Council approves utility rate hike for streets

Unanimously agreed upon by members of the Brady City Council, the proposed 2.50 percent surcharge to be applied to all city utility bills for the purpose of offsetting future street repairs was increased to 2.81 percent Wednesday morning. The increase came when the Council approved the second reading of the ordinance adopting the proposed fiscal year budget for 2001-2002. According to City Manager Merle Taylor, the increase is a result of contract changes between the city and its heavy industrial gas customers. The item was first brought to the public during the July 3 meeting when the City Council gave audience members a chance to discuss the proposed budget. Through several workshops, a projected grand total of expenses for the upcoming fiscal year was narrowed down to $13,440,118. Within that dollar amount, the city has budgeted $2 million for street repairs. To offset the cost of street repairs, the City has added a 2.81 percent surcharge to all utility bills (both industrial and residential). The surcharge will be applied to all utility bills for the next 20 years and removed when the obligation is paid in full. Applied to the total bill, a customer who receives a bill for $100 will see $2.81 added to that bill as a result of the surchage. When the item was approved on the first reading, Councilman Matt Mills stated that the note will be applied without a pre-payment penalty, ensuring that in the event that the city has an opportunity to pay off the note in advance, no penalty will be issued. Certain specifications set forth in the plan prohibits the surcharge from being applied after the 20-year period. In a separate but similar item concerning the city’s budget, the Council voted to amend the current year’s budget (fiscal year 2000-2001). Approved on the second reading, the ordinance to amend the budget is required because of the refurbishment project at the old McCulloch Electric Co-op. Upon completion, the building will house three city departments. In another ordinance item, the Council approved the third and final reading of an ordinance amending certain provisions of Ordinance No. 735 and Ordinance No. 742 regulating industrial and commercial gas rates. Heavy industrial gas users (such as Borden, Inc. and Oglebay Norton Industrial Sands, Inc.) and the city have agreed upon a gas transmission charge. The agreed upon rate is $ .55 per MCF (thousand cubic feet) with a CPI (consumer price index) on a 12 month average. Another item before the Council for a final reading was an ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 720 which provides for the consolidation of the fire department, volunteer fire department and the emergency medical service. Ordinance No. 720 conflicts with certain criteria set forth in the City Charter. The charter states that a separate supervisor is needed for each department while the ordinance called for one supervisor over all three departments. The item was one of the many items recommended for repeal by the Charter Review Committee. In other business, the Council approved the third and final reading of an ordinance authorizing and allowing TMRS updated service credits. A request to rezone Block 6, Spiller Addition (also known as 106 East 16th Street) from Type A’residential to Type D’commercial for the purpose of a beauty salon won the Council’s approval on the first reading. According to Councilman Jesse McAnally, all residents within a 200 foot radius of the property were notified by mail of the request to rezone. With no one opposed, the item first received an approval from the zoning committee before going to the City Council. A portion of that particular block is already spot zoned commercial and upon the third and final approval of the ordinance, the entire block will be zoned as a commercial district. The request from J. Michael Howell to purchase a 30-foot path west of 127 Lakeview was denied by the Council because the area requested is a designated drainage strip and according to City Manager Merle Taylor, if the property is sold and at some point the city chose to retrieve it, it might be a difficult transaction. A resolution adopting the City of Brady Water Conservation and Drouth Contingency Plan was approved in Wednesday’s meeting. Adopting the policy is a requirement set forth by the Texas Water Development Board. “We need to take steps to conserve water,” said Mayor Clarence Friar. “We’re expected or asked to do that by the water board. It’s alright to use it, but we need to know where it goes. According to Taylor, the Brady Municipal Swimming Pool loses approximately 5,000 gallons of water per day. Also, a resolution authorizing the financing of an incode system for City Hall was approved. After reviewing proposals from three different lenders, the Council agreed to go with the financial proposal submitted by Commercial National Bank for the incode system. The new system will cost the city approximately $162,000 and will include both hardware and software and installation and training. The loan will be paid over a five year period at 5.5 percent interest. In a late breaking addendum to the agenda, the Council agreed to enter a temporary user agreement between the City and Carthan Aviation Services. Carthan Aviation Services has requested a user agreement similar to the one currently in effect between the city and Texas AeroColor. According to Taylor, Texas AeroColor anticipates moving into Hangar C at Curtis Field sometime in early August which coincidentally is around the same time that Carthen Aviation Services plans to make the move to Brady. The Council voted to approve the request and will have a contract similar the one with Texas AeroColor drawn up. The agreement is subject to a terminated lease agreement with Texas AeroColor and changes to certain criteria in the contract (changed from stripping and painting airplanes only to reconditioning and refurbishing aircraft only). Also, it was recommended that the agreement be set up on a 12-month lease as opposed to a six-month lease. “This is a great opportunity for us,” said Mayor Friar. “We want to bring jobs to town, and these are the types of good paying jobs that we like to bring to Brady.”

Leave a Comment