May 3, 2018 500 AM
PRESIDIO – More good news was delivered at last week’s city council meeting. Rifle resistant body armor for police officers, renewal of a border security grant, and an opportunity to expand the solid waste program were all items on the agenda. First off, the City of Marfa is looking for a new company to collect its municipal waste and the City of Presidio is conducting a feasibility study to determine the possibility of providing services. Marfa already sends its trash to Presidio through its current trash provider, because it doesn’t have its own landfill therefore it makes sense to capitalize on picking up their trash as well. According to Presidio Municipal Development District (PMDD) director Brad Newton, the city is hiring landfill specialists Hanson Professional Services to find out what it would take to work with Marfa. “They’re very comprehensive in things that us as a city might overlook,” said Newton in a follow-up interview. Hanson will calculate costs for such things as transportation, trucks, manpower, and insurance. In terms of capacity, city administrator Joe Portillo told The International he believes it’s “absolutely” doable. Portillo went on to explain that this could be an opportunity to generate more money for the city. “We need to expand our enterprise but we cannot raise taxes, our people can’t afford it.” Income from collecting Marfa’s trash could be used to make street improvements or replace aging infrastructure, said Portillo. If the feasibility study renders positive, the City of Presidio will enter a bid before the May 11th deadline. In other news, council members accepted two grants in benefit of the city’s police department. One is for the purchase of rifle-resistant body armor to protect officers, a big improvement over what they’re currently wearing. “The truth is most body armor that officers use, anything bigger than a handgun will penetrate,” said Portillo. According to Portillo these vests are what state troopers are wearing and the type you see in combat or war. Governor Greg Abbott’s office is funding the $23 million grant statewide. “Anything we can do to make it a little bit safer for the officers, why not. Especially if it’s a grant,” expressed Portillo. “It’s not going to cost the city anything.” The second grant comes from the federal government for officers that patrol the border. Presidio has been participating in the program for several years now. The money helps to pay for overtime, fuel and miscellaneous expenses. “It allows our officers who are already out there to work a little bit longer, they make a little more money and the city gets more patrol,” said Portillo. The grants will benefit chief of police Marco Baeza and his three officers.