Members of the Houston City Council met Monday night to discuss a variety of topics, including equipment purchases and a local housing project.
•Tabled until its March 20 meeting consideration of phase two and three of a project that involves housing at Hawthorn Avenue and King Street on 4.25 areas. Developer Scott Lauderdale appeared at the meeting and said he had abided by all the requirements that the city had since discussions began about four years ago. A 3-3 vote resulted in a tie to proceed with the additional phases. (Kevin Stilley, Sam Kelley and Michael Weakly voting yes). Others on the council expressed an interest to view plan drawings that were delivered to city hall last week. No one voiced opposition, but wanted to ensure that rules on the books are followed and to seek administration input. City Administrator Mark Campbell could not attend the meeting due to illness.
At the last meeting, some nearby homeowners expressed concerns, including about safety, parking and potential water drainage issues.
•Will discuss a contract with the chamber of commerce at its next meeting and whether it wants a seat on the chamber board. Kristie Miller, treasurer, and her husband, Rustin, a board member, met with the council. The city gives the chamber a monthly stipend of $500 and assists financially with the annual fireworks show. A council utility committee also will meet to study utility costs incurred by the chamber at the city’s Highway F and Oak Hill Drive building amid a revenue crunch experienced by the organization, which does not have a director.
•Renewed an existing program that offers incentives for new construction and multi-family housing. The payment is $3 per square foot with a cap of $7,000. In 2023, $42,000 is allocated in the budget.
•Referred a mower bid to the council’s street committee, who will meet with the department head, to recommend a purchase.
•Tabled the purchase of a trencher until the next meeting so it could determine the source of the city funding. The equipment will be used by city departments and is seen as a vital tool for installation of the city’s fiber for internet. The city is trading in a piece of equipment as part of the deal.
•Received no expected veto message from the mayor after a majority of the board voted earlier that it intended all employees to receive a cost-of-living increase, including the city attorney. Mayor Willy Walker did not attend the meeting and Don Romines, mayor pro tem, presided.
•Tabled until the March 20 meeting any discussion of the mayor’s move to impeach Alderman Romines.
•Approved a document that allows nearby property owner Ken Lawson access to city property to maintain its appearance and handles the issue of liability if any damage to utilities occurs.