Katy City Council hears update on community improvements, discusses capital improvements fund

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 10/12/20

Katy City Council received an update on a beautification project along Hwy. 90 in downtown Katy and had a somewhat heated discussion about the possible creation of a capital improvement project fund …

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Katy City Council hears update on community improvements, discusses capital improvements fund

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Katy City Council received an update on a beautification project along Hwy. 90 in downtown Katy and had a somewhat heated discussion about the possible creation of a capital improvement project fund of about $2 million.

The debate among the council members regarding the capital improvement fund stemmed from procedural steps to have the item added to the council’s agenda and what appeared to be a lack of understanding of how the fund would be set up.

Generally, a capital improvement project fund is a budget set up to pay for a short term plan – relative to a government body’s budgeting cycle – that allows various projects that are too large for a regular budget but too small for a bond package to be paid for out of a coffer aside from the municipality’s general fund. Confusion seemed to stem from whether each department within the city would have its own capital improvement project fund or whether there would be a centralized fund for all city departments.

Repairs to the city’s fire station on Avenue D would be one item such a fund could be used for, City Finance Director Andrew Vasquez said.

The fire station is currently not suitable for use due to a mold infestation which puts firefighters’ and EMT’s health at risk. Crews are currently stationed at the Fussell Senior Center a few blocks away from the station.

After a motion by Council Member Frank Carroll III to suspend rules related to the process for getting an item on the agenda and verification that such an action was allowed, council members discussed the issue and agreed to a workshop to determine what implementation of a capital improvement project fund might look like, Carroll tagged the agenda item – another procedural move that bumps the item to the next city council meeting.

Jess Washburn, the city’s affiliate coordinator for Keep Katy Beautiful, gave an update on the project to beautify the right of way on Hwy. 90 near the intersection with avenues A and B. The $180,000 project is being paid for by the state and is awarded based on the city’s efforts to maintain its appearance.

As part of the project, a monument sign will be installed in the right of way on the north side of the road along with geese statues similar to those installed near I-10 at Hwy. 90, continuing the aesthetic into town, Washburn said. Pavers and signage will generally be set up to match that being installed near the city’s Katy Boardwalk Project.

Crepe Myrtles and Live Oaks as well as other native flora will be used as much as possible in the landscaping, Washburn added.

The project began at the beginning of October and is expected to have a 100-day completion timeframe, Washburn said. That puts the completion date in January or February of 2021, barring construction delays.

Washburn said the city has won the grant that is paying for the improvements to the city’s appearance five times and she credited the Keep Katy Beautiful group as well as city residents for the city’s continued performance in maintaining its appearance and heritage.

“It’s not just about what (Keep Katy Beautiful) does, it’s about what the community does,” Washburn said.

The council also:

  • Approved the city’s 2021 holiday schedule.
  • Approved a six-month extendsion for the final plat of Cane Island Pond O.
  • Appointed Bill Abbott, Dusty Thiele and Ronnie Parent to the Village at katy Development District board of directors.
  • Authorized the mayor to sign a right of way license agreement with the Lilac Bend subdivision to install an electrical crossing in the city’s right of way.
  • Approved the closure of the Katy ISD FFA parade route this coming Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Set restrictions for election signage near polling places effective January 2021.
  • Created a charter review commission and appointing Jo Ann Tilton, Dan D. Burris, Otis M. Sadler, Shari Boothe and former mayor J.W. “Skip” Conner as commissioners.

The next Katy City Council meeting is set for Oct. 26.

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