Mayor Issues, Council Extends Disaster Declaration

By George Slaughter

Mayor Bill Hastings – City of Katy photo

Mayor Bill Hastings Monday issued a proclamation of disaster for the city, and the city council voted to extend it, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The proclamation said the city will follow its emergency management plan and an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott last month. Abbott’s order requires Texans to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people and avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors. The order encourages Texans to use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options those restaurants offer during the pandemic period.

Abbott’s order also requires Texans to not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance, and temporarily closes schools as outlined in federal guidelines.

The proclamation is for seven days. The council’s extension is effective until the council votes to end it at a later time.

In a memo to Hastings urging the proclamation and its extension, City Attorney Art Pertile wrote that the actions would place the city in the best position to receive possible state and federal assistance.

“The city staff has been working diligently to implement CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines, comply with the orders and amended orders from the governor and the Waller County judge, but may require additional tools and resources from agencies of the state of Texas and agencies of the United States to protect the public health of the people of Katy given the state current state of the epidemic,” Pertile’s memo said.

The council tabled an agenda item to appoint an individual to serve as Katy health authority. Efforts by city officials to reach the individual under consideration were unsuccessful by meeting time, and council members expressed concerns about voting to make an appointment when no name had been put forth. The issue will be taken up at another special session Thursday afternoon.

Monday’s meeting was held via teleconference in keeping with social distancing guidelines. Thursday’s meeting is expected to be held in the same format. The city web site will have the teleconference numbers and other information for the public to access the meeting.