Katy City Council approves Nov. 3 election, tax process and fire department agreements

By R. Hans Miller | Times News Editor
Posted 8/10/20

Katy City Council voted to approve a Nov. 3 election at the governing body’s Aug. 10 meeting which was held at 4 p.m. via virtual conferencing. Council members also approved a new process to …

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Katy City Council approves Nov. 3 election, tax process and fire department agreements

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Katy City Council voted to approve a Nov. 3 election at the governing body’s Aug. 10 meeting which was held at 4 p.m. via virtual conferencing. Council members also approved a new process to calculate the city’s tax rate and for city staff to move forward in seeking funding for coronavirus relief.

Election

The Nov. 3 election will replace the election that was supposed to have taken place in May but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The At Large, Ward A and Ward B seats are set to appear on the ballot, though the At Large position was effectively won by Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris already as no challengers stepped forward to take his seat.

In contrast to Harris’ uncontested run, Ward B has four candidates vying for a seat at the dais. Incumbent Durran Dowdle will face Sam Pearson, Steve Pierson and Rory Robertson in a four-way election for the Ward B seat. Diane Walker and Dharminder Dargan are running against incumbent Janet Corte for the Ward A seat.

Property taxes and finances

The council acted to adopt a new method for calculating the property tax rate for the year in what the Katy Director of Finance Andrew Vasquez said was a procedural change in the way rates are calculated that could lead to a small decrease in the tax rate. The change comes about after Senate Bill 2 became law during the last session of the state legislature.

“This is a change in the factors of the calculation, so what used to be called the roll back tax rate, and this is basically the same,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez explained that, under the new calculation which factors in total property value in the city, the city’s population and the city’s current budget, the city could potentially decrease its tax rate by about 3% this year, though details have not been finalized and there are other factors that would need to be examined. If the city moves to raise taxes, an tax rate election may be necessary under the new law.

The city also agreed to enter into an agreement to help obtain coronavirus relief funding. At about $55 per person, the city could obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist with economic relief and recover of the city from the COVID-19 pandemic, city staff said.

 Fire matters

Multiple contracts were awarded relating to operations at the fire department.

A contract for about $7,300 was awarded to Stryker, a company out of Portage, Mich. For repair and maintenance of a variety of department equipment. Equipment included consists of stretchers, manual cots, stair chairs and power-load systems for ambulances according to a memo from Fire Chief Rusty Wilson.

Another maintenance agreement with Municipal Emergency Services out of Houston will provide maintenance for firefighters safety masks. The contract includes annual servicing, flow testing, hydrostatic testing and fit testing. Warranty and non-warranty repairs are not covered under the contract.

Finally, Council approved an agreement with Blinn College to provide training to students at the educational institution on an ongoing basis. According to the agreement, the city will provide Blinn students who are also KFD staff to complete their hands-on experiences  

Correction: Sam Pearson's name was spelled incorrectly in an earlier version of this story due to a typo. 

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