Manila clean-up moves forward

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Manila Mayor Clifford Veach updated council on the information he received from meetings with FEMA representatives in an effort to start the city clean-up following the Jan. 27 ice storm.

"I am overwhelmed of what has to be done to get this done within FEMA guidelines," Veach said. "I'm doing everything I can to get it going. I've been in contact with all four of the lowest bidders. Estimates are 10,000 cubic yards of debris and 700 hanging tree limbs in the city. Veach said the city will have to have a management team and a monitoring team. He will submit information to the office of emergency services and then they will come up with an estimate.

"A lot of information was given to us on Friday," Veach said. "There are a lot of forms to be filled out. This is not like anything I've done before. I hope people will be patient, we are working on it and hopefully it will get easier as we go along. We must have documents."

Veach said a burn sight has been verbally approved and the city is waiting on a final approval.

"Once everything is finalized clean-up should go quickly. The companies who have submitted bids have a lot of trucks," he said. "I'll keep working on it and keep you posted."

Veach said bidders are getting the information in and he would need to call a special meeting before next month. He said he is amazed at how much interest has been shown in the job.

Citizens will need to take limbs to curbside.

City Attorney Wayne Wagner updated the council on the annexation progress. He said he will meet with County Judge Steve McGuire on Friday. He encouraged anyone who wants to be annexed into the city to contact him.

Mayor Veach said in his state of the city address, the city is in good shape financially.

"You can tell by the balances we are still in good shape," he said. "We have a new fire station we can be proud of. We took care of the water account last month. We had a good year and look forward to another good year. Engineers think we will be able to complete the airport expansion project this year."

Veach said they would watch the sanitation rates.

Councilman Donnie Wagner asked about getting a generator for the water department.

Manila was without water for two days when the power went out during the recent ice storm.

Mayor Veach said they had water in two days by renting a generator.

"We can't have water without sewer," he said. "It would take two generators to run the water, three at the lift stations and three or four more to move to different stations. You can easily see it would run into a lot of money."

The city has over 20 lift stations. The city rented two generators and the forestry service loaned two.

"We have to also consider the maintenance and upkeep on the generators," Councilman LeRoy Douglas said. "I don't know if it would be in the best interest of the city to spend that much."

Douglas said he did think city officials owe it to the citizens to research and look into it and see what the cost would be.

Councilman Wagner said he felt the city should have had a generator on the first day.

"Henry had to call Texas to get these," Veach said. "It took a day and a half to get them here. I think Henry did a good job getting the generators here as quick as he did."

In other business:

*Mayor Veach said he had purchased 400 seedling trees for the city at a total cost of $120. Several were lost in the ice storm and trees will be planted at the city park, the golf course and other places around town.

*The council voted to have Delta Fencing repair the fencing and backstop at a cost of $2,500 at the city park and have it ready for the ball season. The fence was damaged during the ice storm.

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