This Week's Headlines

City of Houston water rates increase

Area resident battles sewage issues

Governor appoints Mitchell to board

Nearby road construction affects area

Suspect killed by police officers

Neighboring Pearland may get bars

Free COVID vax July 28 at St. Luke’s

HFD responds to multiple incidents

Pct. 2 catch catalytic converter thieves

Chambers gather for State of the County with Commissioner Adrian Garcia

‘Be Someone’ artist’s message showcased

Backpacks for Kids

BAC holding chorus auditions

New South Belt Chamber program honors Burleighs as Business of the Quarter

Dave Campbell’s eyes Longhorns as repeat 22-6A football champions

Pioneers to face loaded district field

BAFL season begins Aug. 14; schedules for all 20 teams out

Locals chosen in MLB draft

Dave Campbell’s Texas Football annual again has JFD football tops

Longhorns eye scrimmages

Dobie graduate Garza standing out this summer

Campbell’s Texas Football has Dobie No. 43 in state

2021 Bay Area Football League Schedules

South Belt area sports camps, sign-ups

 

City of Houston water rates increase

Many South Belt residents unaffected

Houston City Council recently approved a water and wastewater rate increase for city water customers to help improve infrastructure and meet federally required guidelines to address sanitary sewer overflows.

The measure passed 12-4, with both South Belt council members – Republican Dave Martin and Democrat Carolyn Evans-Shabazz – voting in favor of the measure. The new rates will become effective on Sept. 1, but many residents will see the increase as early as next month.

“Our water and wastewater system needs to be reliable, dependable and of good quality,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I thank City Council for passing today’s measure and recognizing that water is an essential and critical infrastructure that must be addressed and improved. The importance of a resilient water and wastewater system became clear after Hurricane Harvey, Winter Storm Uri and COVID-19. Having adequate and sound infrastructure will take us one step closer to building a more resilient Houston.”

The water and wastewater rates will increase every year over the next five years and include the cost of making the first five years of investments agreed upon in the consent decree agreement with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the EPA. Because of the agreement, Houston is required to resolve sanitary sewer overflows and other wastewater violations by paying fines and making improvements to the wastewater system over the next 15 years.

Roughly 60 percent of city customers living in single-family homes could see their bills go up by $5 or less.

All residents living within the city limits will be affected. Local subdivisions located within the City of Houston include Sagemont, Sagemont Park, Kirkwood, Genoa, Beverly Hills, Rainbow Valley, Eastridge Terrace, Sycamore Valley, Scarsdale and King’s Place.

In spite of residing outside the Houston city limits, residents living in the Sagemeadow MUD and Kirkmont MUD will also see a rate increase, as both utility districts get their water from the city.

According to Linda Arnone, Kirkmont MUD manager, Kirkmont residents will see a monthly increase of $4.27, including $2.27 for water and $2.05 for sewer. The increase will appear on next month’s bill.

Sagemeadow MUD official Glenn Williams told the Leader the exact rate increase for Sagemeadow residents was unclear at press time, as the district’s operator and attorney have had no correspondence with the city.

“We’re anticipating to hear from them,” said Williams.

Residents who are serviced by either the Clear Lake City Water Authority or the Clear Brook City MUD will not see a rate increase, as both utility districts entered into contracts with the city that prohibit such a hike.

The Clear Brook City MUD includes the following subdivisions: Amanda Glen, Ashley Pointe, Blackhawk, Clear Brook Landing, Clear Brook Meadows, College Place, Estate of Green Tee, Highland Meadows, Meadows of Clear Creek, Riverstone Ranch, Sageglen, Still Water Cove and Woodmeadow I and II.

Area resident battles sewage issues

One South Belt resident says he has been battling rain-related sewage issues near his Kirkwood South home for roughly two decades to no avail.

Rev. Aris Hickman has long complained to area officials about a problematic manhole located near his residence on Sagepark at Kirkfair. A sewer infrastructure problem near the location has caused a pipe to leak raw sewage from the manhole following heavy rains. The spillover seeps into Hickman’s house and yard.

Further, the leak releases a pungent odor that can be detected from blocks away.

Rectifying the problem has proven difficult, however, as the home is located on the edge of the city limits, and the issue involves infrastructure from both the Sagemeadow MUD and the City of Houston. While the actual leak is located in the Sagemeadow MUD, it is connected to a city line.

MUD officials said any effort on their part to fix the issue will merely push the problem further down the line into the city.

While previous attempts with city officials to fix the problem have proved fruitless, the Leader has reached out to District D City Council Member Carolyn Evans-Shabazz for assistance in the matter.

Governor appoints Mitchell to board

Gov. Greg Abbott recently appointed longtime South Belt resident Bob Mitchell, who serves as president of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, to the board of directors of the newly created Gulf Coast Protection District.

“This appointment is quite an honor for me, personally, but it also serves to recognize BAHEP, its staff and the many partnerships we’ve established over the past 13 years in working to make the coastal barrier system a reality,” Mitchell said. “I believe that we owe much of the credit to Dr. Bill Merrell of Texas A&M University. We stand where we are today due to his expertise, foresight and tenacity following Hurricane Ike in 2008. I also must recognize our elected officials, Sen. Larry Taylor and Rep. Dennis Paul, who championed the legislation that established the GCPD. It absolutely took a monumental, regional effort to get this accomplished. I am very excited to move forward with the other members of the board as we work together to build the coastal barrier system.”

Abbott’s news release stated in part, “The Gulf Coast Protection District was created by the legislature to operate and leverage funding to build the unique flood control and surge protection needs for coastal communities. When completed, the Coastal Texas study will be the largest civil works project in U.S. history. Like the seawall before it, this system will protect our state and national economy and millions of Texans for generations to come. Texas ports handle 65 percent of all U.S. cargo. The Port of Beaumont handles more military cargo movement than any other port in the U.S. The GCPD region also produces 60 percent of the nation’s aviation fuel, 42 percent of the nation’s specialty chemical feedstock and 80 percent of the nation’s military grade fuel.

The creation of this district provides opportunity to leverage almost $30 billion federal dollars to protect the ports of Beaumont, Harris County and Galveston from storm surges.”

Mitchell joins fellow appointees Sally Bakko, Michel Bechel, Roger Guenther, Lori J. Traweek and Michael VanDerSnick on the board. Additionally, Nicole Sunstrum will serve as the temporary executive director. Their terms will expire June 16, 2025.

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