The City Commissioners approved the addition of two school resource officers for Pampa Independent School District during Monday’s regularly-scheduled meeting.
Pampa Police Chief Lance Richburg said the move was necessary and provides more security to the campuses after both the City of Pampa and Pampa Independent School District opted to reduce to one SRO in 2016.
“We had to step back to one SRO for the six campuses,” Richburg said. “Nobody liked that, nobody wanted that, but that’s where we were at. We all know recent events have occurred in our home state bringing this to the forefront. It’s always been in the forefront to us, but Shane did a lot of research to put this together.”
Richburg said the move would enhance the service to the schools, students and staff. While safety is paramount, Richburg said it gives students an opportunity to interact with uniformed officers and set a good tone for future engagements.
“The biggest thing for me is at the elementary level those small kids interact with an officer in uniform and get to see what we are really like before they get influenced at 14 and 15 years old,” Richburg said.
Richburg added the police department will be adding two positions as to not lose any positions in the patrol division.
Stokes said the agreement is a roughly 60-40 split between Pampa ISD and the City of Pampa. That covers not just salaries but also the equipment and training needed for the position.
“We did a one-year agreement intentionally because we feel like that with recent events the legislature will give some funding to the schools for the SROs,” Stokes said. “We will look at it again next year and if they have more funding available our portion on this may go down.”
Earlier in the meeting, Director of Public Works Gary Turley went over the process of fixing last week’s large water leak in downtown Pampa.
Turley noted the leak was called in at 2 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. The pipe was a 16-inch pipe and presented a number of challenges throughout the process.
“It was a doozy of a water leak,” Turley said. “Everything we did it seemed like we would take a step forward and take three steps back.”
In the end, the leak was fixed by Friday, July 22 at 9:30 p.m. The City replaced 23 feet of pipe and lost an estimated five million gallons of water. But in all of the process, the City pressure only dropped below 40 psi three times for two minutes or less.
“That’s still above the minimum for the State to even come close to a boil order,” Turley said.
Turley also took the time to recognize the crew that worked on the leak.
City Manager Shane Stokes lauded all of those who contributed, and donated to the crews who worked more than 50 hours to fix the leak. Those recognized included Leroy Cox family, Trent Price Family, Finley’s Fountain, Latham Daughtry family and Pampa Sleep Store.
Chad Dietz, landscape architect for Parkhill Engineering, made a quick presentation to the Commissioners ahead of the budget discussion, offering a rendering of the City’s plans for the Downtown Revitalization Project.
“We are working along Cuyler,” Dietz said. “Our base bid project is the east side of Cuyler, north end of Foster and the west side of Cuyler. We are focusing on revitalizing sidewalks, accessibility improvements, curb/gutters, curb ramps and we are looking at steps and handrails for additional accessibility up to the storefronts. There will be new curb and gutter on that portion of the project.”
Dietz pointed out bump-outs along the sidewalk for pedestrian safety when crossing the streets.
“The pedestrian is now crossing 30 feet instead of 40 to 50 feet,” Dietz said. “It does allow for advanced paving, landscaping or beautification of that sort.”
Dietz offered several other beautification tools such as light poles, landscaping, etc. But this was for the base bid.
Commissioner Jimmy Keough said this project will keep Cuyler a straight road, not a curved one as it has been rumored to be on social media.
Dietz confirmed traffic patterns and parking patterns will stay the same. Mayor Lance DeFever asked if there was any concern from the Pampa Fire Department or emergency personnel about the bump-outs.
Fire Chief Kasey Presson said he hasn’t seen it as much of an issue.
Stokes doubled-down and stressed that the traffic pattern downtown will not change at all.
Finance Director Theresa Daniels went over a department-by-department breakdown of the budget but highlighted an increase in sales tax revenue of $315,000, two new SRO positions, the $1 increase to sanitation, a cost of living allowance increase, a four percent increase to health insurance contribution and certified taxable values increasing $9,624,205.
The Commissioners also approved the following items:
• The minutes of the July 11, 2022, Public Hearing/Regular Commission Meeting.
• Absence of Commissioner Fisher and Commissioner Doughty from the July 11, 2022, Public Hearing/Regular Commission Meeting.
• List of Disbursements dated June 2022.
• Bid for the Utility/Construction Building roof to LBK Roofing, the lowest bidder, in the amount of $349,962.35.
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