City Council will re-hear a proposal to spend $500,000 plus $35,000-$50,000 in annual maintenance fees on a Concho River fountain feature. Councilman Paul Alexander sees revenue potential from the fountain. Let's hope it works out better than selling naming rights to city facilities or the tournament beer concession at city softball fields.
Meanwhile, city parks and recreational areas at Lake Nasworthy are at risk for sale, privatization and public restriction.
There also were many comments in support of city officials exploring potential public/private partnerships for future development on Lake Nasworthy, especially in visible areas such as Mary Lee Park.
Council members already showed their annoyance at citizens walking a public street, Gun Club Road next to Lake Nasworthy. Is the fountain a diversion for citizens no longer able to swim and walk for free around Lake Nasworthy?
Another Paul Alexander idea will be discussed on Tuesday. It's pumping water from the South Pool of Twin Buttes. Last summer Alexander suggested shifting water from the South Pool to the North Pool. He said it would reduce the surface area for evaporation by four times.
I find this hard to believe based on my knowledge of the bottom topography in the two pools. The South Pool is like a bowl, the North Pool's bottom is much more varied. I expect pumping South Pool water into the North would increase, not decrease the surface area of the water, and result in greater evaporation.
Recall Paul Alexander ludicrously suggested adding a boat ramp on the South side of the North Pool, which has a very low grade. Staff waited a meeting to tell Alexander his idea was impractical to anyone who knew boat ramps needed a high grade for maximum usability, at least for a lake on the edge of a desert.
City workers and retirees already knew where they stood with this Council. What might they think of health insurance savings funding a capital project the size of the river fountain? The bright side could have a maintenance man coming out of retirement to keep the fountain running. That would fit with Mayor New's vision of City early retirees returning to the workforce for an affordable health insurance benefit.
As for the City's $3.6 million economic incentive to MedHab, a rehabilitation device maker, MedHab President Johnny Ross indicated their product launch would be pushed back to Fall. Council acted to legitimize Mayor New's equity investment in MedHab, such that the company could receive the proposed incentive without further machinations and Mayor New wouldn't have to dump his stake. This item is not on the agenda and City leaders have been hush on MedHab since early January.
Council meets Tuesday, April 3rd. Will an April Fool's feeling carry into the day? Maybe so.