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City seeks bids for clock tower repair

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The Altus City Council met in regular session Tuesday, Jan. 8 at the Altus Municipal Complex Council Chambers, 509 S. Main St. followed by a meeting of the Altus Municipal Authority. All members were present.

The council authorized City of Altus staff to seek the most cost-effective bids for structural repairs to the City Hall Clock Tower. According to the City of Altus, a loose block was reported on the cast stone on the City Hall Clock Tower on the south end of the Altus Municipal Complex.

The masonry contractor setting cast stone at the Central Fire Station advised that he could move capstones by hand and advised having an engineer look at it. In November 2018, Ken Bownds of Curtainwall Design Consulting, Inc. of Dallas evaluated the stonework, chiseled out mortar looking for lateral anchors that should have been installed to hold blocks in place and found none. Bownds called this a “life safety” issue and estimated removing, replacing and installing the stones properly will cost $150,000.

Councilmember Jason Winters wanted to know if the city could recoup the cost of replacing the stone since it was installed inadequately. City Attorney Andrea Chism said the maintenance bond, a surety bond that protects the project owner for a specified time period, has expired and the contractor who did the masonry work originally has since gone out of business.

Monthly inspections were done, but daily inspections were not done, according to City Engineer Johnny Barron. He said the clock tower was an additional project completed at the end of the building construction project in 2010.

Councilmember Chris Riffle asked City staff to look into why it happened and any possibility to recoup funds from the damage.

The council discussed the state of the Greens of Altus Golf Course including a management services agreement between the City of Altus and West Texas Turf (WTT) and a review of a request from WTT to make repairs to the building. Some of the repairs presented include flooring in the ballroom, hall, fireside room, bar and entryway; lighting in the hall, fireside room and bar; paint on the outside of the building; repairs to the bathroom; new doors on the pro-shop and fireside room; and repairs to the roof to stop the leaks causing most of the damage. The estimates for the repairs, not including the roof, total $42,200, according to building estimates provided by WTT. The council voted to allocate a $45,000 budget for the repairs. The cost of the repairs is to be taken from building maintenance or an amendment to the capital improvement fund, according to City Manager Janice Cain, with the roof repair a future goal.

The management services agreement with West Texas Turf for the management of the Greens of Altus was approved by the city in February 2018. The amendment passed by council on Tuesday added the Altus Municipal Authority as a lessor, extended the agreement for up to five years beginning Feb. 1, 2019, and reduced the annual payment to WTT by $10,000. According to information provided by the City of Altus, WTT will also take over payment of the golf cart lease and keep 75 percent of the revenues after $25,000 is collected annually and the remaining 25 percent will go to the City of Altus. WTT will also pay its cable and telephone bills and pay the City of Altus $200 to cover utilities.

The City of Altus continues to receive green fees, membership fees, 10 percent of driving range revenue and 10 percent of concession and vending revenue.

Kiwanis Park was also discussed by the council. The council voted to approve a letter expressing the City of Altus’ intent to allow Altus Public Schools (APS) to utilize or acquire Kiwanis Park for use by the athletic department and to make improvements to the park with funds from APS bond issue going to the voters on March 5, if passed.

APS bond issue proposition 1(4) would provide $400,000 “for improvement to the Altus School District to include, but not be limited to, acquiring and/or improving Kiwanis Park to include the installation of artificial turf at the existing field to accommodate baseball and softball.”

According to the City of Altus, the city does not use the park for city sports programs or other activities but assists in grounds maintenance and pays all utilities. The park is currently used by the APS baseball program.

The council then authorized the city manager to investigate methods for live-streaming or televising city council meetings and possibly utilizing public access channels. Cain has been asked to report back to the council with her findings no later than March 5.

Cain said the request came from Riffle, who said this would help the council to be more engaged with the public.

The council also approved an agreement with Municode for the recodification of the Altus Municipal Code for a cost of approximately $22,100 plus an annual maintenance and update fee of approximately $1,550.

Chism said it is required by state law to be done every 10 years. She said $25,000 was budgeted for the recodification.

The Altus Municipal Authority (AMA), which is made up of the same members as the Altus City Council, met after the City Council meeting.

The AMA trust authority approved the amendment to the management services agreement between the City of Altus and West Texas Turf.

The trust authority also approved investment credits for Western Equipment, LLC of Altus in the amount of $122,737.80. According to the City of Altus, the commercial lease agreement between the AMA and Western Equipment requires the lessee to invest in the property and would be required to pay rent or earn investment credits in lieu of rent or the purchase price of the property. Western Equipment submitted invoices in the amount of $144,497.15 for approval as investment credits. Chism found that some did not qualify. Annual rent for the property is $25,000.

A lease agreement for the Holloway Property in Wilbarger County, Texas with Chris Schur was also approved. The Holloway Property is a 240-acre tract of land purchased by the City of Altus in 2015 that contains two water wells. The lease is for a period beginning Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30, 2020, and the rental rate is $2,400 due Jan. 31, 2019.

The trust authority also approved the purchase of an LKT800 Hydro Excavator for water/sewer maintenance from JR Equipment of Oklahoma City in the amount of $43,000. The Excavator is being funded from the capital improvement fund.

The next Altus City Council and Altus Municipal Authority meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. at 509 S. Main St.

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