Humble City Council approves purchase of parcel near downtown, pandemic-related policies for emergency employees

Humble City Council met at city hall on April 23 for its regular meeting. The meeting was videoconferenced. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Humble City Council met at City Hall on April 23 for its regular meeting. The meeting was through videoconference. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Humble City Council met at City Hall on April 23 for its regular meeting. The meeting was through videoconference. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Humble City Council met for its second videoconference meeting amid the coronavirus outbreak April 23. During the meeting, council members approved a land purchase near downtown Humble as well as measures to assist employees during the virus.

Council unanimously voted to approve a budget amendment for fiscal year 2019-20 that added $200,000 to the budget to purchase a property at 515 E. Main St., Humble, and then council approved the land purchase.

"This will give the city a nice piece of property there in the future," Mayor Merle Aaron said.

The 5,000-square-foot property and the house on it will be demolished and set aside for future city use, City Manager Jason Stuebe said via email April 24. The property is adjacent to property the city already owns, he said.

"The overall goal with city-owned property in downtown is to eventually be able to have enough that it would be marketable to a developer that would be interested in a public-private partnership to develop future residential, commercial and/or mixed use products that would spur redevelopment of the entire area," he said April 24.


In addition to the land purchase, council also approved two agenda items pertaining to leave time for city employees during the virus outbreak, including a critical essential-employee leave policy and a pandemic leave policy. The essential-employee leave policy allows the city's first responders and public works personnel to receive additional sick leave if they or someone under their care is experiencing coronavirus symptoms, per the policy.

At the April 23 meeting, Stuebe said the policy is a modified version of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act from the U.S. Department of Labor, from which the city of Humble exempted emergency employees. Instead, the temporary policy allows those employees to take advantage of coronavirus-related sick leave between April 1-Dec. 31.

"The reasoning being in a crisis situation, those are the employees that we would need to rely upon the most," Stuebe said via email April 24. "Pretty much every local government exercised their option to exempt these employees. However, we were one of the first, if not the first to implement a modified policy to still provide those employees some benefits."

The pandemic leave policy allows for full-time employees to take up to 80 hours of negative sick leave. The sick leave can either be reimbursed to the city by payments or with normal sick leave when it is accrued, per the policy.
By Kelly Schafler

Managing editor, South Houston

Kelly joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in June 2017 after majoring in print journalism and creative writing at the University of Houston. In March 2019, she transitioned to editor for the Lake Houston-Humble-Kingwood edition and began covering the Spring and Klein area as well in August 2020. In June 2021, Kelly was promoted to South Houston managing editor.