Houston City Council members on Monday approved the purchase of specialized water meters to enable automatic utility readings, decided to continue discussions about mowing grass in the community, and received a first glimpse electrical charges caused by extreme temperatures in February.
The meters – the last to be required – totaled over $ 143,000 – and are part of a multi-phased project that will eventually send readings directly to City Hall. The first targeted area is in and around Oak Hill Drive. The system includes both water and electricity. It has the ability to connect and disconnect customers directly from the town hall.
An ongoing discussion about what the community looks like and who is responsible for mowing the rights-of-way will continue. Members are to submit their comments to the city administrator and a meeting of the council’s public lands committee is also scheduled. Any changes adopted will likely take place for the next growing season, said Alderman Ross Richardson, who has taken the lead in addressing the issue. Several policies from other communities were collected earlier and a review of the current ordinance is under review.
The board also got a first look at the final wholesale electricity bill from a few tough days in February that made electric meters run. Previously, the council had approved participation in a state program that lends funds to municipalities at a zero percent interest rate for a period not exceeding 60 months. City administrator Scott Avery said the availability of those funds had cushioned the blow for 841 residential customers and businesses in the city.
As part of Monday’s talks, the city would shoulder 50 percent of the remaining charge of $ 713,142 not already paid – rather than 20 percent previously. About a third of consumption comes from residential users and the rest from businesses and large commercial customers. If all goes according to plan, residential customers would pay $ 5.90 per month for 24 months, instead of an earlier estimate of $ 9.64 per month.
Companies and commercial customers will pay an amount based on their consumption during the freezing period. Customers are not expected to see an increase until fall. The monthly cost to the city coffers on the interest-free loan is around $ 12,000, which would be manageable, Avery told the six-member council.
In other areas, members:
• Heard from Ron Reed, a Houston resident who was previously the city’s director of economic development. He asked the city – through its industrial development authority – to retain properties in its Houston Industrial Park on West Highway 17 and in another undeveloped industrial park east of the Fairgrounds. the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce. A consultant, Reed said he has taken a lead tour before and found both areas in need of attention.
• Honored three people who helped save a child in June after a near-drowning at the Houston municipal swimming pool. Plaques and gifts were represented by Mayor Willy Walker to Alexis Kelly, a child who alerted to the problem; Sheldon Starr, a lifeguard; and Veronica Douglas, the victim’s aunt. An investigative report is expected to be released shortly into the incident which was led by Lt. Mathew Woodmansee of the Houston Police Department.
• Transfer funds from the expiring CD to the West Plains Bank branch in Houston after a rate solicitation. The total is $ 300,000 – three CDs totaling $ 100,000 each. Going forward, the city will adopt a phased expiration policy for CDs. The plan calls for the creation of 33 that would expire at different times and give the city access to capital, if needed.
• I learned that a public meeting is scheduled for August 2 at 6:00 pm to receive comments on a revamped planning and zoning document for the city. The project included the Houston Planning and Zoning Commission. Final adoption is tentatively set for August 16.
• Heard a request for council to submit road repair priorities. The city acquired its own paving equipment earlier. The first targeted area is Rutherford Park.
• I learned that a golf tournament organized by the mayor over the weekend raised nearly $ 3,000 for Fostering by Faith, a charity that benefits foster children and is located on Walnut Street across from the Rural Fire Station. It is a shop that gives foster children free access to clothes and other household items.
• Heard that downtown Houston is being targeted for a new paint job for parking lots and curbs and that hookups in and around Oak Hill Drive are continuing for the new Broadband Internet System. the city.