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City Manager Blog


April 28, 2021, 9:08 A. M. 

Dear Citizens, 

It's hard to believe we are almost one-third of the way through 2021...time flies when you're having fun. We have a lot of great projects in motion for the City this year and we took a pause yesterday to speak about paving and street works. Thanks so much to Betse and Hector for facilitating such a great conversation that aired on KVLF. For those of you who weren't able to listen, click here and you'll be able to access the entire program.
Our Public Works Director Eddie Molinar also did a wonderful job with his staff update at the April 6, 2021 City Council meeting explaining what streets are being targeted this year. Please look at the video of the meeting or read the City Manager / Staff Update slides for more information.
Have a wonderful week...it's a great time to be in Alpine.

Kind regards,
Erik

March 4, 2021, 10:30 A.M.

Tuesday, Governor Abbott released a new order affecting the opening of Texas. The March 2nd order, GA-34, allows ALL Texas businesses outside of areas of high COVID hospitalization to return to 100 percent occupancy.  This includes increasing the maximum capacity of indoor meeting space to 100 percent, allowing standalone bars to operate at 100 percent capacity, and removing the state mandate on masks.

GA-34 takes effect on Wednesday, March 10th.

GA-34 provides the following:

1. A full opening of Texas businesses, without capacity limitations, except in areas in areas of Texas where COVID-19 hospitalization cases exceed 15 percent of the area’s hospital census (more on this below).

2. Removes the statewide mask mandate.

3. Local government officials may not issue orders mandating masks unless the 15 percent hospitalization threshold is reached.

4. Prohibits a local government official from issuing orders restricting business capacity, unless the 15 percent hospitalization threshold is reached.
 
Areas of Texas where COVID-19 hospitalization cases exceed 15 percent of the area’s hospital census:
Under GA-34, in areas of Texas where COVID-19 hospitalization cases exceed 15 percent of the area’s hospital census, the county judge may issue a local emergency order restricting meeting space, restaurants, bars, retail areas, pools, and gym capacity to 50 percent maximum occupancy.

Additionally, the county judge in areas of high hospitalization may require individuals to wear a face covering, but the county may not impose a penalty for failure to do so.

Currently, only the El Paso area is an area of high hospitalization.
 
GA-34 allows businesses to enact and enforce its own policies related to mitigating COVID-19.
 
Please call City Hall or email erik.zimmer@ci.alpine.tx.us with any questions.


January 4, 2021, 2:15 P.M.

Dear Citizens,
 
As we close out 2020 and start out 2021, I wanted to give you a rundown of key accomplishments that the City achieved in 2020. We will also highlight a few of these at our City Council meeting on January 5, 2021.
 
Human Resources
  • Personnel Policy Refresh taking the best of the 2016 policy and 2018 policy and combining into a new policy that works for the employees and community
  • 36 Employees left City employment in FY18-19, 21 Employees left City employment in FY19-20 --- 41.7% reduction
  • Continued progress with Leadership Training for our department heads, managers and supervisors with a focus on goal setting
Police
  • Renewed focus on visibility in community through: patrols, community activities like Red Ribbon week, and the Chat with the Chief series
  • Implemented new pay structure plan to reward employees for advancements and help reduce our officer and dispatcher turnover
  • Continued work and demonstrated professionalism through challenges with BCSO and former City Attorney
  • Working with Council on Ordinances related to law enforcement: noise, traffic speed, coin-operated businesses
  • Improved performance on Case file preparation and cross work with other agencies
Finance
  • Provided training and improved performance on cash handling across all City departments
  • Developed Grant program and added new P/T employee to help manage the opportunities for City (good year-end readout of accomplishments at Dec 1st City Council meeting)
  • Managed Utility Billing through Covid-19 to provide balance between citizens being current on bills and cut-offs. Good communication back to Council and Community.
  • Worked across all departments to coordinate RFP process and ensure City stays in compliance with government standards - this had been a gap
Public Works
  • 102 City Streets sealcoated (100+ to be completed in 2021)
  • 6 Streets, Multiple Parking lots and 6 Alleys rebuilt with HotMix by Jarret Dirt Works (40 street blocks to be completed in 2021)
  • Managed through several quarantine situations with staff and continued to keep up with Park work and Street work
  • Implemented a Recreation Program with four seasonal employees to offset the pool closure due to Covid concerns. Program ran for six weeks before the first wave of Covid impacted CoA.
  • Kept parks open and in good shape for citizens to participate in outside activities as a response to Covid-19
Building Services
  • Implemented Code Enforcement program in March 2020 and began issuing citations (which had not been routinely given in 1.5 years)
  • Implemented permitting program with new forms and additional staff member to help facilitate timeliness of transactions
  • Work with AISD on reviews and approvals for the new High School build. A project like this would typically take a full-time employee. We are completing with existing building official who is also performing all other inspections in community for build projects.
Utilities
  • Wastewater treatment plant improvements (clarifier, belt press, aerator in process). Currently, all operational violations have been remediated. Only outlier is an Administrative violation with the operator licensing need.
  • Built field staff to match needs on: tap installations, routine work tickets, meter reading, daily residual reads necessary to fullfill TCEQ requirements. No operational violations on Nov 2020 inspection by TCEQ on the public water system.
  • Rebuilt SCADA system for better visibility of water across the City and in an effort to mitigate the waste of water by overflows.
  • Met our DIMP numbers with our Gas Utility and continue to work on infrastructure improvements monthly.
Animal Control
  • Worked effectively with Humane Society and local veterinarians on a TNR program to help decrease the number of feral cats in the community
  • Implementing a Euthenasia program (alongside TNR program) to help decrease the need to euthanize any animals.
Environmental Services
  • Another record year with Municipal Solid Waste aversion to our landfill by having a highly functioning Recycle Center. 515 tons of MSW averted through November 2020. This lengthens the lifespan of our landfill
  • Working with SRSU and local environmental groups on plan to restore some natural vegetation and bird life through the Poets Grove, Creek and Kokernot Lodge properties. Project will also implement the usage of effluent water from our wastewater treatment plant.
Airport
  • Two major projects approved and in final stages of engineering: Lighting Project and Sealcoat Project. The projects combined will invest another $1.5M into the Alpine Casparis Municipal Airport
  • Hired a new Supervisor at the end of the year and anticipate this will give us greater insight into our fuel pricing, fly-in strategies and general advertising of our local airport
Tourism
  • Refresh of the Visitor Center occurred under Heather Yadon this year providing an inviting venue that has seen traffic increase two-fold.
  • Implemented safe practices for tourists and employees during the pandemic
  • Kicked off the Midweek Music and Mercantile this fall to promote an outdoor series of events to celebrate the community, vendors and musicians.
  • Significant parking and alley improvements around the Center.
Covid-19
  • Did not shut down offices due to Pandemic - facilitated remote work and safe workspaces (ie - installed walk-up window at Utility Billing/City Hall).
  • Utilized the City website to distribute information relative to business, resident and community concerns through the pandemic. Continue to build content that is relevant and useful for the public.
  • Police Chief worked diligently with business owners through early local Emergency Ordinances to help ensure understanding and answer questions as needed.
  • City continued to look for ways to keep businesses open: outdoor venues (open sidewalk dining), mask wearing, signage, etc...

The City Staff is excited about the prospects for 2021 and look forward to a great year helping build Alpine into the greatest small town in America.
 
Kind regards,
Erik

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