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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, December 22, 2003

Commissioners hold off on most bids/h2>

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., Dec. 22, 2003 -- Lease payments for the Reeves County Detention Center were approved and some bids were awarded to vendors during the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting held this morning.

Commissioners approved the RCDC 1999 lease payment in the amount of $420,000; the RCDC 1999 maintenance reserve payment in the amount of $29,000 and the 2001 lease payment in the amount of $411,000.

"We've talked a little about the ending balance," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

County auditor Lynn Owens told the group that the county would end with a balance of $500,000-$600,000 in the prison fund. "Which we will need because there is another pay period coming up," said Owens.

Owens said that Wackenhut Corrections Corporation that is managing the facility has paid one utilization payment and that money would be used to make the lease payments.

"We're due one more in January," said Owens.

Under the agreement Wackenhut Corrections Corporation has agreed to the two utilization payments, according to Owens.

Bids were awarded to only a few providers, while other bids were tabled.

"We're going to award those that are absolutely necessary," said Galindo.

Galindo said that the bid items would be tabled to give Wackenhut Corrections Corporation more flexibility to bid those under the law and their own system. "Maybe we can begin to save money on some of those items," said Galindo.

Bid items that were awarded included kitchen supplies, which went to the lowest bidder, U.S. Foods, White Swan.

Janitorial supplies bids went to the lowest bidders: Category 1, floor maintenance to Triple I Supply; Category 2, light bulbs, to Dealer's Electric; Category 3, trash bags, Wagner Supply; Category 4, brushes and squeegees, Triple I Supply; Category 5, paper products, Triple I Supply; Category 6, cleaning supplies, Wagner Supply; Category 7, miscellaneous, Wagner Supply and Category 8, pre-portioned supplies, AA Chemical Supply.

"My sense is that we began to continue buying at the same prices from same vendors," said Galindo. "But if we can save by piggy-backing on Wackenhut's purchases, maybe we can start buying from them for the sheriff's office also," he said.

"We can do that, they'll just have to send their list to the same vendors," said Owens.

Owens told the group that they could start receiving bids informally, but would need a resolution in order to start doing that.

"We have to state that were doing that and then we can receive the bids by fax if we want to do it that way," he said.

More accurate water meters might mean more revenue

Staff Writer

The Town of Pecos City Council listened to and approved two parts of a presentation today concerning water usage monitoring and energy usage in municipal facilities during the council's second meeting for the month of December.

Phillip Lowery of Johnson Controls presented a plan to the council that, according to the presentation, would save the city money on power consumption for both the energy needed to operate the city's water system and the energy needed to operate municipal buildings.

Also, the presentation included a plan to study and replace possibly faulty water meters throughout the city, to more accurately measure consumption by city residents. The plan provides for a study to be undertaken to first "determine the average accuracy of the meters." Once the study is complete, the city can decide whether to follow through with the replacement of the older or inaccurate meters if the replacement is cost effective.

"We understand that different meters perform differently over the lifespan of the equipment," Lowery said. "We estimate that a substantial amount of revenue, a conservative estimate of $125,000 annually, could be generated through more accurate metering."

"A part of this is the mating of the right size meters with the type of consumption at that particular address, residential or commercial. For example, as Octavio knows, we have the situation in town where a commercial site has been converted to residential or the other way around. In either case the equipment monitoring the usage is either too big or too small to operate efficiently," Lowery said.

"Also, if approved the project will include the installation of radio frequency transmitters, that will allow for a reader to drive down a street, checking the monthly usage without getting out of the vehicle. Not to reduce the number of readers, but to reduce the need for rereads and to allow for that manpower to be used on a more vital job," Lowery added.

The project would be contingent upon a USDA grant similar to the one that the council had previously discussed with Frank Spencer and Associates. The grant discussed at that time was for sewer line repairs and the construction of a new sewage treatment plant.

"We will put a cap on the design services at six percent, which will bring the design costs to a total of $253,413 for all three projects (energy conservation, meter accuracy and treatment plant). Once the design work is complete, if the council decides to go with Johnson Controls for the construction, we will present a firm-fixed price at the time of the contract singing, that will not vary over the life of the project, which means no change orders to the city," Lowery said.

Councilman Frank Sanchez asked Lowery what collection rate he was using to determine the return to the city, and whether the return would be enough to cover the cost of the firm's fee for the project.

"Using a conservative estimate of 80% accuracy for the meters and estimating that the collection rate will not vary from the city's current collection rate, we think that a 19 percent or better improvement in water usage accountability is very reasonable," Lowery said.

"So using your figures, it will take us two years of the improved revenues to pay for your design services?" Councilwoman Angelica Valenzuela asked.

"We are planning to collaborate with the city for the grant writing aspect of the project to save the city some of the cost of writing the grants by themselves, but yes, the savings from the first two projects will bring in enough revenue in the first two years to pay for the design services," Lowery said.

On the energy conservation issue, Sanchez asked Lowery if they had taken into account that the power company uses the entity's highest demand or point of use to determine the rate for the following year.

"That is one of the many aspects of energy conservation that we are looking into. By structuring the pumping of the lift stations and other energy requiring aspects of water and sewer service, to coincide with off-peak hours, we can keep the peak demand down, thus lowering the bill for the following year. Also, we will be looking into the energy used by municipal buildings, from the heating and air conditioning cycles to the windows, ceilings and other aspects of insulation," Lowery said.

Frank Spencer asked what percentage the cost of the meter replacement would take up from increase in revenue from the more accurate readings.

"The cost of the meter replacement would come from the more accurate readings, but we should not embark on this type of project without a significant savings generated by the replacement that will more than cover the cost of the meter upgrade," Lowery said. "All the improvements are designed to pay for themselves."

"You firm will be supplying all of the construction materials, so you will profit there as well as in the design services, correct?" Spencer asked.

"We do not make the meters ourselves, but we do have the buying power, with projects in 72 countries and 125,000 employees to secure lower prices than say a smaller firm, so technically we will be supplying the materials," Lower said.

"This program will mean higher water bills then?" Councilwoman Valenzuela asked.

"Yes, but we are only asking people to pay for what they use. The rates will not go up, and hopefully with the added revenue, there will not need to be a rate increase for a while. We estimate an increase of less than five percent per billing address," Lowery said.

"The big deal is the performance guarantee. A smaller company would be hard pressed to guarantee the success of a project of this size," Sanchez said. "Johnson Controls was the only respondent to this bidding process. I used to work a lot with these larger companies, they have lots of history of working with school districts on these types of projects."

"I think we should go along with the first two projects, the meters and the energy conservation projects," Sanchez added. "We can look into the treatment plant later, due to its requirement of major dollars."

"Moving forward today does not obligate you to use us for the construction of the treatment plant. The fees approved today will only go to the design on the projects," Lowery said.

The proposal was approved unanimously on a motion by Councilman Danny Rodriguez and a second by Councilman Frank Sanchez.

The council also looked at bids to purchase new police vehicles. "We have received two bids on the vehicles, one from the state and one local one. The local one is $6,000 more for the four vehicle package," City Financial Manager Sam Contreras said. "The total cost of the local bid is around $80,000, for all four of the vehicles, but I would like to remind the council that this early in the fiscal year, any money we can save will help out tremendously as the year goes by."

One bid is for General Motors vehicles while the other is for Fords, according to Contreras

Councilwoman Valenzuela asked whether the local bidder could work with the city on the bid. City Attorney Scott Johnson said that the bids had to be accepted as is, but other aspects of the deal could be negotiated after the bid was accepted.

The council voted to go with the local bidder unanimously, on a motion by Rodriguez and a second from Sanchez.

The council also had the first reading of a lease agreement for the three police cars and the sump truck, with an option for purchase at the end of the contract's life.

In other business, the council approved the renewal of the contract with Texas-New Mexico Power for the use of the company's poles for the hanging of Christmas decorations.

City Attorney Scott Johnson said that this was identical to the previous year's contract, only with the pole usage fee having been dropped. "This is a no cost agreement," Johnson said to the approval of the council.

Church will host a special service

PECOS, Mon., Dec. 22, 2003 -- St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 5th and Plum Streets, will host a special service and Holy Eucharist, at 7 p.m., on Christmas Eve.

Everyone is invited attend and bring a friend.


PECOS, Mon., Dec. 22, 2003 -- Sundays high 80, last night low 49. Today mostly sunny. Highs near 70. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Tonight partly cloudy. Lows near 30. Northwest winds 10 to 20 Mph. Tuesday mostly sunny. Highs near 60. West winds near 10 mph. Tuesday night partly cloudy. Lows near 30. Light and variable winds. Wednesday partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s. South winds near 10 mph. Wednesday night partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s to the lower 40s. Christmas day prtly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s to the lower 70s. Thursday night partly cloudy. Lows near 40.

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