The Houston City Council met Monday night at Houston City Hall to consider the 2019 budget.

The City of Houston has won a grant to reduce the amount of water runoff that makes its way into the community’s sewer system.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ $50,000 outlay will aid the city in making improvements in its system. The city’s share is about $12,000. An engineering firm — Trekk of Springfield  — has been hired.

The Houston City Council heard the news during a meeting Monday night at Houston City Council.

Members also heard from a Houston Development Co. (HDC) delegation that entertained any questions the council had on an earlier proposal for the city to sponsor a federal Economic Development Industry application and purchase two, five-acre lots at the Northeast Industrial Park behind the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Fairgrounds. The council adjourned into a closed session after its regular meeting to discuss it.

Northeast Industrial Park

The Northeast Industrial Park is situated off North U.S. 63 east of the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Fairgrounds.

The HDC application is key to recruitment of a business to former quarters once occupied by Air Evac in a building off Spruce Street. The land acquisition would aid HDC’s cash flow to service debt. Ultimately, the organization hopes to disband, donate its assets to the city and industrial development efforts would be overseen by the city’s Industrial Development Authority. It has a long history of service to the community, including bringing the Durham Co. to the community.

In the closed session, the city offered the appraised amount or $9,000 an acre for five acres —  whichever is less — on the north most lot. It declined to purchase both lots, which the HDC requested.

In other matters, members:

—Discussed a regional effort to put an April 3 ballot issue before voters to capture sales tax from internet sales that aren’t taxed. Smarting from a decline in revenue, leaders in Mountain View, Mountain Grove, Cabool, Willow Springs and West Plains are studying the effort to stem the loss of sales tax revenue.

—Okayed a rezoning for property southeast of Sonic to residential to highway business district.

—Discussed implementation of a Clear Air Act that would remove smoking and vamping at public spaces. No decision was made and a public hearing will be held in early 2018.

—Reaffirmed the city’s policy of bringing its utilities to a developer’s property line in a timely manner for voluntary annexations.

—Authorized $50 as a Christmas gift for hourly employees and other support staff, such as reserve officers and janitorial. The council will not receive a gratuity.

—Heard that a water tank at the Houston Industrial Park has been drained and cleaned.

—Learned that the city has received its first reimbursement on storm aid. About $4,000 in State Emergency Management Administration funding was received for debris removal earlier this year after a storm.

—Heard City Administrator Tona Bowen report progress on the city’s budget for 2018.

—Adjourned into a closed session to discuss an employment matter that will be released on Friday.

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