Saturday, October 10, 2015

Buffalo Industrial Supply Takes on Large Project

by Susan Wilder

Buffalo Industrial Supply recently manufactured a 20 yard bucket that will be used on a drag line in the North American Coal Company operations. “It is the first one we have built from beginning to end,” said Operations Manager Jason Milligan. “This is something new we are just getting into.”

The bucket was ordered by V. R. Steel of South Africa for the North American Coal Company. Milligan explained that V. R. Steel took bids for the project, and Buffalo Industrial Supply won the bid. “We had built 6 other buckets for the Hendrix Company, but not completely from start to finish. This was a project that took 3 months.”

The recently completed bucket was shipped to the Number 1 Mine in South Hallsville, Texas, where it will be used by the North American Coal Company. The other 6 buckets built by Buffalo Industrial all went to India where they are also mining coal with drag lines. Those 6 buckets were each 30 yards.

The bucket is used to remove the overburden above the coal so that the coal can be extracted from the ground. The drag line and bucket are sometimes used in the reclamation of the land after the coal has been mined.

Buffalo Industrial Supply is owned and operated by Richard Jacobs. Jacobs started the business in the 1980’s, and it has been serving the public, but mostly the local coal mining industries, ever since. It is a full machine shop and welding shop. Buffalo Industrial Supply employs four 4 machinists, 14 welders, 3 inspectors, and 4 office workers.

Milligan began working for Buffalo Industrial Supply in 2002 not long after he graduated from Oakwood High School. “Richard Jacobs is a great guy to work for,” said Milligan. “I started out as a welder, but now I’m doing a lot more.”

Besides managing the shop, Milligan goes to the fields when problems occur on drag lines or other equipment to evaluate the problem and find the solution. Milligan also trains the inspectors who exam the rigs for parts that need rebuilding. “We try to find the parts that need to be rebuilt before they cause a problem which would mean a longer down time and loss of money for the coal company,” said Milligan.

Buffalo Industrial Supply is getting the jobs done. It is an asset to this community and beyond.

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Commissioners Court Meets

Leon County Commissioners met Wednesday, September 30th, for their regular scheduled meeting. All were present. Leon County Judge Byron Ryder presided.

The fight to stop the High Speed Rail (HSR) from coming into Leon County continues. Commissioner Dean Stanford reported that the City of Normangee has joined many other cities by passing a resolution in opposition to the HSR.

Stanford said a meeting was held in Normangee concerning the HSR and a representative from HSR was there as well as a representative from TXDot. “It is very hard to get any information from these representatives though,” said Stanford. “They say they don't know the answers to the questions.”

“At least we're having a dialogue,” commented Judge Ryder. “They did deny some of the promises that were made by HSR in the beginning. But they have no answer for how a person will be able to access his land if the HSR divides it by passing through it.”

The court signed a resolution to oppose 345-kV Cross Texas Transmission, LLC and Centerpoint Energy transmission lines proposed to cross Leon County. Judge Ryder explained that the lines are not needed. The area the lines are being proposed to serve is an area where a power plant is now under construction. This power plant will be in operation before the transmission lines could be erected, so it is not needed in the opinion of the court.

Donations continue to be accepted by the court for the Veterans' Appreciation Day. Donations were accepted from Triple Blade Steel, Normangee State Bank, Apex, and Nucor Steel. The donations collected at the Gene Watson concert were also added and one donor was anonymous.

The Veterans' Appreciation Day will be held October 10th, at the Expo Center. Veterans and their spouses will be served a meal. Door prizes will be given away.

Commissioner David Ferguson reported that the recent Gene Watson concert held at the Expo Center was “a large success”. It was well attended and the entertainment was enjoyed by all.

Ferguson said that the old Yellow Rose arena was currently being reassembled at the Expo site.

The court accepted a donation from the Limestone Project Employees Fund for the Health Fair. The judge expressed appreciation to Limestone employees for the donation.

The court approved a request from the Chapel of the Hill's to use the Courthouse Square and have a portable toilet for the October 31st Awake and Worship on the Square from 7am to 7pm.

The court approved the $10,692.48 annual salary from Leon County to the Court Reporter of the 369th Judicial District Court.

Approval was given for the Engagement Letter with the outside Audit Team for the next FY2015 Audit.

The court approved a Resolution to receive grants from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission to provide improvements in indigent defense services in the county.

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Buffalo City Council Meeting

Members of the Buffalo City Council met Monday, September 28th, for their regular monthly meeting. All were present except Council Member Dianne Ryder. Buffalo Mayor Royce Dawkins presided.

The council looked at a request from the BHS Men’s Basketball for funds from the motel/hotel tax account to help with their plans to hold a three day tournament in Buffalo. The request is for $20,000.

Members studied the application BHS Men’s Basketball had presented with plans how they will use the money from the city. Some members expressed concerns that some of the plans for the money do not fall within the rules and regulations of how the motel/hotel fund is to be spent.

The request was tabled until more information can be obtained. There was no one representing BHS Men’s Basketball present at the meeting.

The council considered the approval of the budget plan for the year 2015 – 2016. The plan includes the salaries of city employees. Council Member John Maneval raised questions about the amount of salary the mayor receives.

Maneval says that the mayor was paid $12,000 in the past, but now, and for the last several years, the mayor receives $18,600. “My concern is,” said Maneval, “the salary should not be increased without an approval from the council.” Maneval said he had looked, but has been unable to find when or how the change in salary occurred.

“I think we should take the mayor’s salary out of the budget,” said Maneval, “until we can consider it, and until it is approved.” No other council member seemed in support of Maneval’s concern and no motions were made.

The budget was approved as is by all members.

Robert Read asked the council for permission to install antennas on the water tower for wireless internet services. “I want to have internet service available to people whom Windstream does not reach,” said Read.

The council members had no objections, but wanted to have a contract written with stated terms and conditions. Read said he could provide a contract for the next council meeting.

The council heard a report from David Bane of 480 Energy. Bane’s company searches electrical suppliers and finds the best rates for cities to lock into for a two or three year contract. “The cost of electricity is down just now,” said Bane. “The city can get electricity from Gexa now for 0.040.”

Currently, the city is paying 0.048 and that contract does not expire until mid 2016. Council members voted to lock into the lower rate with Gexa for a two year period.

Buffalo Chief of Police Lance Pavelka reported to the council on activities at the police department. “We have had an increase in calls,” said Pavelka, “and an increase in cases of stolen credit cards.”

Pavelka said his officers are watching for speeders and stop signs and red lights and issuing more citations. “We had 3 accidents on Interstate 45 of late,” said Pavelka.

Pavelka also reported that all of his officers are wearing and using body cameras. “We think they are really helpful and capture more than the cameras on the dash boards.”

In the council comments sections of the meeting, Council Member Travis Crowder noted that the amount of money in the motel/hotel tax fund has increased. “We need to find something to spend it on that will help us.”

Mayor Dawkins said that he has been looking at ideas to renovate and enlarge the Civic Center and this would be a benefit for the city. Dawkins said that he would present more details to the council when more is known.

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