FERRIS - Mayor Jim Parks announced during Monday’s council meeting that the city has received a check for $144,557 from Waste Management as part of the proceeds from the methane to electric program.

The announcement came as city finance director Elizabeth Saegert requested that a special budget account be set up for the money.

Councilman Bill Pardue said in the past the monies have gone to the general budget. As the amounts have increased, Saegert asked for the special fund to be able to better track the receipts and track the expenditures. Presently they have gone to parks projects. The motion passed unanimously.

In another budget related issue, Seargent asked for the creation of a fund account for the insurance proceeds for the damaged community center. Pardue told council members the insurance company has offered a settlement of $58,000 for the center’s damage.

“It’s a place to park the money to identify it until we decide what we want to do with it,” Pardue said.

Some discussion followed from Parks and other council members on the disposition of the community center. Parks said the city may want to sell the property and build a new center.

“No matter what we do, I do not want to see a bond election,” Parks said.

Members Pardue and Rick Barrett agreed that an appraisal of the building needed to be made and council members should consider selling the building and property. The council agreed to discuss the possibilities of the building at an upcoming budget workshop.

The center was damaged from prior roof leaks and the roof caved in following heavy rains about six months ago, according to city secretary Pat Bradley.

Council members and representatives of TXU and Oncor came to an agreement over non-working streetlights.

“We have been paying for lights that have not worked for over a year,” Pardue said.

“I am here to tell you, I will give attention to any light not working. I have visited with the public works director and has committed to help is identify any non-working lights,” Oncor Paul Hernandez representative said.

“Our expectation is to find all non-working lights and get those lights working,” Pardue told Hernandez. “We have a list of non-working lights and I will see they are repaired. We will develop lines of communication with the city to report when the crews are in the area and lights are working.”

TXU representative Gary Hooper said he will work with Oncor and the city to get any non-working lights repaired.

“I feel 15 days is adequate,” he said.

Pardue asked Hooper about billing adjustments for electricity billed for the non-working lights.

“Please do not deduct any thing from your bill for the electricity as it will cause billing problems down the line. I will work with Oncor to handle the billing,” Hooper told the council.

Hooper said the lights are on a flat rate and told council members he can work with the city to save it energy expenses on services besides the street lights.

“This is something we want to look into,” Pardue said.

Other items discussed were the 4-B group members’ approval of the purchase and erection of a new 60-foot flagpole in the town square. “It should be up in six to eight weeks,” Pardue said.

Council members approved a $4 increase to the fire pension system. Fire Chief Eddie Duran said the city is on an increasing step plan the began in 1989 with a retirement benefit of $12 per month. The current contracted rate is $20 per month. Duran asked for the amendment, which increases the current contract to $24, effective October 2008.