website services.

The Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement between the city and JC’s Digital Office Equipment for a color Kyocera copier in the amount of $391.14 for 48 months. The Commissioners unanimously approved the advertising for sealed bids for Phase 2 of the water line and fire protection project.

The Commissioners unanimously approved Ordinance 2017-02 establishing the police reserve force and its passage on the first reading as provided in Article IX, Section 21 of the city charter.

The Commissioners unanimously approved Resolution RO7-2017 giving the City Secretary discretion in determining admission fees, swim class fees and hours the city’s swimming pool will be open to the public.

The Commissioners unanimously approved the amended agreement between the city and Ford Motor Credit Company for the city to enter into a lease agreement for six vehicles for the police department with a total cost of $212,143.35 with an annual payment of $57,134.23.

The Commissioners unanimously approved the memorandum of understanding between the city and Dr. Tiffany Osborn, UT Department of Emergency Medicine and Division of Emergency Medical Services for Medical Director and Medical direction.

The Commissioners unanimously approved Jahbari Raggette as a volunteer firefighter and Nicholas Meekins as a part time fire fighter.

The Commissioners unanimously approved part time summer employment of the following twenty-seven individuals: Julio Bizarro, Jr., Galilea Ibarra, Maria Espinosa, Natalia Vasquez, Mauricio Martinez, Arturo Gonzales, April Chavez, Jose L. Sanchez, Maria E. Sorto, Teresa Guzman, Vincente Cuellar, Esmeralda Martinez, Omar Humphries, Shelby Rundle, Eduardo Sanchez, Adrian Guzman, Ariel Ibarra, Trystan Puente, Rocio Chavez, Alberto Rodriguez, Cindy Flores, Zuriel Espinosa, Jr., Jeffery McCue, Marisela Martinez, Isaac Torres, Stephanie Espinosa, Aaron Rodriguez.

The public was given information as to what will be needed before the Evelyn Churchill Community Center can be reopened. The community center located in Galena Manor has been closed for nine months; citizens have been coming for months to the council meetings in large numbers requesting information about its reopening.

They’ve said the city hasn’t told them why it was closed or what are the plans to reopen it.

City Attorney Robert Collins however says that’s not true, he and others including a mold expert have explained to them that the center has dangerous mold in it. Collins says only until a thorough inspection is made to determine the extent as to where the mold is located can a cost be determined and a time to eliminate it can be made. Collins said it’s going to be a significant cost and there’s nothing in this year’s budget to do the needed work.

Kevin Marler of MC Consultants from California, considered an expert in determining costs associated with mold remediation, provided photos from a preliminary inspection of the center. The photos showed mold, termites and locations where rain and moisture are entering the facility. Collins said the city is looking at three separate phases to get the center opened again.

Phase one will cost about $65,000 for an extensive inspection to determine the actual cost for reopening the center. Interior walls must be removed and special moisture meters used to determine how much of the interior structure has to be taken out and replaced with new materials. Rain water is entering from the roof and along the outside at ground level.

A roofing contractor inspected the roof and found signs of hail damage as a cause for some of the rain water to enter. The city is filing a claim with the Texas Municipal League where the city is in a risk pool with other Texas cities for claims for property damage. This can take 3 or 4 weeks to get a decision on the city’s claim.

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC:

Comments from the public were a mix of supporters of Mayor Moya and with those who spoke against her and the commissioners for the failure to make progress for the reopening of the community center.

Rosemary Careathers: “I would like to comment on Mr. Collins about the information he gave the reporter last time. I was concerned that he would even think that the information we were trying to get to open the recreation center was hogwash. We know that there is damage and we are asking to get it fixed.”

Patricia Joseph: “From this meeting tonight, that information we have gotten from the gentleman should have been giving to us months ago, this is all we wanted to know why the building is taking so long. We want to be respected as taxpaying citizens and I want to thank you for bringing this information forward. Now let’s expedite this either fix it or do something. For we feel this is a historical staple in our community.”

Hector Torres: “This lady (Moya) has been here two years and this lady has done more than the last three mayors we have had here. This lady has done some- thing in one year that the last 3 mayors have done. All this arguing about some community building, I didn’t see anyone complaining about it to the last three mayors.”

Paul Winfield: “I want to thank first the chief of police for telling us how we are being censored on what we can or cannot say. But then when a councilman uses words like racist, he doesn’t run over there and censor him, but he wants to censor the citizens of Galena Park. Also I want to thank Mr. Robert Collins. Oh I’m so thankful he said hogwash, like it’s nothing. I’m glad it was in print. I’m glad he said there is a quarter of a million dollars to fix the building, now fix it. If the council knew how to run the city they would have gotten this report first before doing anything. We came to you and told you that there were problems with the building and then you shut us out. You keep treating us this way and we will continue to say and do what we are doing. I’m so thankful all this is getting in the paper.”