The City of Houston will review its utility deposit practices, the Houston City Council decided Monday.
The discussion was sparked, said City Administrator Larry Sutton, by a need to decrease losses from customers’ unpaid utility bills. Some leave without paying, and the deposit on the books is not large enough to cover the loss, he said. That’s particularly true of rental customers, Sutton said.
The city also is discussing ramping up its delinquents that are turned over to a collection agency. Currently that occurs quarterly. To improve collection possibilities that will convert to a monthly schedule, he said.
City Attorney Brad Eidson will prepare a document to reflect new deposit rates and other procedures.
In other matters, members:
—Decided that the council’s police and fire committee should meet with Fire Chief Don Rust to develop a plan to recruit more volunteers for the city’s fire departments. The head count has declined, and the council would like to see strength numbers increased.
—Heard a “clean” report on the city’s finances following its annual audit by Davis, Lynn, Moots PC of Springfield. Auditors were complimentary of the city’s financial systems, and its administration of grant funding received by the local government.
—Heard Mayor Don Tottingham make reappointments to city offices. Named are: Larry Sutton, city administrator; Don Rust, fire chief; Jim McNiell, police chief; Tonya Foster, city clerk; John Garrabrant, city judge; Bruce Wilson, city treasurer; and Art Thomas, emergency management director.
Dennis Maxwell will replace Mike Wise on the city’s board of adjustment.
—Learned members of the council’s airport committee will develop new ordinances governing the Houston Memorial Airport and hangars. New structures will soon be constructed by a Fulton firm when weather conditions clear. Sutton said he’s encouraged by demand for new hangars. The project is paid primarily through Federal Aviation Administration monies administered by MoDOT.
—Heard concerns about water runoff on Wyn Drive.
—Discussed water connection issues that need to be addressed in planning and zoning documents, including the use of water line loops that do not dead-end on properties.