KATY

Katy City Council amends well contract, reaffirms Harris as mayor pro tem

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 6/16/21

Katy City Council amended the contract for construction of the city’s newest water well, Water Well No. 10, at 29,900 Kingsland Blvd. near Bryant Elementary. Council also renewed At Large …

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KATY

Katy City Council amends well contract, reaffirms Harris as mayor pro tem

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Katy City Council amended the contract for construction of the city’s newest water well, Water Well No. 10, at 29,900 Kingsland Blvd. near Bryant Elementary. Council also renewed At Large Councilmember Chris Harris as Mayor Pro Tem during their June 14 meeting.

“(Harris) has done a great job for me,” Katy Mayor Bill Hastings said. “Anytime I’ve ever needed anything (he was there). I have found out that there were several times that he put his own personal life on hold to make a meeting (or) make a function.”

Harris was first appointed as Mayor Pro Tem in September 2019 and is a graduate of Sam Houston State University. The Mayor Pro Tem position backs up the mayor and is selected from among serving city council members after each city council election. The role is established in Article III, Section 2 of the Katy Home Rule Charter which also says that if the mayor is unable to fulfill his duties as mayor for any reason, the mayor pro tem then serves as acting mayor, Harris said.

Well issues

Council’s approval of the nearly $91,000 amendment to the contract with Weisinger, Inc. to build the new water well. The amendment will provide for the installation of larger well casings as well as temporary sound walls. Sound walls have been in place for an extended time; however, residents in the homeowners whose properties are neighboring the drilling operation have complained about sound issues as well as near-constant vibration under their homes.

Nearby resident Jason Orr, whose home sits directly adjacent to the currently existing sound wall, said he has contacted the city repeatedly and expressed concerns about violations of noise ordinances, safety concerns about items suspended by a crane coming over his property line and generally poor living conditions. Despite the noise-canceling wall, he said, the vibration under the home and the noise has kept his wife, who is recovering from cancer, from getting proper rest.

Orr said at the time that a part of his frustration was a lack of response from the city.

“I apologize if my tone seems harsh, that is not my intention. A year of major construction next to the rooms we work and sleep in has taken its toll,” Orr wrote in the May 12 email. “My wife is sick and the lack of response is a little insulting.”

Katy City Administrator Byron Hebert responded to a Katy Times inquiry that the city is doing what it can to alleviate the problems for neighboring homes and hopes to have the project completed soon.

A city staff member overseeing the project said it will be about two weeks before the sound walls come down, after which the noise concerns for the project should be alleviated.

Recently-elected Councilmember Dan Smith said it was important to acknowledge the difficulties the project had caused the city’s neighboring Willow Creek Farms subdivision.

“… Just kind of acknowledging that the whole thing has been a temporary hardship for our neighbors there and it’s necessary and we’ve done everything we can to make accommodations,” Smith said. “Obviously, we’re approving a significant change order for the temporary sound wall and we’ve got a light at the end of the tunnel for this project.”

Other issues

During the June 14 meeting, council also:

  • Approved final plats for multiple sections of the Cane Island subdivision as well as extending plats for multiple detention ponds in the master-planned community.
  • Approved the Saint John’s Walk for Friday, June 25 which is sponsored by the Katy Masonic Lodge and will be held from 4-7 p.m. that day.
  • Authorized Hastings to sign an amendment to the contract for drainage work in the Riceland Terrace subdivision that will save the city about $740.
  • Authorized the implementation of a new procurement policy.
  • Authorized the mayor to sign an agreement with Axon Enterprise, Inc. to replace tasers for the Katy Police Department.
  • Authorized the execution of a contract with Thomson Reuters for software that will allow Katy PD to more efficiently look up the records for inmates at the city jail.
  • Approved the amendment of employee classifications and compensations for various Katy Fire Department staff members and updating the salary grades and ranges for Katy FD staff.

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