Council reviews city ordinances

The Italy City Council met for a called meeting Tuesday evening to discuss various ordinances.

Water ordinance

The first ordinance discussed was the water deposit for both residential and commercial customers.

Chris Metz, public works director, said due to the economy, he feels the recently increased prices may not be fair to everybody. He said the purpose of the recently passed ordinance was to recoup money lost by those who skip town while still owing a water bill. The current resident water deposit is $300. He proposed that deposit change to $175. That would cover the cost of a water bill plus late fees.

He said the city could lose as much as $300 to $400 if a commercial business closes and the owners skip town. He suggested the deposit be adjusted to $275 for customers with a 3/4’’ meter, $325 for customers with a 1" meter, $375 for a 1-1/2" meter; $425 for a 2’ meter. A meter larger than 2" would require a $1,500 deposit.

Council member Rodney Guthrie said the council does not want to stop someone from coming into the city due to the cost.

Council members discussed late fees and reconnect fees at length. Metz suggested a $25 late fee and a $25 reconnect fee if the water bill if not paid before the 25th of the month.

Metz said he had issues with customers coming in just before closing time and expecting the city crew to turn the water back on after 5 p.m.

Grease trap ordinance

The council looked over an ordinance regarding restaurant grease traps.

Metz said the state requirements do not allow restaurants to be “grandfathered.” They must all be in compliance once the council passes the ordinance.

Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, said the council could adopt the ordinance at the December meeting with an effective date beginning Jan. 1, 2009. Restaurants would have six months to comply with the ordinance.

Vicious animal ordinance

Murdock said C.V. Johns, police chief, brought a vicious animal ordinance for council members to discuss.

There is a current animal ordinance in place. Murdock will compare the two and compare how the two differ before bringing it back to the council.

Peddlers and street vendor ordinance

Guthrie said he thought a peddler’s ordinance was in place. Murdock said she would look that one up and compare it with the one brought to the council.

Alarm system ordinance

The council tabled an alarm system ordinance. The ordinance brought before the council also included car alarms. Mayor Frank Jackson said the council could revisit this ordinance later, if necessary. He said this is not a habitual problem for officers.

Other ordinances

After discussion, the council instructed Murdock to review the current burn ban ordinance and curfew ordinance.

The council will review and take necessary action regarding these ordinances at the December meeting.

Other business

Jackson said the city did receive other bids on the roof of the fire station and Ken Cate did have the lowest bid. They are in the process of replacing the roof now. The carpet has been laid and furniture has been moved in the area that will house the emergency medical services personnel. An East Texas ambulance is scheduled to be housed in Italy starting Nov. 23.

In other business, Metz discussed the new water lines being installed on Park Street and Poplar Street.

Under the current proposal, Metz said there is no plan to resurface Park Street. On Popular Street, he said two blocks would be concrete and have curbs and gutters. The remainder of the street would have one-and-a-half inch overlay.

Jackson said the people on Park Street expect the street to be repaired and repaired right.

Guthrie suggested that instead of using concrete, take the $20,000 proposed for that area and add to the $22,500 planned for road repair. The point is to see if both streets could be overlaid with asphalt. He suggested Metz get estimates from the current contractor, from JK Excavation and from Ellis County.

Souder pointed out that the contractors are tearing up the streets and should be held responsible for making necessary repairs. “They need to be held accountable for whatever they have torn up,” he said.

The council instructed Metz to get bids as soon as possible and come back to the council with that information that will allow council members to make a final decision.

Council member Greg Richards was not present at the meeting.