The company, owned by Bee County natives, is drilling at least one and possibly two natural gas wells on the west side of town near or on property encompassing the Bee County Exposition Center.
Clark Welder, general and land manager for the company, said he had stood before the City Council exactly two years earlier to request permission to conduct seismograph studies of the same area.
Welder pointed out that the well will be drilled in a vacant field and will not interfere with any residential areas or businesses.
He said several people who own land in that immediate area will benefit financially from any production in that location.
“It’s not an Eagle Ford well,” Welder stressed. He said Arrow Drilling Co. will be in charge of the site and will drill a vertical hole of less than 6,000 feet. He said drilling operations should end in about a week and the site will then be protected with a six-foot security fence.
Welder said drilling at the site was expected to begin within about 45 days.
Councilwoman Libby Spires was the only council member who did not vote in favor of the motion to approve the permit. She abstained from the vote.
Council members also agreed to take no action on a proposal to increase the fee for issuing drilling permits.
City Manager Tom Ginter said the city charges $400 for an oil well drilling permit at this time but a permit to drill a water well costs $2,500.
“Should we make them equal?” Ginter asked. He said that in the last community where he worked, the fee for drilling an oil well was $2,500. And that was 15 years ago.
Council members took no action on the recommendation and asked Ginter to schedule a public hearing on the matter.
In other business, the council voted to:
— Re-elect Santiago “Jimbo” Martinez as mayor and Mike Scotten as mayor pro tem.
The two were elected following the swearing in of Scotten and Spires. The two council members were declared the winners in Wards 1 and 5, respectively, just before they were sworn in.
The terms of both council members expired on May 14 but they were allowed to keep their positions without an election because neither had an opponent this year.
— Table a vote on approving a zone change request for the 2100 block of U.S. Highway 59 East because the Planning and Zoning Commission had not met to make a recommendation on the request.
No one spoke against the request during a public hearing held earlier in the meeting. The property was annexed into the city earlier in the month at the request of the property owner.
Nimesh R. Patel is requesting a zone change for the property so he can build a new motel there.
— Accept the 2009-2010 audit of city finances.
— Discussed the possibility of setting term limits on members of city boards and commissions but did not take any action on the matter because some council members were concerned about the small number of residents who can be tapped for that service.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.