Bertram Council considers park land acquisition

By Catherine Hosman

BERTRAM — The Bertram City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to acquire a 2.81 acre right-of-way at 725 W. Vaughan Street from the Texas Department of Transportation that is adjacent to the city swimming pool.

The land will be added as city park property. This is a transfer of ownership between the two entities and no money is to change hands.

Mayor Dickie Allen reminded residents of the upcoming sewer and garbage rate increases on their March bill at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Sewer service will increase from a base rate of $18 for the first 2,000 gallons to $22.50. The additional usage fee of $1.85 per 1,000 gallons will not change. The sewer rate increase is to finance the wastewater pond expansion and new holding tank for irrigation and effluent discharge service.

The increase will go toward the $507,000 loan from the USDA to complete the project. The City has 40 years to pay off the loan.

Trash service will increase from $13.40 per month to $15.90 per month for residential, and from $16.20 per month to $20.75 for commercial. These rates are based on one 96-gallon garbage container and are due to the renewal of a contract between the City and Al Clawson Disposal, Inc.

Don Allman, CPA of Georgetown presented the Council with the final numbers from the city audit, which revealed some numbers down from last year. However, all things considered, the City is holding with a combined city government net asset and city enterprise fund of $1,501,130, an increase of $71,883 from last year or a 5 percent increase.

“We’re doing a pretty good job,” said Council member John Mandigo. “We are taking the citizens’ money and putting it to good use.”

The Council unanimously passed a resolution to adopt the updated personnel policy manual of the city that will include the usage of private cell phones for staff members and the stipends they will receive, effective March 1.

At the Feb. 12 regular meeting of the Council,  members unanimously voted to approve to discontinue use of city-issued cell phones, choosing instead to pay a stipend to employees who use their private cell phones for city business. This move will save the city more than $420 in monthly cell phone charges. Department heads will receive $25 per pay period and staff will receive $15 per pay period.