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Partly Cloudy, 88 F

Forecast:
Wed - Partly Cloudy. High: 91 Low: 77
Thu - Partly Cloudy. High: 93 Low: 77
Fri - Thunderstorms. High: 90 Low: 76
Sat - Scattered Thunderstorms. High: 91 Low: 76
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Alton works to protect drainage systems

LOGOALTON — Three new ordinances approved here this week aim to protect the city’s storm and drainage system.

On Tuesday, Alton Planning Director Hernan Lugo explained the ordinances were being created statewide to protect the quality of the state’s storm drainage system.

One ordinance protects the storm and drainage system during construction processes, as soil is vulnerable to erosion by wind and water during construction. Eroded soil can endanger water resources by reducing water quality and causing siltation of aquatic habitat for fish and other species. It can necessitate repair of sewers and ditches and can cause dredging of lakes, officials said.

The ordinance requires that a certified contractor inspect for erosion and maintain erosion and sediment construction practices in such a way the erosion caused by construction does not get into storm sewers or nearby bodies of water by construction by filtering sediment-laden run-off or diverting it to a sediment trap of basin.

The second ordinance authorizes the city to adopt regulations designed to minimize flood losses caused by an increase in flood heights and velocities, and by occupancy of flood hazard areas that can be hazardous to other land because of inadequate elevation. The purpose is to protect life and health, minimize expenditure of public money for costly flood control projects and minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding that are generally undertaken at public expense, officials said.

City leaders said the fourth ordinance protects the health of Alton residents by regulating non-storm discharges into the storm drainage system including hazardous industrial or commercial materials such as chemicals, oil, grease and other substances that might harm the population or the environment if it were released into the storm system.

City Manager Jorge Arcaute told the council anyone caught dumping illegal substances into the storm or sewer system could be charged a fine as high as $2,000.

In other action at this week’s council meeting, officials heard a tax collection report for October 2009 through September 2010. A total of $167,063 in tax collections from revenues was collected by the city. Of this, $45,608 was spent on commissions, refunds and tax attorney fees. The remaining $121,455 came to the city for expenditures. Total expenditures amounted to $167,063.

Ad valorem revenues for 2010 amounted to $938,282, an increase of $99,387 over the 2009 ad valorem collections of $838,894.

The council approved participation in the Economically Disadvantaged County Program for right-of-way acquisitions for FM 681 and FM 2221 projects. The cost to the city is $1,391 for a $278,165 project to widen the 7 Mile Line Road to four lanes from one-fourth mile west of Moorefield to FM 681.

The council also acknowledged receipt of a $500,000 check from the Texas Department of Rural Affairs for improvements to the storm sewer in the Shary Woods Subdivision.

The council approved an increase in attorney’s fees from $135 an hour to $150 an hour.

Jacqueline Lefevre was reappointed as alternate municipal judge for the city.

Following executive session, officials announced the city would appeal a judgment from the Appellate Court where Mission, as the result of a lawsuit, placed a lien on property in Alton’s industrial district; City Attorney Ricardo Gonzalez said the property was to be sold.

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