Katy City Council approves changes to fire department scheduling, service area and more: 5 highlights from the April 23 meeting

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The Katy City Council approved two measures at the April 23 meeting which will affect the Katy Fire Department by modifying the work schedules of first responders and providing emergency services to the Firethorne subdivision.

The council agenda also included awarding contracts for sewer extensions on the west side of the city for more than $350,000 and authorizing Fort Bend Waller Municipal Utility District No. 2 to issue $3.2 million in bonds. Here are the details:

1. Changes approved to scheduling for first responders

The city changed the ordinance related to scheduling of emergency services personnel, such as firefighter and EMS technicians. Mayor Chuck Brawner explained that the new standards will allow firefighters and EMS staff to work a 48-hour shift followed by 96 hours off-duty. The new standards will also establish 12-hour days for dispatch staff. This is a standard that will bring the city in line with current requirements for first responders and help with both retention and recruitment, he said.

“With this, we’re finally getting the fire department where they need to be on all their hours,” Council Member Ray Boothe said.

2. Mutual aid agreement to provide fire and EMS services to the Firethorne subdivision approved

The city approved the execution of an agreement for automatic aid assistance between Fort Bend County MUD No. 151 to provide emergency services to the subdivision. Residents of Firethorne and Brookshire expressed concerns about the agreement, claiming it had been negotiated without their knowledge and they had been unaware that the city of Fulshear had opted to discontinue a similar agreement nearly a year ago. Mayor Brawner explained Katy had negotiated the agreement in good faith and that residents should address concerns to MUD No. 151 representatives.

Council Member J. Gary Jones said the agreement includes clauses to terminate the agreement if a situation arises, such as an annexation by another municipality, which was another concern expressed by residents.

The city will be reimbursed by the MUD at 105 percent of the cost for services rendered, according to city staff. Additionally, with city staff manning the Firethorne fire station, response times to addresses within city limits and near that station should be reduced, Boothe said.

3. Whitley Penn representatives award highest rating for 2017 financial statement

Lupe Garcia of Whitley Penn, an independent auditing firm hired by the city to review its 2017 financial statement, delivered the auditors’ findings. Garcia said that Whitley Penn is giving the city the highest review possible, an unmodified rating, meaning that the statement does not need any corrections and follows proper accounting practices.

4. Two sewer extensions approved west and north of Katy

The first extension will provide sewer services to Optimized Process Designs, Inc., located just north of the city on Clay Road. The work will be done by HTI Construction out of Rosenberg, Texas for just more than $79,000 which will be paid for by OPD, city officials said.

The second extension will cost about $295,000 which will be paid to Hurtado Construction from Brookshire, Texas. The extension will install a 27-inch sewer pipe to extend sewer services from the east side of Cane Island to the west side of The Falls at Green Meadows subdivision. The city’s Finance Director Becky Wilkins said the city was pleased with the contract because it came in about $250,000 less than estimated.

5. City moves forward with application for nearly $1.7 million in disaster funds

City Council approved allowing staff to move forward with an application for about $1.7 million in funds from a 2016 Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery from the Texas General Land Office. The grant would provide funding for the city related to recovering from the 2016 Tax Day Floods said Wilkins.

“At this time the focus is on drainage, specifically to provide a curb and gutter type system to some of the affected areas,” Wilkins stated in a memo to the council.

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    • R. Hans Miller

      Hello George.

      Firethorne does have a station just outside. However, it was previously manned by Fulshear firefighters. The agreement with Fulshear was not renewed several months ago, so services provided by Fulshear are ending and Katy will now be manning that station with its first responders.

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