By Kevin M. Smith
Killeen Daily Herald
The Killeen City Council tabled an ordinance Tuesday that would bring the city into compliance with state law.
City Manager Connie Green and Assistant City Attorney Scott Osburn said there is no urgency to approve the ordinance to bring the Killeen law in line with the state's law for backflow prevention.
Councilman Kenny Wells asked for the ordinance to be tabled, saying he was not satisfied with everything the ordinance would accomplish.
The ordinance requires a backflow prevention system and annual inspection for any place where there is an actual or potential contamination hazard, such as a car wash. However, Wells said the ordinance was not specific enough about who would and would not need a prevention device.
Osburn said the ordinance is intended, in addition to meeting state standards, to clarify statements and fix shortfalls in the existing ordinance.
The shortfalls, according to a memo to the council, include lack of standardized recordkeeping requirements as mandated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, established procedures for certified tester registration monitoring and registration revocation, putting responsibility for program compliance entirely with the building inspection department rather than with the public works' water and sanitary sewer department, and specific parameters and direction to delineate what is required of each stakeholder, among other shortfalls.
Goals of the ordinance include establishing a more comprehensive backflow and cross connection program that will delineate the specific responsibilities of each party involved from the city to the certified testers, installers and ultimately the end user or customers, clarify and transfer between city departments the department responsible for ensuring the integrity of the city's potable water system and the safety of its customers in relation to backflow and cross connection control, among other goals.
"This ordinance is written exactly like the state law," Green said, noting it is not any more or less strict.
Councilman Larry Cole said he was also concerned that the ordinance was not clear about what is a potential hazard.
Mayor Timothy Hancock asked if the ordinance was time-sensitive. Green and Osburn said it is not.
The council, in a workshop, gave consensus to send the ordinance back to the staff and Water/Sewer/Drainage Committee for further review. At the meeting, the council voted to remove the ordinance as an item on the agenda.
In other business:
Police Chief Dennis Baldwin reported a 20.78 percent decrease in year-to-date burglaries compared to January through February 2007. He said that trend appears to be holding true through March, but will not have those numbers until the first week of April.
The council approved a $435,000 contract with Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc. for architecture and design services to build a new aquatic center at Lions Club Park. The firm's services will include the design phase, master planning of the site, construction oversight, surveying, geotechnical reports and a standard operating procedure for running an aquatic center.
The estimated $4 million project is expected to open Memorial Day weekend in 2009.
Killeen Emergency Management Coordinator Chad Berg delivered a presentation during the workshop about Ready Killeen – a cooperative effort between Fort Hood and the city. The program, a spinoff from the pilot program Ready Army, promotes preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery during disasters. Berg said in preparing the Ready Army campaign, the military realized that disaster recovery for soldiers must extend beyond the post boundaries.
"Preparing a fort is only part of the battle," Berg said, noting many soldiers and their families live in surrounding communities.
Berg said the campaign will include informing residents about what to do in the event of an emergency.
"We have to inform our citizens about what specific hazards are in our city and area," Berg said.
For more information, visit www.ready.gov.
The council heard a report from Municipal Compliance Collections Manager Jaime Ratliff about methods of fine payment. Ratliff said during the workshop that offenders can pay fines – if not in its entirety by the due date – in a 30-day extension period, with monthly payments, through community service or by serving jail time. The fines can also be waived if the judge finds indigence – too poverty-stricken to pay.
Councilman Billy Workman asked the court, which handles class C misdemeanors, to consider broadening the scope of community services opportunities to help clean up the city by picking up trash or painting over graffiti. Judge Barbara Weaver said the problem with that is it is difficult to find someone to volunteer to supervise the offender. Workman volunteered.
Class C misdemeanors include animal, city ordinance and traffic violations.
Contact Kevin M. Smith at email@example.com or call (254) 501-7550