While not leading the agenda chronologically, water and a possible reuse plant were front and center again at Tuesday’s meeting of the Brownwood City Council.
City Manager Bobby Rountree reminded everyone that the city is still under Stage 3 water restrictions and then turned his attention to the reuse facility.
“I think is timely that we do discuss the reuse facility again,” he said. “We have until May 27 to call for a notice to publish and issue the bonds that we received from the Texas Water Development Board for this particular project.”
Rountree said that virtually all cities in the state have similar issues and it is important that Brownwood stay ahead of the situation.
“The well water is shallow, the deep water is difficult to treat and expensive to treat,” he said. “We are going to have to make some decisions soon regarding our reuse facility. If you are a city in the state of Texas and you don’t have water, you are not going to grow and economic development is not going to come your way.”
He also stressed that adequate water is necessary to keep existing industry.
“If were going to have economic growth, if were going support our industry, if we are going to have a future for water, we have got to do something,” Rountree said. “We’ve got to make a move. We need to have a solution of some kind.
“We don’t want to fall back to 2011 when some of our industries were considering trucking in water.”
Nancy Byler with the Texas Silver Haired Legislature addressed the Council requesting a property tax freeze for seniors 65 years old and for the disabled.
“Taxes for those 65 and older and/or disabled have been frozen in 119 cities, 73 counties and 15 junior college districts,” she told the Council. “In our area, Lampasas, Coleman, Runnels, Taylor and Callahan Counties have voted to freeze taxes. Some cities in our area including Albany, Clyde, Fredricksburg, Granbury, Gatesville, San Angelo and Miles have chosen to freeze taxes.”
After her presentation, Byler was asked by Mayor Stephen Haynes what her timetable was and said that the city would like to address the request during its June or July budgeting process in order to assess the economic impact. Byner said that was fine, but other cities have found the economic impact insignificant.
The Council also voted to put eyes and ears on the ground in Austin for the 2015 legislative session. It voted to hire Bob Turner of Rural Issues Consultant to represent the interests of the area.
The term of the contract would be from July 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2015. The cost to the city will be $7,600 and will be in concert with Brown County, the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce, the city of Early and the Brownwood Economic Development Corporation. Each party will share equally in the cost of the consulting service for a total contract cost of $38,000.
In other action, the Council:
Administered the Oath of Office and Law Enforcement Oath of Honor to newly hired police officer Paul Chrisman.
Issued proclamations noting Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, Safe Digging Month, Work Zone Awareness Week and Public Safety Communications Week.
Appointed Dr. Eric Wiley to the Airport Board.