Water tower named for man who died building it in 1937

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

The Alice City Council said goodbye to City Manager Pete Anaya Monday, and appointed an interim city manager in his place until a full-time city manager can be selected.

The council issued a proclamation declaring Jan. 22, 2007 "Pete Anaya Day" in Alice, and several city departments presented the outgoing city manager with gifts during Monday's council meeting.

"You've been a tremendous asset for the city," council member Michael Esparza told Anaya. "You will be missed."

Mayor Grace Saenz-Lopez also expressed her appreciation to Anaya for his eight years of service to the city.

"I know you and I started out on the wrong foot, everybody knows that, but I think we ended up all right," Saenz-Lopez said.

Following a meeting in closed executive session, the council returned to open session to vote on an interim replacement for Anaya.

Council member Dorella Elizondo introduced a motion to appoint current assistant city manager Sara Wilson as interim city manager, and council member Rey Garcia seconded the motion.

Council members Michael Esparza and Juan Rodriguez voted against the motion, however, and Saenz-Lopez cast the deciding vote against selecting Wilson.

Rodriguez then introduced a motion to appoint current Human Resources Director Ruben Maldonado to the post, which received a second from Esparza. Garcia and Elizondo voted against the motion, but Saenz-Lopez cast the deciding vote in favor of hiring Maldonado.

Following Monday's meeting, Maldonado said he would continue in his capacity as human resources director while also serving as interim-city manager, although he hoped to be considered as a candidate for the full-time city manager post.

Maldonado previously served as the city manager of San Diego in 2003, and served as the superintendent of Benavides ISD from 1994 to 2002.

In other business, the council voted to approve the naming and dedication of the concrete water tower in honor of Jose Angel DeLeon, a construction worker who lost his life while building the tower in 1937. A special ceremony to honor DeLeon and to officially dedicate the tower will be scheduled for a later date.

The council also voted to authorize the Alice Fire Department to issue a request for proposals for cost and recovery services for the department.

The department is reportedly investigating methods of billing insurance companies to recover costs of responding to emergencies for individuals who are not residents of Alice or Jim Wells County.

The council voted to enter into an Acquisition Fund and Account Control Agreement with Banc of America to finance several equipment purchases. The agreement finances $368,600.39 for the purchase of a sanitation truck, a street sweeper and a vacuum truck approved in the city's 2007 budget.

The council also approved the purchase of four new vehicles for the city from Bowden Ford.

In addition to the action items on the agenda, the council heard two presentations Monday.

Alice Boys and Girls Club Director Rick DelBosque, project manager Debbie Crites and board member Paul Rycroft presented an update on the status of fundraising efforts for a proposed new Boys and Girls Club facility. The facility, which is estimated to cost between $2.5 and $3 million, is expected to break ground on five acres of land purchased on Texas Boulevard in the next two years, Rycroft said.

Economic Development Corporation Director Dean Kruckenberg, Coastal Bend College Director Rito Silva and Work Source of the Coastal Bend representative Virginia Garcia gave a joint presentation outlining collaborative efforts the three organizations have undertaken, as well as mutual challenges and needs the three entities hope to address with the city's help.

The council also issued a proclamation to Bob Griggs, Mike Mallon and Albert Vera in honor of National Nurse Anesthetists Week and presented certificates of recognition to the Alice High School Explorers Post 33.