This Week's Headlines

City finally cuts off $4000+ water bill of vacant house

Drainage improvements set

City begins transition to actual usage water bills in few months

Getting ready for July 4 parade

Wings Over Houston offers exclusive discount

Restoring electricity

Two fatal accidents in two days

20-year old charged with fentanyl murder

Two women arrested near Beamer/Beltway

Lawsuit claims Garcia ineligible

Drivers arrested for speeding

Jack in the Box opens new facility

Concerns about water in Beamer ditch

Welcoming new business to South Belt

Red Cross organization suggestions for safety tips for July 4th holiday

GLO monitoring Gulf storms

SJC earns marketing awards

MSU names local 2024 grad list

Gonzalez designated master trustee

Everses celebrate 60th wedding anniversary

Miller makes LeTourneau dean’s list

Caused major accident

Dave Campbell’s has Dickinson atop District 24-6A ranks

SBGSA fall ball ’24 offers early sign-up

Dobie tennis to start this month

High school volleyball dates set

Dobie football hosts free camp July 12

Newsome heads to Mississippi State women’s volleyball

Clear Brook’s Barnes, Bolden reach Junior Olympic track meet

Auburn introduces Malveauxs as softball’s co-head coaches

Lutheran South football program gets fresh start under Meekins



City finally cuts off $4000+ water bill of vacant house

An abandoned residence in the 11200 block of Sageview local police say is frequented by squatters has continued to receive water bills from the city of Houston despite the homeowners being deceased for nearly four years.

Located near the corner of Hughes Road and Beamer, the house has been problematic for neighbors for several years, as it has become both unkempt and unsafe. The charge to address the dilapidated home has been promoted by longtime Sagemont resident and community activist Sandy Robb, who has been battling city and county officials for years to act on the matter.

According to sources familiar with the case, the last city water bill to be paid by the homeowners was in September 2020 for roughly $57. Since then, the residence has continued to get monthly water bills, despite the house being deserted.

The accumulative water bill now totals nearly $4,000, sources said.

With the assistance of Corey Glen from Houston District D City Council Member Carolyn Evans-Shabazz’s office, the water was finally shut off this past week.

The previous week, staff from Harris County Precinct 2 Constable Jerry Garcia’s office secured the entrances to the abandoned home in an effort to keep out squatters.

Despite the home still having water service, Precinct 2 Sgt. Robert Sanchez said the toilets had been removed from the residence and there were signs that squatters had been using a portable tub as a toilet.

According to Sanchez, the status of the home is currently in limbo as part of an estate, as the homeowners’ surviving heirs apparently are not claiming it.

The issue with the water billing comes at a time when residents throughout the city have been experiencing problems.

Several South Belt residents have complained of excessive water bills for much of this past year, particularly in the Sagemont Park subdivision, where at least one resident saw his monthly statement jump from around $30 to $3,000.

Newly elected Houston Mayor John Whitmire campaigned on fixing the city’s water billing problem and has taken multiple measures to address the issue since taking office earlier this year. See related story in last week’s issue.


Drainage improvements set

Newly elected City Council Member Fred Flickinger and the Houston Public Works Department would like to inform South Belt residents of ongoing drainage improvements being made in the Arlington Heights subdivision near Edgebrook.

Crews are currently conducting work on Coronation Drive, requiring lane closures for approximately eight weeks.

The affected section of Coronation Drive extends from SH 3/Old Galveston Road to Parkcrest Drive. (See accompanying map on page 3.) During this time, crews will be installing stormwater drainage and sanitary lines.

Beginning Wednesday, June 26, there will be a partial closure at the south end of Arlington Square Drive and driveways along Coronation Drive will be closed, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The schedule for lane closures is as follows:

– Northbound lane closure: 4 weeks.

– Southbound lane closure: 4 weeks.

The purpose of the project is to construct storm drainage improvements that address and reduce the risk of structural flooding in the area by improving street conveyance and sheet flow and providing detention, as needed, for mitigation.

Plans also call for the implementation of stormwater drainage, waterlines, wastewater lines, paving, sidewalks, driveways, curbs, wheelchair ramps, permanent signs, pavement markings and streetlights along the following streets:

East Edgebrook, Empress, Princess, Outlook, Ravenhead, Viceroy and Parliament.

In addition, necessary utility upgrades will be made. Aside from minor paving restorations, a proposed 12-inch waterline will be constructed primarily by trenchless construction on East Edgebrook Drive east of Harris County Flood Control District to South Shaver Street.

For more information on the Arlington Heights Drainage Improvement – Subproject 1, visit Engage Houston at www.engagehouston.org/arlington-heights-1.


City begins transition to actual usage water bills in few months

The City of Houston will soon begin transitioning to actual usage water bills for some single-family residential customers who have working remote reading devices (RRDs).

Those customers will soon receive official letters that their accounts will return to actual water usage no sooner than 60 days from the date of the notification. As a result of this change, the customers will notice a change in their water bill from the blue “set usage” to white “actual” usage bills.

The Houston Public Works Customer Account Services team has verified multiple readings to ensure the device is functioning and sending accurate information on water usage. Additional verification will take place during the 60-day transition period.

It’s important to note that with the transition, some customers may observe that their actual usage is higher than their set usage. This could result in a higher monthly bill once the set usage billing period ends.

“We want to ensure that you are fully informed about these changes and are prepared for any potential adjustments in your bill, allowing you to plan accordingly,” said Houston Public Works Chief Operating Officer Randy Macchi.

“This update only applies to single-family residential customers with an upgraded, working remote reading device.”

Other customers will remain on set usage bills until they have a verified functioning remote reading device. Customers can track the replacement of their RRD using the dashboard at improvewaterbills.org.

Houston Public Works continues to ramp up the deployment of remote reading devices. Currently more than 34,000 RRDs have been installed since the launch of the Water Bill Improvement Plan on April 1, 2024.

The city of Houston expects to install approximately 125,000 remote reading devices throughout Houston by the end of 2024.

Houston Public Works continues to enhance customer service through the Water Bill Improvement Plan.

The following changes have taken place since the plan launched:
– Expanded in-person customer service availability.

– Customers can schedule in-person or virtual appointments.

– Employed new quality control measures for an easier resolution process.

– Streamlined relief requests into one centralized form.

– On March 20, 2024, City Council voted to repeal City Ordinance 47-72 to make it easier to provide accurate adjustments to customers.

Erroneous water billing has been an ongoing issue for many area residents over the past year, with some homeowners having monthly statements jump from around $30 to more than $3,000.

For more information on improvements to billing, visit www.houstonpublicworks.org/improvewaterbills.


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