Katy City Council postpones appointment of local health authority, cuts projects

From top-left: Council Member Janet Corte, Council Member Durran Dowdle, Council Member Jennifer Stockdick, Mayor Bill Hastings, Council Member Frank O. Carroll, City Administrator Byron Hebert, City Secretary Becky McGrew, Pastor Roy Meadows of Westland Baptist Church and Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris meet via Zoom. (Screenshot of Zoom meeting held April 13)
From top-left: Council Member Janet Corte, Council Member Durran Dowdle, Council Member Jennifer Stockdick, Mayor Bill Hastings, Council Member Frank O. Carroll, City Administrator Byron Hebert, City Secretary Becky McGrew, Pastor Roy Meadows of Westland Baptist Church and Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris meet via Zoom. (Screenshot of Zoom meeting held April 13)

From top-left: Council Member Janet Corte, Council Member Durran Dowdle, Council Member Jennifer Stockdick, Mayor Bill Hastings, Council Member Frank O. Carroll, City Administrator Byron Hebert, City Secretary Becky McGrew, Pastor Roy Meadows of Westland Baptist Church and Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris meet via Zoom. (Screenshot of Zoom meeting held April 13)

Katy City Council is still hashing out details regarding the appointment of a local health authority for the city.

Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris pulled the agenda item on behalf of the administration at its April 13 regular meeting, which was held on Zoom. There was no discussion.

"City Council pulled the item at the city administrator's request," Harris said. "It is city staff's prerogative to continue partnering with Harris County or bring back finalized details for a local designate."

He added Katy residents have the emergency services they expect. In the meantime, the city has a designated health authority under Harris County: Dr. Umair Shah.

"The city, county, state and federal authorities have done exceptional work answering concerns [as well as] preparing and providing local emergency services," he said. "This is more of an administrative function with regard to planning and funding."


Having its own local health authority would make it easier for the city of Katy to place any first responders who may contract COVID-19 in Katy hotels instead of approved Houston hotels, further from friends and family who want to take care of their loved ones.

In addition, council rejected bids for parking lot improvements at the Katy Police Department and for the library sewer construction as well as for sewer construction and rehabilitation projects.

"We want to try to keep as much money as we can right now in our general fund to see where that sales tax number is going to go," City Administrator Byron Hebert said in response to a question from Council Member Janet Corte. "Right now, we are asking that you guys just postpone on this. Reject them now, and when we come out of this, we'll put these projects back up."

City Secretary Becky McGrew said the bids the city received for the sewer projects exceeded the budget for such renovations.

"We are going to reduce the number of projects," McGrew said. "Instead of doing four projects [as] we had originally listed, we are going to go to two projects to get it under the budget amount of $200,000."

The projects to continue will be on South Woods Lane and Alabama Street.
By Nola Valente
A native Texan, Nola serves as reporter for the Katy edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She studied print journalism at the University of Houston and French at the University of Paris-Sorbonne in France. Nola was previously a foreign correspondent in Jerusalem, Israel covering Middle East news through an internship with an American news outlet.