Utility Rates for FY 2020 Discussed
By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – It’s always nice to be recognized for a job well done and during the Grapeland City Council Meeting held on Tuesday, July 9, a member of the Grapeland Police Department was singled out for recognition.
As he concluded his monthly fire department report, Grapeland Fire Chief and Houston County Fire Marshal Roger Dickey took time to praise Officer Carly Foster for helping to diffuse a potentially violent situation which resulted in a peaceful ending.
“I have one other thing I would like to bring to your attention,” the fire chief said. “I have a letter of commendation I would like to read to y’all. On Thursday, June 20, Officer Carly Foster responded with Grapeland EMS to call in reference to a suicidal person.”
Dickey said when the first responders arrived at the scene, the person was extremely agitated, refused any contact or treatment and had barricaded himself into a room.
Foster, according to Dickey, was able to establish a dialogue with the man and convinced him to allow EMS personnel to examine him.
“After the assessment, the patient still refused further treatment or transport by EMS, but the fact remained he needed to go to the emergency room to be evaluated. In addition, while no criminal act had been committed at this point, the patient really needed to leave the residence for a period of time to allow the situation to calm down. It would most likely have escalated into physical violence,” Dickey said.
Following further dialogue between Foster and the patient, “… Foster successfully convinced the patient to go to the ER for further evaluation and treatment.”
The patient still did not want to be transported by EMS personnel so Foster placed him in her patrol vehicle and took him to the hospital.
“I would like to commend Officer Foster for her dedication to duty, in fact, going above and beyond the call of duty,” he said.
As the meeting continued, a discussion was held concerning the extension of the city’s garbage contract with Waste Connections.
Mayor Balis Dailey informed the council because of the rising costs of doing business, the garbage service will be cut to one day per week. The rate, however, will not increase and will remain the same for three years.
Mayor Pro Tem Velda Parker questioned if city residents would receive poly cans from the company and was informed the customers would be provided with one, 96 gallon container.
A motion was made, seconded and approved to extend the contract extension through July of 2019 and to begin a new contract on Aug. 1, with a Wednesday pickup.
Before the meeting adjourned into executive session, the council was asked to consider a water and sewer rate increase to meet Fiscal Year 2020 mandates and other rate impacts.
“As you know there is a $3 dollar increase in the water rate and a$3 increase in the base for the sewer rate. The key to it though, is you’re saving $3 on garbage. Your basic bill is water, sewer and garbage. Most of our customers only use the base rate, which is $3, less than 10 cents per day,” Dailey said.
The mayor explained the price hike was due to a number of factors including: Houston County Water District rate increases of 3% for the last four years; an energy cost increase of 8%, gas rate increases, water treatment costs and testing – to name just a few.
Ultimately, the price for Grapeland utilities will go up by $3.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.