State, Insurance Officials Salute City’s Class 1 Insurance rating

By George Slaughter

Mayor Bill Hastings, center, is joined by former mayors Chuck Brawner and Fabol Hughes, along with Fire Chief Russell Wilson (right, in white shirt) and Katy firefighters, in accepting recognition of the city’s ISO class I insurance rating Monday – George Slaughter photo.

State and insurance officials Monday honored the City of Katy for achieving a Class 1/1X ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating, which Katy officials expect will help local homeowners and businesses save money on insurance thanks to improved fire protection.

Jesse Williams, a public protection classification officer with the state fire marshal’s office, and Hugh Gibson, ISO community hazard mitigation manager, presented the plaques to Mayor Bill Hastings and Wilson on behalf of the city.

“It’s a recognition of something that’s not easy to get,” Fire Chief Russell Wilson said, adding that the cost savings on insurance shows the city’s service towards its citizens.

The Katy Fire Department achieved the Class 1/1X ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating, which puts Katy as one of 68 cities out of more than 1,500 in Texas with this rating. Nationally, Katy is one of only 300 out of 27,000 communities with this rating.

The designation comes following the opening of the second Katy fire station earlier this year. With a 1/1X designation, properties within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or water supply suction point and located within five miles of a fire station are designated Class 1, while properties more than 1,000 feet from these things are designated Class 1X.

Monday’s presentation was the culmination of a six-year effort. Mayor Bill Hastings praised former mayors Fabol Hughes and Chuck Brawner for their leadership in the effort, and invited them, along with a large contingent of Katy firefighters, to be part of the presentation ceremony.

“Success only comes with teamwork,” Wilson said.

Mayor Pro Tem Vote

The council voted to postpone action on appointing a new mayor pro tem until its September 23 meeting, after it is expected to pass the 2019-20 city budget. The vote came on a motion from Council Member-at-Large Chris Harris, who Hastings had nominated to replace current mayor pro tem and Ward B Council Member Durran Dowdle.

Monday’s vote ends a debate that began in July, when Hastings nominated Harris to be mayor pro tem. Hastings said Harris, as mayor pro tem, would be able to represent him at events he could not himself attend due to other obligations. However, Carroll and Corte said that Dowdle’s experience—he’s been on the council since 2014 and mayor pro tem since 2017—was reason to keep him in that post, particularly with the city budget coming up for consideration in the next few weeks.

Carroll, who had proposed that Dowdle remain mayor pro tem until after passage of the budget, said he was very pleased.

“I’m glad we’re able to reach unanimity on this,” Carroll said. “I think this is a good compromise. I’m glad we’re able to work this out.”

Corte told Harris that his motion “shows great character on your part, and I appreciate it very much.”

When Hastings asked Dowdle for his thoughts on Harris’s proposal, Dowdle stood up, walked over to Harris, and they shook hands and hugged.

Hastings nominated Harris at the July 8 meeting, but the nomination failed. Hastings again nominated Harris at the July 22 meeting, but the nomination failed again and the issue was tagged, or delayed, until Monday’s meeting.

Barring unforeseen developments, Hastings is expected to nominate, and the council is expected to approve, Harris as mayor pro tem at the September 23 meeting.

The mayor pro tem serves in the mayor’s absence and must be a council member. City Attorney Art Pertile said that under the Katy City Charter, a mayor nominates the mayor pro tem but the council must vote to approve the nomination.

Other Actions Taken

In other action Monday, the council:

  • Established a special use permit to allow for a nursing home facility at 26550 Kingsland Blvd. The property had been used by financial institutions and has most recently been neglected, according to city officials. The applicant wants to rehabilitate the building and convert it into a nursing home facility.
  • Approved the Katy Boardwalk Planned Development District Amendment to reflect project detail and design changes.
  • Approved the West Ten Business Park Planned Development District Amendment to reflect requirement and restriction changes.
  • Amended the Old Katy District Ordinance to reflect changes to the permitted uses, building materials and general development regulations within the district.
  • Approved the closing of part of Avenue C, between 2nd Street to before Amegy Bank, on the third Saturdays of the month for September, October, and November, for Katy Market Day.
  • Approved the 10th annual No Label Triathlon, set for April 11, 2020.
  • Accepted drainage, paving, sanitary sewer, and water improvements for Young Ranch.
  • Authorized the issuance of $5 million in city permanent improvement bonds.
  • Authorized Hastings to sign the auditor’s engagement letter for the fiscal year ending September 30 with Whitley Penn, LLP.
  • Accepted easement encroachment for a sidewalk with Lilac Bend Ltd., in Harris County.
  • Authorized up to $4.455 million in unlimited tax bonds Fort Bend County MUD 161 for the Reserve at Katy.
  • Authorized up to $4.1 million in unlimited tax bonds by Fort Bend-Waller Counties MUD No. 2 for West Ten Business Park.
  • Passed an ordinance to establish regulations, fees, and a process for governing non-emergency ambulance services within the City of Katy.
  • Passed an ordinance that provides penalties for public release of information discussed in executive session.