The council had only two items on its agenda with the test well on the south end of the city as the second item.
City Manager Deborah Ballí said the state allows a municipality to bypass advertising for competitive bids on a project if it is considered an emergency.
Ballí said the results of the test well would need to be presented by the Citizens Committee appointed by the council to study possible alternative sources of drinking water before the committee has to have its recommendation to the council next month.
The cost of drilling the well was expected to be about $105,000.
Committee Chairman John Galloway told the council that he thought it would be unnecessary to spend the money to drill the well.
He said the city already has a 600-foot well in that part of town, and that water has been tested. The water had already failed a test.
“I don’t think it’s necessary for the city to drill a well just for the purpose of drilling a well,” Galloway told the council.
Committee member Jim Crumrine spoke in favor of drilling the well, however. He said he agreed with most of what Galloway had said, but the committee would like to have all the information regarding available groundwater that it can obtain.
Crumrine mentioned that the Beeville Country Club has a well north of the city, and he would like to see the city staff obtain information from the club to determine the quality of water in that well.
City Water Superintendent Cesario Vela said he thought the city could save money by advertising for bids and possibly hiring a local well company to drill a test well.
“Time is the issue,” Mayor David Carabajal told Vela. He said the point of drilling the well is to get the information to the committee to assist the group in making a recommendation to the council.
“We tasked the water committee with a very big responsibility,” Councilman George P. “Trace” Morrill said. He reminded council members that if they approved the well that day, the information would still not get to the committee members in time for them to use it anyway.
“I tend to disagree with that,” Vela said. He told the council that he believes the city staff has the expertise to come up with some specifications and have a test well drilled in a more timely manner. He said he had personally written specifications for a test well, and he has enough experienced and licensed personnel on the staff to back up anything he would prepare.
Vela said that in the short time he has been with the city, he has seen a lot of funds spent on engineering that could have been done cheaper in house.
“I think this is the time to start taking hold of this thing,” Vela said, and to save some money.
Carabajal said he thought the city needed the information that a test well would provide. But if Vela could get the city that data in a timely manner, he should be allowed to try, the mayor added.
At that point, Spires recommended that the council take no action, and the meeting was adjourned.
Before that, however, the council voted to approve spending $134,230 to have the test well being drilled at Veterans Memorial Park completed.
That expense is to be paid using money from the city’s 4B sales tax fund. Ballí said the Beeville Economic Improvement Corporation board is expected to recommend approval for using the economic development tax funds.
The well at the park was requested by the BEIC board so that the city can protect its investment in grass and other vegetation being maintained at athletic facilities there.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.