Copperas Cove city council to vote on utility assistance donation program
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Special to Leader-Press
The Copperas Cove City Council will be holding a workshop meeting to discuss updates to the city’s Capital Improvement Projects as part of the 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Plan Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. at the Technology Building.
Following the workshop, the city council will hold a regular meeting at 6 p.m. and take action on items such as the proposed Utility Assistance Donation Program.
The city council held utility rates discussions from May 2020 through September 2020, and on September 1, 2020, the city council voted to remove the senior discount after it was determined by the city attorney to be an illegal discount based on Texas Government Code Section 1502.057(b) and corresponding case law. The council also revised the utility rates to more sufficiently pay for fixed costs of the water and sewer system.
After residents raised concerns, the city council called for a donation assistance program to be created to provide assistance to utility customers. City staff prepared the Utility Assistance Donation Program in accordance with City Council’s direction and comments received from individuals throughout the community.
Donations will be received and accounted within the Donation Fund, not the General Fund or Water and Sewer Fund. Eligible program participants will be all active residential utility customers in good standing, including those accounts with an active payment plan and residential utility customers with monthly billed consumption of less than 8,000 gallons.
Eligible customers must inform Utility Administration staff of their need for assistance by coming into the office or by phone, but no documentation is required at this time.
The program term is for six months. Customers must request assistance each time during the program term. City staff will report on the program every quarter, and there will be a six-month evaluation to determine how to move forward.
City Manager Ryan Haverlah will also be sharing several updates in his report to the council, including regarding the transportation and roadway projects such as the Business U.S. 190 Project, State Highway 9 Ramps, the KTMPO Transportation Projects status and the TxDOT Transportation Alternatives Projects development. He will also be providing a Utilities Administration service update, a COVID-19 vaccine update, an update on the 87th State Legislative Session, the city council dais and a financial status and budget planning update.
The city council will also take action on a resolution establishing the January 1, 2021, population of the city of Copperas Cove. On November 6, 2020, the city received the 2019 Final Population Estimates from the Texas Demographic Center, and the State demographer reported that the city’s population as of January 1, 2020 was estimated at 35,781.
The council will also take action on an ordinance amending the city’s Fee Schedule, changing fees for the Police Department, Parks and Recreation, the Golf Course and Animal Control. Notable proposed fee changes include changes to the adoption fees for dogs and cats based on whether they are vetted or not. For a fully vetted dog, the adoption fee increases to $75, compared to the non-vetted dog fee of $30, which is an increase from the $20 fee a dog adoption currently is. For a fully vetted cat, the adoption fee increases to $70, which is an increase from the non-vetted cat fee of $25, which is an increase from the current $15 cat adoption fee. A fully vetted animal will be spayed/neutered and be up to date on required vaccines. Currently, the shelter does not guarantee whether an animal available for adoption has been vetted or not.
The council will also take action on an ordinance amending the Personnel Improvement Plan for fiscal years 2021-2025 and the Position Listing for fiscal years 2020-21. Proposed changes include a pay scale change for the Records Supervisor and Evidence Technician with the Police Department, reclassifying the Senior Animal Control Officer to Animal Control Supervisor and reclassifying the Fleet Services Supervisor position to a Superintendent position.
City council will also be meeting in executive session to consult with the city attorney and receive advice regarding a soliciting/panhandling ordinance, and to deliberate the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property for cell tower site number 374490 located at 1203 Craig.
Limited in-person attendance will be permitted in the Council Chambers, 508 S. 2nd St., subject to social distancing and mask requirements established by the Governor and health guidelines established by the City.
The meeting will be conducted via Zoom and will also be broadcast live on the Gov’t Access Channel – Spectrum Ch. 10, as well as on the City’s YouTube Channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIHkZ_Fwq-Y0iRkNU1-fM8w.
The public may also participate in the meetings by dialing the toll-free number 888-475-4499, using meeting ID: 986 602 9818 and passcode: 2545474221. The public will be permitted to offer public comments telephonically as provided by the agendas and as permitted by the presiding officer during the meetings. Written questions or comments may be submitted up to two hours before the meetings via email to Lisa Wilson, City Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org.