OVILLA – During its meeting Monday night, council members added to an interlocal agreement for roadwork with Ellis County.

The agreement already included reconstruction and maintenance for two miles of Johnson Lane, with the council adding another quarter-mile of Duncanville Road to the package.

Outgoing city administrator John McDonald said the work on Johnson Lane would cost $150,000 with a payoff of three years at no interest. The work on Duncanville Road will cost an additional $30,000, he said, noting the project will be funded out of the budget this summer and would come from the street tax.

Ovilla will be responsible for paying $53,000 this year for the roadwork, $60,000 in 2009 and $67,000 in 2010.

A benefit of the agreement is that Ellis County will be responsible for three years of road maintenance, as well, including spraying, chipping and sealing, he said.

Discussing drainage issues relating to the roadwork, Mayor Bill Turner said Ellis County would cut the ditches, but Ovilla was responsible for removing the trees.

McDonald said residents would be notified when the time came for the tree removal – and the trees would be appropriately tagged.

In other business, the council unanimously approved the gas franchise between the city and Atmos Energy Corporation.

Ovilla is a member of the Atmos Steering Committee and last year received a $5,000 settlement. This year, the franchise fee increases from 4 to 5 percent on gross receipts, effective May 1.

Various amendments were made to the 2008 budget, with McDonald noting a forecasted increase in sales tax and higher monthly payments, an additional $5,000 given to the street budget, money saved from turnover in personnel, minor changes to the utility fund and that debt services had received more than anticipated. The budget will be posted to the Web site and made available at City Hall. The city is also ahead of schedule with its necessary reserve monies, with 87 days’ worth in the budget, he said.

Two measures were passed allowing for the construction of the 4,500 square foot Larry C. Marlowe Fire Annex on property behind City Hall that will be leased to Ellis County Emergency Services District No. 2.

The project should begin construction by the end of May, with completion by the end of the year.

“Over the last several months, we have changed things and tried to ride all the hurdles,” Fire Chief Donnie Pickard said.

Several department reports were given, with city accountant Miykael Reeve presenting the investment report. Some changes have been made based on the economy and determining the best way to maximize investments and revenue potential, she said.

McDonald reported on the parking right-of-way situation on Farm-to-Market 664, where complaints have come from the public relating to an auto shop.

The Texas Department of Transportation has provided the city with language for an ordinance that can be adopted to enforce parking as necessary, McDonald said, noting an ordinance would be ready for consideration at an upcoming council meeting.

After an executive session, the council approved several salary increases: city secretary, 4 percent; police chief, 3 1/2 percent; public works director, 3 1/2 percent; fire chief, 3 percent; city accountant, 3 percent; and municipal judge, 10 percent.

The raises go into effect May 11.