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The Copperas Cove City Council will grant a request by the Chamber of Commerce to fund this year’s Rabbit Fest.

The request presented Tuesday at the council’s regular meeting was presented outside of the usual timeline for Hotel Occupancy Tax funding. Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Yancey asked Chamber President Alicia Menard why the organization was making such a late application for funding.

“From what I have been told, the Chamber’s direction at that time didn’t lie in applying for HOT funds,” Menard answered. She was named the president of Chamber in February and put in the application for city funding last month.

“This event needs the HOT funding, it qualifies for it, and so...I just felt like I should give it a try,” Menard said.

The city council reduced the Chamber’s original request, approving a budget amendment to allocate $11,255 for the event. The vote carried 5-2, with council members Kirby Lack and Charlie Youngs voting no.

Lack had objected to the fact that the council was making an exception to its rules to allow the Chamber to request the funds. Youngs said during the vote that he wanted the Chamber to get all the money it requested, so he was voting no.

Menard said after the meeting that she was excited to get the funding and grateful to the council for granting her request.

“I look forward to accomplishing a lot in the future together (with the council),” Menard said, promising to apply for HOT funding for a variety of Chamber activities.

Interim City Manager Ryan Haverlah also made a report on billing and other complaints about the city’s third-party water service.

Haverlah gave examples of complaints that have been made against Fathom by its customers, and then talked about what the city has done to solve the problem.

Among the problems covered by Haverlah were errors in settting up auto pay dates, generating late fees and, in come cases, disconnect notices. In one case, a customer’s payment came out of their account on the same day their utilities were set to be diconnected.

Haverlah also said there have cases where customers received two or more bills on the same day or very close together. However, most of the time, customers were getting bills for prior months and then getting their current bill within days of each other.

Haverlah said the issue most often occurred when there were problems manually reading meters, or connectivity problems with newer meters. In either case, customers were not notified that their bill might be late, causing confusion and complaints.

Haverlah emphasized that the city has reached out to all customers who have made complaints, though some customers continue to have issues despite attempts to resolve the problems.

The council also decided to approve a proposal to lower the all-day rental fee for the Copperas Cove Civic Center from $500 to $250.

The council approved a change to the city’s Personnel Improvement Plan to bring an in-house engineer to the city’s staff. The measure passed also renames the Planning department, which will now be called Development Services, and reclassifies two positions in the Parks and Recreation department.

The council also approved a switch in committee assignments, letting Council member Joann Courtland move to the Citizens Focus Group, while Council member Fred Chavez switches to the Quality of Life committee.

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