Mission approves interlocal agreement with Agua SUD

Mission gained ownership of a sanitary sewer lift station on Moorefield Road during this week’s city council meeting.

The city entered and approved an interlocal agreement with the Agua Special Utility District on Monday in order to transfer the ownership and maintenance of a sanitary sewer lift station located at 2123 W. 30th Street. The station services only the La Hacienda Estates Subdivision, which is inside city limits and the sanitary sewer CCN.

City of Mission logoAgua SUD approved the interlocal agreement on April 30.

According to Public Works Director Robert Salinas, the station was built in 2005, and does not serve any other areas other than the subdivision.

“We service the sewer and we charge for the sewer of this lift station,” Salinas said.

Ownership of the station includes maintenance and operation. Mayor Armando O’caña asked Salinas why the station was owned by Agua SUD in the first place.

Salinas responded that the ownership of the station was brought to the attention of Public Works by manager Eddie Saenz.

“We had conversations, we visited the lift station and we looked at our sewer CCN maps and city limit maps, everything falls into the city of Mission ownership and maintenance,” Salinas said. “Why it was done like that back in 2005, Mayor, I don’t have that answer. But we did research, we looked at several interlocal agreements that were done at that time, and nothing appeared that was owned by the city of Mission at that time, so I guess Agua took ownership.”

Council member Gus Martinez said he had no issues with the interlocal, but wanted the city attorney to go over it to ensure there was no trailing liability or service issues in the station.

Through this interlocal agreement, Mission will be taking over the maintenance and will be liable from this point on. Interim City Attorney Bob Galligan said he had reviewed the agreement, and did not see any responsibility for any pending lawsuits or trailing liability discussed.

“I don’t know about any potential lawsuits attached, I doubt that is the case,” Galligan said. “We’re just taking over the maintenance of it and ownership of it as it is now.”

Salinas said that currently, any issues with the residents homes in La Hacienda is already taken care of by the city’s Public Works department, it was just taking over the lift station itself. The agreement was approved unanimously by council.

During citizen’s participation Rosie Olivarez and Sylvia Rodriguez spoke, advocating against the mistreatment of animals in the city.

“We are a group of concerned citizens here to voice our concerns for the abandoned, neglected and abused animals wandering in our city,” Olivarez said, adding a quote from Mahatma Gandhi speaking on the character of a community based on how it treats animals. “Our city has a long way to go, and although we have programs in place and animals in the pound, we are still far from making any difference.”

The group that stepped forward with Olivarez and Rodriguez were asking for the animal abuse laws already in place in Mission to be enforced. Olivarez said that animals are sentient beings, who can suffer and feel pain.

“If I run a red light, I will most definitely get a $200 plus fine. If I don’t wear a seatbelt, I’m going to get a ticket,” Olivarez said. “But if a dog is shot in the face and thrown at the city pound, nobody is responsible for him.”

Olivarez and Rodriguez held up photographs of injured pets who were left untreated by their owners, and insisted that the police department enforce the animal abuse laws more strictly. While council did not respond during their participation, they did during their allotted comments time before executive session.

“I don’t know if we’re doing enough, but let’s enforce those laws if we can,” council member Martinez said, directing the comment to Police Chief Robert Dominguez.

Dominguez said that it is not just up to Mission PD to enforce the laws, but the county and district attorney in order to prosecute.

“The city of Mission has taken big steps to help our stray and unwanted animals for the past couple of years,” council member Jessica Ortega-Ochoa said. “We will continue to work together with our police department and our district attorney’s office to fight animal abuse with a hope to end animal abuse in the future.”

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