Sealy City Manager Lloyd Merrell is moving forward with executing a contract for topography, platting and surveying services for public safety properties in order to enter an agreement with Austin County for an EMS facility.
“This will get us to the point where we can get it appraised so I can notify the county how much the council wants for it,” Merrell said during a June 12 city council meeting.
The services will cost between $10,000 and $14,000, but are necessary in order to determine drainage needs among other things, said Assistant City Manager Warren Escovy.
“It is basically four tracts, one for the police station, one for the fire station, one for EMS station and a reserve for drainage,” Escovy said. “The cost will stay the same whether you have three lots or four lots.”
City and county officials have talked for years about a land swap that would enable the county to place an EMS station near the city’s police and fire departments.
“The end result of all of this is the city of Sealy is [in favor of] having EMS locate on this particular piece of property. We have never changed that view,” said Councilman Larry Koy.
Austin County Judge Tim Lapham said during an April council meeting that the county’s EMS building committee would like to locate the EMS station at Highway 90 and Rexville Road, in close proximity to the city’s other public safety buildings.
“They keep coming back to this as probably the best option for us,” Lapham said, noting that they want to have all emergency services in one hub.
City and county officials have acknowledged there are some flooding concerns with the property. Mayor Janice Whitehead pointed out in a previous meeting that the police station has flooded twice.
“I would almost be overly cautious with drainage plans, and I would want us to keep that in mind,” she said. “We definitely don’t want a repeat of that. But I think it’s a great idea to have those three units together if we can work it out.”
In a May meeting of the Austin County Commissioners Court, Precinct 3 Commissioner Randy Reichardt suggested that the land swap had been moving forward but has been thwarted by City Attorney Lora Lensch.
“I really don’t understand,” he said. “All the city council is in favor of [the land swap] except for the lawyer and she’s throwing a wrench in the whole thing. This court has enough backbone to do what’s right.”
Lensch did not address the matter during the council’s June 12 meeting.
In other matters during the June 12 council meeting, the council tabled a resolution to adopt an amended version of the city’s drainage manual.