A dump truck unloads a batch of hot asphalt into a paving machine as crews work last week on Airport Road as part of the City of Houston's annual road improvement program.

Members of the Houston City Council received an update Monday on a recently completed asphalt overlay program.

Several streets were targeted last week under the annual program, reported Public Works Director Joe Kirkman, who praised the contractor, Willard Asphalt Paving Inc., a Lebanon firm. Kirkman said the work was excellent.

In another street matter, Kirkman explained to the council that a one-quarter-cent sales tax that allows for the work will soon need renewal. He said over the last 20-25 years the tax has allowed Houston to have some of the nicest streets in the region. He recommended the council place the issue on the November ballot. “Without the tax, we wouldn’t be able to do it,” he said.

Dr. Allen Moss, superintendent of the Houston School District, sought the council’s input on a proposed purchase on Pine Street that would turn property into a parking lot to accommodate about 60 vehicles. The tract at 220 W. Pine and across the street from the Hiett Gymnasium parking lot  —has served as housing and space for businesses over the years — may be purchased by the school district. It is owned by the Adey family.

The city will discuss the matter further. A change of zoning or a variance may be required.


Members of the Houston City Council. 

In other matters, members:

•Heard Economic Development Director Rob Harrington give an update on a labor study under way  in the community. The report — due by the end of August — will give a glimpse of the needs in the community. Some surveying has been done, and more interaction with business proprietors is required. It’s the second visit to the community. The consultant for the project praised the city’s infrastructure and emergency services. He also highlighted projects that will attract persons to the community — including new facilities planned at the Houston School District, including a gymnasium.

Harrington also updated the six-member council on a housing study that will recommend areas that need focus.

•Passed a resolution that outlines the city’s responsibilities related to disasters and allows Houston to receive federal aid.

•Acknowledged a letter from the Don Tottingham family thanking for courtesies from the city and its workforce following the passing of the former mayor.

•Heard that the city is reviewing how other communities handle building codes. Houston has none. A copy of Seymour’s ordinance is under review. Salem also has building codes. Inspections could be performed by the fire chief or some other city employee, if the city chooses to adopt codes.

•Heard that a small section of pavement on the Houston Memorial Airport runway needs repairs, but won’t require closure.

•Discussed improving audio at the council’s chambers, where it is sometimes difficult to hear.

•Held a hearing before the meeting to set the tax levy that will be collected in the fall. The rate is .3163 cents per $100 assessed valuation. The figure last year was .3202.



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