The governing body of Blanco met on February 12 with three members and Mayor Chuck Homan present and two council members, Al Turner and Bobby McClung, absent. Real Ale Brewery owner Brad Farbstein updated council on the progress of a plan to treat the brewery’s effluent, thereby extending the life of the city’s sewer treatment facility. The brewery has contracted with the civil engineering firm of Pape-Dawson for ponds and a piping system, and equipment has been purchased from Clear Blue. The two ponds, each 150 feet by 50 feet by 10 feet deep, will hold 510,000 gallons of effluent. Farbstein said that the brewery has opted for a full-treatment plant at a cost of between $650,000 and $800,000, a significant investment for the brewery since it will come out of cash flow. Construction can begin as soon as permits are approved by the city, with a scheduled completion date of May 10. The plant should be operational by June first, with the goal of bringing BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) and TSS (total suspended solids) levels to 200, as specified by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
In the Mayor Comments portion of the meeting, Mayor Chuck Homan recognized Boy Scout Troop 497 Scoutmaster Joe Lockwood, who honored four scouts who have earned their Citizenship Award.
Sylvia Romero, race coordinator for the 5K and 10K runs that will be part of Wild Woman Weekend April 5-6, asked permission of council to close Pecan Street on the square from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 6. The race will start and finish at the corner of 3rd and Pecan Streets, with a possible finish through Bindseil Park. She also asked permission to set up portable toilet facilities near the Pecan Street bridge for the expected 300 runners. In response to the mayor’s query to Police Chief Ritchey as to whether he would approve this closure, he responded that it would not be a problem, joking, “If there are wild women around, I would like to be there!”
Chief Ritchey reported to council that his effort to curb dogs running loose and issue citations for those who have not had a rabies shot has netted 37 citations—eight for dogs running loose and the rest for unvaccinated dogs. He said the number of complaints by citizens has dropped since dog owners have contained their dogs. “It is important to us as police officers to keep the quality of life for Blanco citizens,” he asserted, adding that his department will also be pursuing citations for yards that have abandoned vehicles and “look more like a junkyard.” He added there has been an apprehension in the recent burglary at Strickland Drugs and said he expects to get convictions. “We have very good officers,” he concluded. “They just need some encouragement.”
The discussion of PEC’s offer to fund an electronic variable message sign was tabled after PEC employee and council member Martin Sauceda said he would ask for an extension of time. The board was to have been installed by April, but the placement is still in question. TxDOT did not approve the city’s request to put a sign near the entrance to Blanco State Park, and the offer by Blanco Rodeo Association chair Darrell West to have a sign by Yett Park raised safety issues since the speed limit coming into town is 65 MPH at that location. Planning and Zoning Commission member Matt Lewis volunteered to help, expressing concern that the city would lose funding if a decision is not made soon.
Council members also tabled an agenda item to approve an election judge and alternate for the May 11, 2013 election, since no one has volunteered to serve.