City to review cuts to mowing schedule
By BY DAVID TEWES
July 25, 2010 at 2:25 a.m.
On the agendaThe city council also will consider issuing $8.6 million in general obligation bonds when it meets at 5 p.m. in the Council Chamber at 107 W. Juan Linn St.
Finance Director Gilbert P. Reyna Jr. said the bonds will be used to finance older bonds issued at a higher interest rate in 2001.
"They were basically for street improvements, drainage, right of way acquisition, water lines, sidewalks and traffic."
He said the city should probably be able to lower the interest rate from 5.1 percent to about 3.05 percent, saving taxpayers almost $600,000.
What to do about high grass and weeds growing on public property in Victoria will be discussed at Tuesday's city council meeting.
Doug Cochran, the city's director of parks and recreation, said he will give a report dealing with all the mowing responsibilities his department has.
"It's a lot," he said. "Just the drainage ditches are 200 acres."
Another 300 acres are in the Lone Tree Creek flood control basin. Then there are also curbs and gutters, barrow ditches and vacant lots the city bought near the Guadalupe River so people could move from the flood zone.
The tropical rains in late June and July sparked the growth of grass and weeds in the city's drainage ditches and creeks. That growth occurred just when the city cut back on its mowing schedule to save money to make up for lower sales tax income.
Mayor Will Armstrong said high grass and weeds in city rights of way don't offer a good image of Victoria. He asked staff to try to find money to increase the frequency of mowing.
"When you're not able to do proper maintenance, it distracts from civic pride," he said. "But when these decisions were made, the grass wasn't growing."
Even if the staff were to find money to increase mowing, the ground is so wet the tractors probably couldn't get into the drainage systems for a while, he said.
Cochran said he doesn't plan to offer options for coming up with more money for mowing. But he said the council may have ideas and the city will study them.