City Council hears reports from department heads

Cameron City Council heard updates from department heads and the city manager about the installation of gas meters during its meeting Feb. 20.

City Manager Rhett Parker told council that Atmos Energy is currently working on installing new meters throughout the city, but issues have come up with where they are placing the meters.

“I’ve spoke to Atmos about where the meters are being placed,” Parker said.  “I went around town and took photos of where they are placing them and told them it is unacceptable. A meter shouldn’t be placed in someone’s front yard so it is the first thing you see.”

Parker said some meters are right in the middle of people’s yards and it takes away from curb appeal. 

“It is my understanding that most of those meters were placed by a contractor Atmos hired,” he said. “They should be talking to the citizens about where to place the meters.”

Parker said he is working with Chase Murphy with Atmos and he said they will rectify the situation and get it right. 

Councilwoman Melissa Williams asked if they were going to move the meters.

Parker said it is his understanding that they should be visiting with the homeowner to find a place to put the meter. The contractor had been placing the meters without speaking to homeowners if they were not home when they came to install them. He said Atmos should be going back and working with them. 

Parker said that anyone with concerns about gas meters can call the city and they will contact Murphy about the matter.

“They are going to be replacing gas lines throughout the community and we were trying to overlay their projects with ours to get the gas and water lines replaced before we go and pave over the streets,” Parker said.

Parker also reported to council about problems with Waste Connections, the company who provides the city’s trash service.

“Waste Connections are missing the same customers weekly,” he said.  “They said they are trying to work with getting that fixed. We also spoke with them about getting green canisters for customers.”

Parker said the city is in negotiations with them to get the canisters for the community but nothing is set. City Secretary Amy Harris said the driver that was having issues has been replaced as of Feb. 20.

Council also heard from department heads about what is going on in their departments.

Street Department Supervisor Craig Arnold told council that his department has been doing patchwork for Atmos Energy. He also said that the street sweeper is on its last leg and will need to be replaced in the year.

Fire Chief Henry Horelica said it has been quiet since the Burn Ban went into effect across the county and since it has rained a little bit. He said the fundraiser went well, but didn’t make quite enough for the payment on the truck that they use those funds for. He said the department still has a barbecue fundraiser coming up at Easter and that will help.

Police Chief Lonnie Gosch said the CPD is in the process of ramping up narcotics investigations in Cameron. He said the department has applied for a CDJ grant to fund vehicles, narcotics trafficking equipment, test kits, cameras and radars. He said citations are up and the department is moving to a proactive stance with narcotics. 

“We are moving into a positive direction,” he said. “Drugs are a problem in Cameron and along with that comes other activity like assaults and burglaries. We are hoping to address that with the work on narcotics.”

Librarian Marie Christopher said the library is going along and that they are ramping up for the summer reading program to begin in June.

Code Enforcement Officer Stanley Garrison said that building permits are down this month as is usual for this time of year. He said he as starting to proactively approach nuisance violations to try to clean properties up. 

Tourism Director Melanie Reed said that two new businesses have moved into downtown this month – The Mini Pearl and Barn Hair Salon. They are located on First Street. She said the Chamber Board is currently working on maps of downtown and a restaurant guide to give out to visitors at events. She said the Chamber Banquet is expected to be a big success and almost all tickets are sold.

Water Department Supervisor Jerald Brunson said that his department has been working on getting meter reading problems resolved and they have hired a new meter reader Rick Balboa. He said lines are going in on Country Club and Wallace as part of the CDBG project and that the next part of the project should begin soon.

Council also approved the use of current city sewer rates instead of sewer averaging and approved a CDJ resolution for a Police Department grant to fund three new cars and some equipment for the police department.