City to Apply for Another Fire Department Grant as it Accepts $2 Million Federal Grant

By George Slaughter

The Katy City Council Monday night adopted a resolution to formally accept a three-year Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant for the hiring and training of 16 new firefighters.

The grant, for $2,181,579, is from the Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

The grant is a key part of the city’s efforts to build its second fire station, which is to be at Bell Patna Drive and Katy Mills Circle, near Katy Mills Mall. It will be a three-bay, approximately 14,000 square-foot structure.

Mayor Chuck Brawner said last week that the grant will cover the cost of personnel, with 75% of costs covered for the first two years and 35% covered for the third year. Fire Chief Russell Wilson said last week that he gave his electronic signature for accepting the grant on August 4, and he now has six months to hire the 16 firefighters. On Monday, Wilson said, one firefighter had already been hired.

Mayor Chuck Brawner, center, honored Los Cucos Mexican Cafe Monday for its hosting a fundraiser in which Katy firefighters raised money for Special Olympics Texas. Fire Chief Russell Wilson is on left and Manuel Cabrera of the restaurant is at right. (George Slaughter photo)

Monday’s resolution accepting the SAFER Grant was the first of two council resolutions involving the fire department. The second resolution authorized the department to apply for a $50,000 grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Grant Program. The grant would cover fire prevention and safety materials, as well as emergency management preparedness materials and education.

Katy firefighters have also been involved in raising money for charitable causes during their off hours. At Monday’s meeting, the council also recognized Los Cucos Mexican Café, 5831 Highway Blvd., for hosting the 2017 Katy “Tip a Firefighter” fundraiser benefiting Special Olympics Texas.

In other action Monday, the council:

  • Passed an ordinance amending the zoning ordinance for hotels in the city’s general business district. Under the new regulations, hotels must have at least 63 guest rooms, each of which shall be accessible only from an internal hallway. The hallway, in turn, must be accessible only from a central lobby area within the hotel. Also, hotels must be a minimum of three stories tall. The ordinance came following a recommendation from the city planning and zoning commission, which met Monday evening to review the proposal.
  • Passed an ordinance amending the zoning ordinance the West 10 Business Park Planned Development District. Under the new regulations, sign provisions now allow for a maximum sign face width of 16’ for identity monuments and permitting multi-tenant signs.
  • Approved a final plat for Katy Mills Tarragon Reserve for approximately 6.5 in Fort Bend County.
  • Approved a final plat for Reserve at Katy for approximately 10.79 acres in the James Connor Survey of Abstract 157 in Fort Bend County.
  • Approved a final plat for West 10 Business Park for approximately 6.63 acres in Waller County.
  • Approved three final plats for Young Ranch in the Robert T. Vanslyke Survey, Abstract 395, and the Jesse Thompson Survey, Abstract 394, in Fort Bend County. Plats include 3.7 acres in the Kingsland Boulevard street dedication, 2 acres in the West Firethorn Road street dedication, and 12 acres in section 11.
  • Adopted a resolution authorizing Mayor Chuck Brawner to sign a master subscription and license agreement with ESO Solutions Inc. for software and professional services. In a memo to the council, Finance Director Becky Wilkins said that the fire department is changing vendors for ambulance billing and collections and will need to transition to a software package, ESO, for data and billing/collections information. She said that the current system is a proprietary software used by the existing ambulance billing and collection company, and will not be after September 30. Council Member at Large Steve Pierson said this agreement was “long overdue” and that the process now used is “lacking.”
  • Adopted a resolution authorizing Brawner to sign a three-year agreement with PST Services LLC for emergency medical services billing and collection services.
  • Adopted a resolution authorizing Brawner to sign an agreement with Municipal Code Corporation (MCCi) for JustFOIA web-based open records management software.
  • Adopted a resolution rejecting all bids for the 2017-2019 grounds maintenance and moving of city facilities, city entrance features and city rights-of-way and authorizing the re-advertisement of bid solicitations.
  • Adopted a resolution authorizing Brawner to sign a lease agreement with Sensus USA Inc. and Sensus Spectrum LLC for an FCC license frequency. In a memo to the council, Utility Billing Supervisor Theresa Scates said the agreement will allow the newer model radios to transmit meter readings through a licensed radio frequency that ensures that the city has clear and uninterrupted transmission of water consumption data.
  • Passed an ordinance removing certain territory annexed by the city from Waller-Harris Emergency Services District No. 200.
  • Passed an ordinance that creates a school zone on Morton Road near Aristoi School at 5610-A Morton Road. The zone is for 120 feet in front of and near the Aristoi School, as delineated by school zone traffic control devices, from 7:15-8:30 a.m. and 2:15-4 p.m.
  • Accepted a presentation of the city’s proposed 2017-2018 budget from Finance Director Becky Wilkins. The proposed budget is expected to be posted to the city’s web site Tuesday, along with the schedule for budget review workshops.