Council Establishes Capital Improvement Fund

By George Slaughter

The Katy City Council Monday authorized the creation of a capital improvement fund, a short-range schedule of public improvements planned to occur over a three- to five-year period.

City officials described the plan as having three areas:

  • The capital improvement project fund uses about $2 million of current reserve funds for capital improvement projects that exceed budgetary allowances. Staff must recommend, and the council must approve, these projects. Examples include restoration of Fire Station #1 and expansion of the parking lot at the Katy Public Library, Municipal Court, and Police Station.
  • The department capital reserve fund creates a long-term budget for all departments to enable long-term planning and saving for large purchases and projects. Each year, a department can put up to 5% of its unexpended budget into this fund to save towards capital improvements or other large expenses.
  • The reserves fund protection plan requires half the fiscal year budget to be kept in the reserves fund up to $20 million. City Administrator Byron Hebert said the reserves fund protection plan was more of a policy than a line-item for the budget.

“Anything we do has to come back to you as a council,” Hebert said. “If we decide to move funds, anything has to come back to the council.”

Mayor Bill Hastings said last week that the idea for the capital improvements fund had been raised a few years ago but it had never come together until now. Ward A Council Member Janet Corte and Ward B Council Member Durran Dowdle called for establishing the fund earlier this month. The city last week held a public workshop to describe the fund, its organization, and use going forward.

“I’m real happy with this final product of step one of the process,” Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris said.

Other Actions Taken

In other action, the council:

  • Issued a proclamation recognizing October 2020 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
  • Observed a presentation of the Katy Police Department’s State Accreditation by the Texas Police Chiefs Association, which was received October 16.
  • Reviewed the city’s bank statement summary and check register through September 30.
  • Approved minutes for the August 27, September 2, September 8, September 14, September 23, and September 28 council meetings.
  • Cancelled the November 23 council meeting and December 28 council meetings due to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, respectively.
  • Approved two final plats in Cane Island.
  • Authorized up to $3.6 million in unlimited tax road bonds by Harris-Waller County Municipal Utility District No. 3.
  • Authorized an agreement with Swagit Productions of Dallas for video equipment to be installed in the council chambers for webcasting future council meetings. Presently the council meets virtually via Zoom. It has not met in person since March when the pandemic began. Hastings said last week he expected the council would continue to meet via Zoom for the remainder of the year in the interest of public safety during the pandemic.