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City Council Approves Ordinance for Street Maintenance Fees to Be Added to Water Bills

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After approximately 20 minutes of discussion and answering questions by one local resident, the Sulphur Springs City Council approved on second reading a Street Maintenance Fee Ordnance that will add additional funds to the Street Paving Project and sets up a separate designated account for the funds. Sulphur Springs City Council met in regular session Tuesday evening in Council Chambers. The Street Maintenance Fee Ordinance was not the only item on the agenda but did consume more time than any other subject.

The fees set by council to be applied to water bills in the city will be $5 for residential and $5 for multifamily, $12.50 for commercial, and $30 for industrial. The original motion for approval would have contained lower fees for multifamily and industrial. However, a substitute motion that would have increased fees to $10 for residential and multifamily was defeated 2-4 by vote of council. The fees set were a second amendment to the original motion passed 5-2 with Jimmy Lucas, who wanted to retain the original fee scale, and Doug Moore, who had offered the first amendment for the higher fees, voting against. Voting on the motion as amended the council again voted 5-2. 

During conversation a local citizen asked several questions regarding the designation of the funds and the manner in which accountability would made for the use of the fees. The ordinance calls for a designated account for the fees to be deposited to with the fees only used to purchase materials and pay for work performed.  It was also noted that the council can revisit the ordinance and change fee scales and rates at any time. 

In other action, the council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance expanding the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction of the city to include the property once used as a mining operation by Luminant. The property is being given to the city by Luminant.

The council approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the Code of Ordinances for the city updating the building codes, electrical code and the property maintenance code. The city council revisits the codes every three years to update.

Revisiting the adoption of a Tax Abatement/Rebate Policy first considered in the November regular session, council determined to not set a specific policy but to allow negotiations with each prospective industry and business that would seek tax abatement or rebates on taxes. Industries considering a prospective location often seek the abatements or rebates based on number of people they will employ and other considerations. City Manager Marc Maxwell noted that rebates are often better than abatements. He said the rebates cause the industry to provide needed accountability in a more timely manner. He said each industry or business should be considered based on what they bring to the city.

The city will abate the burned out house at 917 Church Street. The property was deemed dangerous. The vacated building has been a concern for residents neighboring the property. The city will place a lien on the property to recover costs of demolition.

A public hearing will be conducted January 8 and January 9, 2019 regarding the annexation of Pioneer Business Park and Heritage Business Park and certain adjacent parcels to both. Prior to setting the public hearings, the council voted to not propose to annex any property or territory that is required to offer a development agreement. 

City Manager Maxwell was authorized as the signatory for documents regarding the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality water rights permit application. The act will allow the manager to move forward with documents that allow the city to receive the Luminant property which contains approximately 20 ponds or lakes on the property. 

The council also voted to move their January regular session from January 1 to January 8, 2019.  

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Author: Staff Reporter

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