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City Council Approve Rate Increases, Drainage Repair for Issues at Pacific Park

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In the city of Sulphur Springs, water rates will increase 2%, sewer rates will increase 2%, and sanitation rates will increase 2.25% following the unanimous vote of the Sulphur Springs City Council during their September 4th regular session.

A budget amendment for Fiscal Year 2018 and the appropriations for Fiscal Year-2019, which included salary increases for the two municipal judges and city secretary, were approved with only one opposing vote on each of the two items.

Atmos bills in the city will see an average $1.06 increase. The rate was reached in a negotiated settlement by the 170 cities, including Sulphur Springs, who are members of a steering committee that negotiates rates.

Council amended the Capital Improvement plan for 2019-2023 to include drainage issues in Pacific Park. The partial collapse of a storm drain that ran under the railroad track near Carter and MLK motivated the action. Flooding in the area made streets virtually impassable during heavy rains. The 470ft of drainage from Carter to Lamar that will reroute the runoff away from the railroad tracks will cost $85,000. The cost will impact the Summer Paving Program for the city. One paving project will be removed to fund the drainage. Currently, the city has 35 drainage problems according to City Manager Marc Maxwell. Maxwell stated that it may be time to think about adding a drainage fee of $1 on water bills to fund drainage improvements.

A Charter Review Committee was appointed. City Councilman Jimmy Lucas, Mayor John Sellers, City Manager Maxwell, City Attorney Jim McElroy will serve with appointed members of the committee: Tyler Law, Jay Julien, Thomas Harrison, Will Longino, Dr. Scott McDearmont, Larry Powers, Bill Watts, and Kayla Price Mitchell.

The Economic Development Budget for fiscal year 2019 will be $1,800,000 following approval by the council.

Two zoning changes were approved on first reading. Property at 435 Connally will be zoned single family attached. This will allow building attached housing units with yard space between houses. The cost of the houses will be between $125,000 and $180,000. Property at 1332 South Hillcrest will be zoned light commercial allowing the 3 acres near Rockdale Road to be used for office and retail space.

The council also approved an update for service credits which increases the value of employee retirement benefits.

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Author: Staff Reporter

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