City Updates Its Garbage Collection Policy to Include Yard Waste

By George Slaughter

Mayor Chuck Brawner presents Fire Chief Russell Wilson a proclamation honoring Wilson’s service to the city. Mayor Pro Tem Durran Dowdle applauds on right. (George Slaughter photo)

The Katy City Council Monday night updated its garbage collection policy to include yard waste pickup twice a month.

Under the new policy, the city will pick up yard waste, which includes leaves, grass clippings, small trimmings, and so forth, on the twice-monthly heavy trash days.

In a presentation to the council, Kayce Reina, the city’s director of tourism, marketing, and public relations, said that up to 15 bags of yard waste in clear plastic bags will be picked up if they are placed within five feet of the curb.

The bags are not to exceed 40 pounds per bag and do not have to be placed in a blue container.

Heavy trash days remain for the pickup of three bulk items such as furniture or appliances, and up to four cubic yards of tree branches that are bundled and tied. In addition, clear bags of yard waste will now be picked up.

Reina said if citizens have rented an additional bin and no longer need it due to the policy changes, he or she can return the bin and no longer pay the additional fee.

Reina said the additional cost per house for adding yard waste to heavy trash days was $2 per household, per month. However, the city will pay for this cost until October 1, when it will be reviewed as part of the city’s budget.

The new policy calms a situation that’s received much attention at city hall. For the past several years, Republic Services, the garbage removal contractor, has picked up bags and trash in addition to what would be put in its blue carts. Such bags might be filled with grass clippings, leaves, or other trash.

But city officials said Republic Services had been doing more than its contract specified in performing this additional work. With costs rising, Republic Services ended this practice, which became policy on February 1.

Citizens have been calling city hall to complain that this extra trash was not being removed as it had been in the past. Other concerns had been raised about notifying citizens of those policy changes.

Reina said that the city would promote the new policy through fliers, notices, and local and social media.

Council Honors Fire Chief

The city issued a proclamation honoring Fire Chief Russell Wilson, recently honored by his Texas Association of Fire Chiefs Executive Conference peers as Fire Chief of the Year.

A large number of firefighters were at the meeting to see Wilson receive the proclamation from Mayor Chuck Brawner. Wilson joked, “I did not order all these firefighters to be here tonight.”

Wilson became fire chief in 2016, coming to Katy from the Irving Fire Department.

Wilson thanked his fire department colleagues, the council members, and the Katy community for their support.

“I accept this on behalf of all of you,” Wilson said.

Council Delays Action on Planned Development District

The council Monday night postponed action to enable creation of the 25K Morton Park and Silver Oaks Estates planned development district, at the developer’s request.

In a note to the city requesting the delay, Rick Lawler, attorney for developer LIA Engineering, said a larger study of the tract would be conducted to evaluate conveyance, detention, and drainage. Lawler wrote that he believed the study process would be approximately 60-90 days.

The proposed district is approximately 46 acres of single-family residential and commercial use lots. The southeast quadrant of the district will be commercial, while the rest will be residential.

Morton Road borders the tract on the south, the Katy Hockley Cut-Off road borders it to the east, and the Heritage Park West subdivision borders it on the north. The land to the east of the Katy Hockley Cut-Off Road is under City of Houston extraterritorial jurisdiction.

When LIA Engineering submitted its original request to the city, the city rejected it because the tract was 46 acres and not the minimum 100 acres. Other changes were requested involving fencing and screening, landscaping, lot sizes, recreational space, signage, and zoning.

Changes were made and the city’s planning and zoning commission approved the revised plan at its February 13 meeting. When the plan went to the council at its February 26 meeting, citizens and council members expressed concern about noise and light pollution, despite the changes made to the plan. The council that night voted to extend the public hearing to Monday, thus giving everyone more time to review the updated plans.

In addition, Costello, Inc., the firm hired by the city to make recommendations for reducing future flooding problems, was to be asked to review the proposal and make recommendations on water flow out of the area.

Other Actions Taken

In other action Monday, the council:

  • Approved minutes from the January 15, January 22, February 12, and February 26 meetings.
  • Approved the BP MS 150 Bike Ride, scheduled for to begin Saturday, April 28 at Rhodes Stadium.
  • Approved the Smilin’ Rylen Run, scheduled for 7:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 28 at Cane Island. Organizers use the event to raise awareness of and support for organ donation.
  • Approved a $1,500 membership dues payment for the Highway 36A Coalition.
  • Gave final plat approval for the dedication of Katy Creek Estates Street.
  • Gave final plat approval for sections 1 and 2 of Katy Creek Estates Street.
  • Accepted equipment valued at $18,061 that was awarded to the city by the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Accepted a $5,000 payment from the Fort Bend County fire marshal for fiscal year 2018 for the city’s help with firefighting in unincorporated Fort Bend County areas.
  • Accepted sanitary sewer easement from That Boardwalk Crossing, LLC, in Fort Bend County.
  • Authorized Costello Engineering to bid Pine Forest subdivision drainage improvements with the use of reserve funds upon bid award.