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ALTON—The City of Alton Commission on April 9 approved write-offs of $281,520 in past-due, uncollected sewer fees. The fees have accumulated since 2005, and had never been billed by Sharyland Water Supply, which had made the monies presently uncollectable.

“This is basically a cleaning of the books that was recommended by our auditor,” City Manager Jorge Arcaute said. “It creates a more accurate record; we don’t want to live under the illusion that we are going to get this money at some point.”

Mayor Salvador Vela voiced concern with such a high amount of fees not paid. Arcaute explained the total comes from six years of accumulation.

“We have not done this kind of declaration in the time that I’ve been here…six years,” Arcaute said. “You will probably see something on an annual basis, some declaration of monies that are not collectable and they will not be anywhere near this amount.”

The commission also approved a memorandum with the Veterans Memorial High School JROTC to adopt a park. The students propose to provide their services twice a month, beginning on April 13.

The group asked to maintain the Josefa Garcia Park, located at 1619 E. Main Avenue. According to the memorandum the goal of the program is to build a sense of ownership in the community and provide area beautification in the form of collecting trash, planting flowers and trees and providing other services as necessary.

“Public Works will provide the necessary tools: trash bags, shovels, rakes,” Public Works Director Rudy Garza said. “This group has already participated in our All Valley Trash Bash on April 6, 2012. We collected approximately 200 pounds of litter on West Main.”

Ambulance Service Approved

Three firms submitted bids for the ambulance service with the City of Alton, including Hidalgo County EMS, Guardian EMS and Pro-Medic EMS. After a grading committee evaluated the submissions, city commissioners decided to award the contract to the company with the highest score – Hidalgo County EMS.

Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Javier Garcia has pushed to reinstate the Volunteer Firefighters Fund, with plans to use the money for equipment, uniforms, dues and other appropriate items for the fire crew. The account would be funded by donations from citizens and businesses. As the council voted, approving the proposal, the city manager explained that the fund will be under the city’s umbrella of accounts.

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