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Huntsville City Hall Updates

Recent Huntsville City Council Actions


 

  • New Solid Waste Collection Fees – The Council approved the following new or increased fees for solid waste collection:
    • New $25 trip charge for residential heavy trash pickup.
    • Increase of $1 per month for regular solid waste pickup, a 5% increase.
    • 3% increase on commercial service.
    • 25% increase on TDCJ and SHSU tonnage
    • 25% increase on out-of-city solid waste

The motion to increase these fees was approved 8-1 with Councilmember Allen voting No.

  •  Yard Waste Collection Containers – The plastic garbage bags that most people used for the every other Wednesday collection of yard waste is no longer acceptable. The City now requires compostable containers, such as paper bags, or personal containers not provided by the City. The City claims that this will allow the City to dispose of this waste at a cost of $10.00 per ton as opposed to the current cost of $17 per ton. However, an estimate of the actual savings from this change was not provided.
  •   Solid Waste Transfer Station Contracts – Council authorized the City Manager to sign the initial contracts to get the new Solid Waste Transfer Station design, permitting and construction planning underway.
  • Possible New City Buildings – In a split 7-2 vote Council approved a contract with a consulting architect for a preliminary study of four existing City buildings – City Hall, the Service Center on Hwy 75 North, the Police Station on 11th Street and the Fire Station on South Sam Houston Avenue. The basic question to be considered is whether or not these facilities should be retained as is, individually upgraded or replaced, or combined in some fashion. Study cost is estimated at $70,000.
  • Street Condition Assessment – After considerable discussion, Council voted to hire a consulting firm to assess the condition of Huntsville’s streets including those operated and maintained by the State. The City Manager believes that a scientific study by an independent professional firm will put the City in a better position to negotiate improvements to state controlled right-of ways with TxDOT than would be the case if the study were done in-house. Cost is estimated at $94,000.
  • Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection Systems Assessments – Also after considerable debate, the Council voted to hire a consulting firm to provide an assessment of both the City’s water distribution system and its wastewater collection system. Councilmembers Brauninger and Allen challenged both the amount of money the Council was spending on consultants and the approach it was taking to all of the different studies and moved to temporarily defer this $604,000 item to the budget deliberations this fall. That motion failed 5-3 with Councilmembers Allen, Brauninger and Rodriquez voting to defer and Mayor Woodward and Councilmembers Emmett, Olson, Montgomery and Humphrey voting to proceed with the study now.
  • Crosswalk on Bobby K. Marks Drive – Council authorized the City Manager to enter into an Interlocal Agreement with SHSU to provide a crosswalk on Bobby K. Marks Drive on the SHSU Campus. This joint project is estimated to cost $120,000 with each entity providing roughly half of the funding.
  • Old Colony Road Sewer Extension Project – Council approved a proposal to award a construction contract to the low bidder to continue an extensive sewer project in the Northeast part of the City. Bids ranged from $1.35 Million to $3.38 Million with 5-T Utilities, Inc. of Huntsville submitting the low bid.
  • Avenue M and Normal Park Drive Waterline replacement projects – Council approved a proposed contract for initial design and engineering services for two separate waterline replacement projects, one along Avenue M from 11th St. to FM2821 and the other along Normal Park from Avenue S to 19th St. Total design and construction costs for these two projects is estimated at roughly $1.1 Million. This portion would be $113,750 of that amount.
  • Daisy Lane Sanitary Sewer Line Extension – Council approved a request from Davis Construction Co. for the City to pay half the cost of extending an existing sewer line along Daisy Lane to Davis owned property just across from the Fire Station. The City’s half of the proposed cost would be $2,162.50. The property will become the location of an operations center for Centerpoint Energy.
  • Ryan’s Ferry Road Waterline Extension – This was a request for a waterline extension in the 500 block of Ryan’s Ferry Road to property owned by Don Matthews. The city’s 50% share of the cost would be $7,237.50. Council agreed to consider a Developer Agreement with Mr. Matthews for this project.
  • BOT-TDCJ Sewer Extension Project – Council approved a proposal to award the Construction Contract for a new 1.45 mile sewer line from the old Brown Oil Tool, now TDCJ, complex on I-45 North to the McGary Creek Lift Station just southwest of the Brookview subdivision. Cost is estimated at $543,000. The City claims that this new sewer line will provide better service to TDCJ, eliminate the TDCJ lift station and support development in the surrounding Gibbs Ranch and 75N areas.
  • Personnel Policies and Procedures – Currently the City’s Policies and Procedures Manual is under the control of the City Council. But City Manager Matt Benoit reported that the document is out of date and actual practices have deviated from the written policy. He proposed that he be allowed to change the document subject to providing the Council with written notice of proposed changes. Councilmembers would then have ten business days to object to the proposed change in which case the item would be placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting.
  • Revise Development Code to Provide City Council with Subdivision Plat Approval Authority – This is a discussion item only at this time, but a possible Development Code Change is seriously being considered.  Currently the authority to approve these Plats including variances resides with the Planning and Zoning Commission, but the recent Grand Ranch Case has raised the question of whether that is the right level. In some cases, there can be serious and potentially costly implications arising from these decisions.
  • Manufacturing Plant – In December the Council approved awarding a $650,000 incentive package to a Conroe Company to encourage them to locate a large fiberglass tank manufacturing plant here in the City. In February it was mentioned at a Council meeting that the company had decided not to locate in Huntsville. A follow up Huntsville Item article quoted a Company official as saying that “permitting and air regulations were a little more difficult than we had hoped.”

 

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