No action taken on former Pinehurst City Hall

The Pinehurst city council has pondered what to do with their old city hall building on Mockingbird since moving into their new city hall complex.

The council went into closed session and discussed the issue at the special meeting and workshop. They decided they needed more time and information to make an informed decision and took no action in regard to the sale of the building.

Allen Sanderson of Sanderson, Knox & Company, Certified Public Accountants, auditors for the city of Pinehurst, presented the council with a draft of the annual audit.

In his remarks, Sanderson stated that the city is fortunate enough to have a surplus large enough to allow them to operate for several months, if the need should arise.

“Even though the lay of the land has changed with the purchase of and moving into this new facility, making it somewhat hard to make a comparison with past years, the city is in good financial shape. The city has done better on revenue than budgeted, and has done a good job in controlling expenses,” said Sanderson.

The council will review the draft and vote on the audit at the next council meeting.

Reid Carruthers, a resident of the Camelot subdivision gave a report on his work reviewing the problems with the cell tower in the city and the lack of an ordinance to cover cell towers in the city.

The tower is located at the rear of the property owned by Triple L Honda on Strickland Drive. There is currently no ordinance dealing with the installation of cell towers in the city. The city government recognized the need for an ordinance and Carruthers agreed to work with the city rectifying the problems with the current tower.

Among the items Carruthers discovered is there should be a public hearing when the construction of a tower is considered. There should also be some noise control measures installed on a tower.

Carruthers said there is a noise coming from slack cables slapping the tower in windy conditions. In the case of a power outage, there is a very noisy generator that kicks on and causes disturbance to residences near the tower.

“There should be some sort of safeguard built into a contract with the builder/owner of the tower to ensure that there is liability should the owner decide to stop using the tower. There should be a demolition bond built into the contract so that if the owner should decide to no longer use a tower, the city would not be left with a dead tower and have to deal with removing it,” said Carruthers.

“Mr. Carruthers will work with the city on identifying these and other issues,” said Mayor T.W. Permenter. “We thank him for taking on this project and working with us on this. He is not a citizen that complains. He is a citizen that has presented a problem and is willing to work to find a solution.”

The discussion of an ordinance regarding unattended vehicles on private property was tabled until the city and police department had time to review the situation and determine if there is a need for such an ordinance.

State laws regarding unattended vehicles deal only with vehicles on a public roadway and not on private property.

“We need to look at this issue and determine if there is a need for such an ordinance in the city. How much of a problem is it?” asked Councilman Dan Barclay.

This item will be placed on the next regular meeting agenda.

There were several citizens who addressed the problem with the sewage lines on Whippoorwill Street.

The city is aware that the lines on the street are old, clay lines and brick manholes. Some of the lines have broken, and the brick manholes have broken and are leaking. In times of heavy rain sewers do not drain properly and will at times back up. Rainwater will drain into the sewage lines and block the system. There is about 3,200 feet of affected lines.

“We applied for a grant and were turned down due to this not being a low income area. The city is continuing to try to get grant funds to cover at least a portion of the cost of the needed repairs,” said City Administrator Joe Parkhurst.

Joyce Gonsulin, a resident of the affected area, asked the city check to see if there are problems with tree roots getting into the lines and blocking them.

“When we get heavy rains, our sewers do not work. We are going to the expense of replacing our sewer lines from our house to the city line. Our sewer lines are going to be new and hopefully before too long yours will be too,” said Gonsulin.

Parkhurst reported that TxDOT has begun a survey of the traffic patterns and accident history on MacArthur Drive. This is the first stage in the project to install lighting in the dark areas and possibly a traffic light to facilitate crossing MacArthur Drive.

In other business, the council voted to deny the Entergy rate request.

By doing this the city joined the other cities in the area in denying the rate request. If the city would not have taken action the Entergy rates would have increased by default.

Pinehurst is a member of a coalition of cities who annually deny the proposed rate increases by Entergy.