Three city council seats up for May election

Three council seats are up for election, according to Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, at the Italy City Council’s monthly meeting held Monday evening. Those seats are currently held by James Hobbs, Dennis Perkins Jr. and Bruce Utley.

Citizens interested in running for the city council may pick up a packet on Feb. 4 and must return paperwork by March 5. Elections are scheduled May 12.

The council also approved the bidding for new “radio read” water meters.

Once the new meters are installed, the meter reader carries a handheld computer that automatically collects the data. Scott Hoelzle, with KSA, said this should save time and be more accurate. He also outlined specifications and warranty specifications.

Dean Carrell, public works director, said the wastewater plant is 80 percent complete and said they are moving forward with the tower for the water storage tank. Carrell said the wells have been completed and are now running 565 gallons of water per minute.

In other business, the council also approved the purchase of two 2009 Texas Department of Public Safety vehicles and the purchase of a 2011 Crown Victoria. Total cost for the three vehicles and equipment is $53,629.

The cost for the new vehicle is $33,557, the DPS vehicles are $9,914 and $10,158. This price includes equipment installation and decals.

Police Chief Diron Hill said he will take one of the 2009 vehicles to drive and will convert the Ford Expedition he currently drives for the code enforcement officer to use.

He explained that this leaves three dependable vehicles for officers to use. He also said they will be taking equipment from the older vehicles and install in the newer vehicles to save money.

During his report to the council, Hill said officers worked 1,594 hours, were called to service 199 times and made six arrests during December. The code enforcement officer worked 14 hours, wrote 10 courtesy letters and issued one citation. The animal control officer worked 100 hours, impounded two animals, issued three citations and two warnings.

Hill gave council members a 2011 end of year report with a five year strategic plan for the department. He said the “living plan” can be changed or updated annually.

Murdock said a planning and zoning meeting will be held Tuesday at 5 p.m. She said T.W. Howell with Family Dollar Stores is requesting a variance regarding the amount of brick required on the building and the number of parking spaces required.

Richard Ridlehuber addressed the council regarding the water bill for the Italy Masonic Lodge. He said the group meets once a month and their last water bill was $91.70.

He said they don’t use garbage or sewer although he said they did have restroom facilities inside the building. Ridlehuber asked why people on fixed incomes are expected to pay this increase on their water bills.

Rodney Guthrie, mayor pro tem, said the Attorney General said all those with water meters are required to pay this increase, including churches. Guthrie said the council has been putting band aids on the water issues for too long and said they had to do something.

The council also approved minutes from the previous meeting, bills and earned compensatory time.