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Council considers attending eco development course
by Tim Delaney
Dec 15, 2013 | 25 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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David Costello, left, takes the oath of office given by Austwell City Secretary Melissa Hopper on Monday, Dec. 8. Costello is the city's new municipal judge. He had served in that position once before after moving to Austwell 12 years ago.
Tim Delaney photo David Costello, left, takes the oath of office given by Austwell City Secretary Melissa Hopper on Monday, Dec. 8. Costello is the city's new municipal judge. He had served in that position once before after moving to Austwell 12 years ago.
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AUSTWELL – The Austwell City Council heard a short presentation from Victor Garza, Refugio County Community Development Foundation director, about Garza’s vision for Refugio County on Monday, Dec. 9.

“I’m here to help you any way I can,” Garza said. “Austwell is part of my vision – tourism is a big part of our assets, and, as well, Austwell is the gateway to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge.”

Garza said he could help with grant writing and is organizing a class for county leaders, including councils of municipalities.

The five-hour class is economics 101, a state course. The benefit to the course is that it will help leaders plan while providing tools to formulate plans in a meaningful way, according to Garza.

The council expressed interest in having Garza possibly help or write a grant for the city park’s playground equipment. Garza said he would help out.

The council also conducted a swearing-in ceremony for its new municipal judge, David Costello, who served in the position once before after he moved to Austwell 12 years ago. Costello is originally from Ohio.

The council would have conducted a swearing in ceremony for its new building inspector, Erick Kurecka, but Kurecka couldn’t make the meeting. The council agreed to have Kurecka come it to take the oath of his position. Also, it was agreed that Kurecka join current building inspector Mike Henry on an electrical, plumbing and air conditioning inspections in the interim.

Also, the council discussed moving funds from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant for the Wetlands Project to it drainage project.

Hector Castaneda, of LNV Engineering, said the initial estimate for the wetlands project was $173,000, but the project came in way over budget at $342,000. He said he would be talking with Grantworks Inc., who is administering the grant, to reduce the scope of the project.

Meanwhile, the council discussed moving some of the funds to a drainage project for new culverts and reset manhole covers from Bay Street to Mernitz Street. Castaneda said he would get more information and return to the council at its next meeting.

The council also approved a proposal to change the wording on its interlocal agreement with Refugio County for street maintenance on “connecting link” streets.

The streets changed were from “Bay Street to Hynes Street” to “McDowell Street to Hynes Street.”

The council also tabled two contract renewals to see if the city was required to go out for bids on the contracts. One was for water service, now currently with Torres Water Service, and the second was for mowing, currently contracted to Kathy Cann.
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