City Proposes No-Bid Lease that Pleases Two Wall Farmers
SAN ANGELO, TX — San Angelo city council members Tuesday will consider extending the agricultural and grazing leases on thousands of acres of city owned land at the city farm that could allow the current tenants to benefit from the city’s new Concho River Project to discharge treated wastewater into the Concho River once State permits are secured.
According to the city council agenda for the regular meeting Tuesday, two tenants lease 2,448 acres from the city for grazing and agricultural use. Roger Strube leases 1,560 acres while Gary and Sherry Halfmann lease 888 acres.
The report to the city council from Real Estate Manager Cynthia Preas says, “Historically city staff has recommended the current tenant of grazing and agricultural property be given the opportunity to continue leasing the property without placing the property out for highest sealed bid. In 2016 a tenant was given the opportunity to lease grazing and agricultural property without going out for the highest sealed bid.”
Preas says Strube and Halfmann requested the same opportunity.
If approved, Strube and Halfmann will be leasing the city farm property when state permits are approved for the Concho River Project where the city will begin discharging treated wastewater into the Concho River and recovering it at a city owned facility downstream near Mullins Crossing. In the past, the city irrigated the city farm land with wastewater until 1998 when the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality mandated the city stop because untreated wastewater was polluting the Concho River. At that time, the city contracted with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Tom Green County Water Control and Improvement District in Veribest to pump the wastewater for use on cotton fields in the 15,000 acre irrigation canal district in exchange for the WCID leaving fresh water in Twin Buttes Reservoir.
With the City’s new Concho River Project, the agreement with the Bureau and the WCID will end and the WCID will again take fresh water from Twin Buttes Reservoir when available. Twin Buttes has just over 100,000 acre-feet of storage and the WCID has the legal right to use a portion of that storage above 50,000 acre-feet.
In other business Tuesday, council members are expected to ratify a resolution supporting the Economic Development Corporation’s plan to help fund improvements to the San Angelo Regional Airport for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Air and Marine operations in the amount of $49,225. The move would incentivize CBPAMO the expand its current operation and increase personnel. The funds would be for paving a portion of the ramp and adding storm drainage for the project.
The San Angelo City Council is also poised to approve a resolution supporting “Our Home, Our Decisions.” The resolution supports local government control and states, “those decisions should be made by city residents and the neighbors they elect to lead their municipal government and not by legislators who live hundreds of miles away and may never have visited our community.”
The San Angelo City Council meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in council chambers at the McNease Convention Center. The meeting is open to the public.