Crockett council approves 10% increase for garbage collection
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones Editor-in-Chief The cost of living is going up in the City of Crockett. Garbage collection rates, property tax rate and bulk water sales are all increasing. Crockett residents will see a 10 percent rate increase for garbage collection on their next water bill as a result of the action taken by the Crockett City Council during its meeting Monday, Sept. 3. The vote was 4-1, with Precinct 3 Councilman Larry Robbins voting against the rate increase. The new rate for residential garbage collection is $18.70 per month. The rate for commercial garbage collection will be a minimum of $30.25 per month, except for dumpsters. The dumpster rate also increased. The monthly charge for pickup service of commercial containers is now $62.35 for one two-cubic yard container, $104.05 for one four-cubic yard container and $141.90 for one six-cubic yard container. The rental charge for roll-off container service (20-cubic yards) is increased to $470 per container load. The council voted 4-1 to approve the property tax rate of $.52109 on each $100 valuation of property. Of that amount, $.37354 on each $100 valuation of property is dedicated to the maintenance and support of the general government (M&O tax – general fund), and $.14755 on each $100 valuation of property is dedicated to the Interest and Sinking fund (I&S). Precinct 1 Councilman Chris Gunnels voted against the tax rate. The council voted unanimously to approve a rate increase for the sale of bulk water. The new basic service charge is $100 and an additional $9.50 per 1,000 gallons. The mayor commented that he nor the members of council receive any discounts on water, garbage or tax rates. In other action, the council unanimously voted to approve amendments to the 2012 budget. City Administrator Ron Duncan reported general fund revenues are up overall, including sales tax, hotel/motel taxes, permits and fees, as well as power and light franchise funds. The city also anticipates receiving of $25,000 before the end of the month from Union Pacific Railroad due to the closure of the Young St. crossing. He further noted the water and sewer revenues were revised to reflect a decrease. He said there was a large meter reading problem in July. Also, the Texas Parks and Wildlife grant project still is not approved. Expenditures that required adjustments include materials, supplies, maintenance and repair of the city pool; unused vacation pay for now retired Police Chief Jimmy Fisher and staffing increases in the police department; materials, supplies, tools and equipment for the mechanic shop; and repairs to the air conditioning system and replacement of auditorium doors at the Crockett Civic Center. There were expenses in the fire department, with the largest being the additional equipment purchased using funds reimbursed by FEMA and the Texas Forest Service due to last year’s fire season. Duncan also noted an adjustment to the water and sewer department. He reported several major assembly failures during the year that resulted in high maintenance and repairs of equipment. “However, overall, our expenses are expected in line with our revenues for the year,” Duncan asserted. Other business completed by the council included unanimously voting to allow the temporary closing of Camp Street from the south side of East Goliad to 215 South 3rd St. (Camp St.) from 6 - 12 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21. The closing was requested by P. J. Lucas who will hold a grand opening for her new outdoor eatery and entertainment venue at 207 South 3rd St. (Camp St.) on Sept. 21. Her request states she does not have a Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) permit and the venue will be BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle). She also indicated she will hire security through an off-duty Crockett police officer. She will have live entertainment at the grand opening event. The council additionally approved a resolution and agreement with the Texas Department of Public Safety for the temporary closure of state highways around the one-way square in Crockett from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 for the purpose of Christmas in Crockett. Changes also were made to the Crockett City Code regarding actions by the Building and Standards Commission, pertaining to the demolition of substandard structures, deadlines to comply with orders from the commission and clarifying property owners have the right to appeal decisions to the district court. Crockett business owner Sandra Deckard appeared regarding the recently approved peddlers’ ordinance. Mask said he has spoken with the city attorney, and the city attorney advised the ordinance was clear. Deckard contended it contains flaws and requested a private meeting with Mask to discuss the matter further. Mask agreed, telling Deckard to call and make an appointment. The meeting was adjourned after 30 minutes.