Katy executes agreement with TXU, declines sister city agreement with Belarusan city; 4 takeaways from the April 9 City Council meeting

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The Katy City Council approved a new electricity contract for city facilities, a grant of safety equipment for the Katy Fire Department and the transfer of utility infrastructure from Waller County Utility District No. 2’s management to the city’s management. The council also declined to accept a development of cooperation agreement with the city of Bobruisk in the Republic of Belarus.

1. The council voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Chuck Brawner to execute an agreement with TXU Energy to supply electricity to the city.

The city will enter into an 8-year agreement with TXU Energy at a rate that Katy Finance Director Becky Wilkins said was much better than the current rate of .0544 cents per kilowatt hour. The new rate is expected to be around .04044 cents per kilowatt hour according to Tradition Energy representatives who spoke at the meeting.

The agreement was decided on with the help of Tradition Energy, a Houston-based consulting firm that works with U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance, an organization that helps towns like Katy pool their resources to get better deals on contracts.

The city is currently in the sixth year of its current electrical contract, which is set to expire next year, Wilkins said.

“You want to do this ahead of time, so that you can lock in the rate and get the best rate you can,” Wilkins said.

2. Council members voted unanimously to accept a grant from Harris County and to sign an interlocal agreement to benefit Katy Fire Department.

The agreement and grant of three In-Command monitors will update an electronic system that tracks firefighters as they move into dangerous situations, KFD Chief Rusty Wilson said. The newer monitors work on a different frequency than the prior model, he said, and the agreement will facilitate operating the equipment and updating it as needed over time.

3. The city accepted the transfer of a water line extension and sewer line extension constructed by the district.

The city will manage the utility infrastructure going forward, including operation and maintenance. The utility district has security clauses written into the contract that the city will operate and maintain the facilities and that all warranties and other guarantees on the two extensions are transferred to the city.

4. The city declined to execute a cooperation agreement with Bobruisk in the Republic of Belarus.

In a 4-1 vote, the council declined to accept an offer to enter into a development and cooperation agreement with the city located in the former Soviet territory.

Council Member Jimmy Mendez, who represents Ward B, was the only member to vote in favor of the measure. Mendez said he felt it was great that another nation’s envoys had a choice of several U.S. cities and had chosen to enter into a partnership with Katy.

Brawner said he had brought the matter to the council for a decision because it was the council’s decision to make as a group.

Council Member J. Gary Jones said he was against the measure and that he felt it would not benefit the tax payers of the city in any way. Jones said he believes the city should be addressing more important measures.

“To me, it’s nothing but a publicity stunt.” Jones said. “They’re on their way to San [Antonio] and so they stop at three different places, trying to get this agreement at every one of them, and it’s only for their benefit.”

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R. Hans Miller
R. Hans Miller joined the Community Impact team in June 2017. He is a recent graduate of Texas State University's College of Journalism and Mass Communication, a U.S. Army veteran, husband and father. He is originally from Montana. He has written for VoiceBox Media and the San Marcos Daily Record, among others. He covers city government, emergency services, local business development and other topics for the Katy area.
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