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“Best bang for our buck,” Pearsall finance director says
Following a split council decision, the city of Pearsall is soon to enter into a two-million-dollar contract for a full-service maintenance plan for the city’s water system.
Pearsall City Manager Federico Reyes said the 10-year contract would prolong the existing infrastructure another 30 to 40 years.
“This proposal is to maintain the water tanks,” Reyes said. “The money has been budgeted.”
According to the city manager, the tanks were built in 1978 and in the 1950’s and have had very little maintenance. The first year, Maguire Iron Inc. would do the majority of the work for $240,000. In years two through ten, the city would pay $96,000.
“We like them from a financial standpoint,” Reyes said. “We do not have to go out and find funding. They are funding the project.”
Bobby Maldonado, legal counsel for the city, explained to councilors the contract is exempt from the procurement law because it is part of a purchasing cooperative.
“I requested all the benefits of the contract to happen in one year,” Santos Alarcon, finance director, said. “My perspective is this is the best bang for our buck. There is no interest; I would rather have those capital improvements on their buck than ours. They basically are up-fronting the money.”
Councilor Roland Segovia expressed wariness over the project, citing past experiences while serving on the council and how the contract would be funded in the years to come.
“I think we should go out for bids,” Segovia said. “If the deal is good, they will honor it in a month.”
The $2.3 million project will be funded through the city’s water rates. Earlier this year, the council voted to increase water and sewer rates on a five-year sliding scale.
Segovia made a motion to seek bids for the project and was supported by Councilor Abel Nieto.
Alarcon said the city is able to cancel the contract at any time if it is unable to pay the yearly $96,000. However, the city is obligated to pay for all the work done in the first year.
“If we go out for bids we will lose the window to begin work and the project will have to be delayed,” the finance director said.
Councilor Julian Hernandez made the motion to enter a contract with Maguire Iron Inc. and was supported by Councilors Davina Rodriguez, Brenda Trevino and Sonia Hernandez; Segovia, Nieto and Councilor Richard Gandara voted in opposition to the agreement.