City Council Repeals Water Ordinance, Tells Citizens How to Proceed with Current Bills [VIDEO]
(NOTE: We’ve written a synopsis of the events below with time stamps of the video below for you to be able to go directly to that portion for viewing and see exactly what was said and by whom.)
The Sealy City Council had their specially scheduled meeting Monday night to address the concerns of higher water bills being experienced by Sealy Citizens. This was following the previous meeting on the topic. The meeting began with citizens being able to express their frustration or to relay information to the city council (1:20 to 26:26 of the video).
Mayor pro tem Michael Kubricht then re-read the ordinance under discussion and allowed Sealy City Manager Larry Kuciemba the chance to explain what he had found out regarding the billing discrepancies.
Mr. Kuciemba stated that there was in increase in water consumption during the time in question. It went from 32,602,000 gallons to 38,091,000 gallons used, an increase of 17%. This was per readings taken directly from the wells that the city utilizes. He further went on to explain that the water billed increased 20%, from 28,967,000 gallons to 34,854,900 gallons (the difference in the gallon totals between what is pumped vs what is billed is minus things the city utilizes; city properties, fire hydrants, etc.). With the total usage being up for the period in question, he stated that the equipment being utilized was correct. He further stated that he and the city would be more than glad to check anyone’s water meters that they felt might be at fault and giving faulty readings. (26:26 to 31:47 of the video).
The city council then each took time to ask questions for further clarification and to address the audience. Below are each councilperson’s discussion of the topic and address to the audience:
- Councilman Janice Whitehead: 32:04 to 34:36
- Councilman Sandra Vrablec: 34:36 to 37:01
- Councilman Jennifer Sullivan: 37:01 to 39:31
- Councilman Larry Koy: 39:31 to 45:26
- Councilman John Hinze: 45:26 to 48:17
- Councilman Michael Kubricht: 48:17 to 49:54
The council then began discussion on how to go about repealing the ordinance that increased the water and sewage utilities with the city attorney. They unanimously voted its repeal. (49:54 to 55:01)
The council then began discussion on how the citizens of the city should handle their bills in relation to late fees and payment. They also took questions and comments from the audience to assist in their decision process (55:01 to 01:14:07)
The council then began the task of formulating the exact wording of the ordinance and exactly what the citizens should do as far as paying their bill (01:14:07 to 01:19:08).
The final decision reached was that the city will do robocalls to let people know how to handle their bill. They also decided for the city to do mail-outs just in case someone missed the robocall as well as post the information to the city’s Facebook page. There will be no late fees so there is no penalty should the citizenry elect not to pay the bill this month. Citizens, so that they don’t have to pay double the amount, may come in and pay the amount from their previous month’s bill. And finally, all auto drafts are suspended until the issue is resolved.
The council then adjourned the meeting briefly but, then reconvened for a second meeting because legally there had to be two readings of the crafted ordinance to be legally in effect.