City council members met Monday, July 29, to talk budget, but some of their attention was also focused on ongoing flood recovery and mosquitoes.

City Manager Art Fuentes explained to the council that the city was required to stop providing BTI granules to residents at the direction of the Texas Agriculture Commission and collect any unused packets of granules that were recently dispensed to the public.

BTI is a bacteria used for mosquito control. When spread over the surface of standing water where mosquito larvae live, BTI granules will kill the larvae within 24 hours and control them for up to 14 days.

Due to the increased mosquito population in the area and public demand for the city to help eliminate them, the city began providing individual bags of BTI granules with limited instuctions for use attached to residents upon request.

Fuentes said the Ag Commission contacted him last week and informed him that the city could not handout the bags of BTI granules to the public in that manner.

All of the bags have been collected from residents, unused, Fuentes said.

The city will continue to use the larvicide granules to treat water areas as a means of controlling mosquitoes, but they will only be dispensed by licensed city employees.

Fuentes also gave a quick update on the topic of construction of a 5G Cell Tower to be located on Thompson Road. Fuentes said it is still being reviewed by City Attorney Clint Griffin, but it has been determined that the property is in the county and not annexed by the City of Sonora.

Next, Fuentes asked the council to consider accepting a donation from the San Angelo Area Foundation regarding demolition cost of houses and or structures that were damaged by the September 21, 2018, flood.

Fuentes said following the flood the city was involved in the demolition of numerous houses for safety reasons. Going forward, there are still houses and structures in need of demolition. To date 20 houses have been demolished and 16 houses are still in need of flattening. However, Fuentes said he has concerns over the city being involved in that process.

“We have to be careful about not using city employees to do work on private property,” Fuentes said.

Efforts to find help for residents in need such as aide from FEMA and the Long Term Recovery Group have come up short, Fuentes said. So, he is looking at getting assistance through the San Angelo Area Foundation.

In short, the Area Foundation would grant a donation to the City of Sonora and in turn the city would use that donation to pay contractors to complete the demolition work.

Council Member Norm Rousselot asked about the amount of funds the Area Foundation would provide and Fuentes said that information is unknown since the Foundation has its own process for determining need and amounts awarded to individual residents.

Mayor Wanda voiced her concerns over the city being in the middle of the issue and asked if Fuentes had consulted with the city’s attorney.
Fuentes said he has not spoken with Griffin about the matter.

Eventually, council members agreed to table the matter pending further review and legal advice.

Moving on, council members turned their attention to the budget. A few city employees were present to speak up on specific line items if necessary.
The rest of the evening was spent discussing the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget. No action was taken.

Mayor Wanda Shurley presided over the special meeting. Council Members Lionel Cervantez, Todd Munn, Juanita Gomez and Norm Rousselot were present.

The City of Sonora City Council will meet again Tuesday, August 6, for a second budget workshop.

The next regular meeting of the City of Sonora City Council is set for Monday, August 19, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall.