City Council postpones Atmos’ rate increase request during March 22 meeting

Mayor Rue Rogers called the City Council meeting to order Monday, March 22, at 6 p.m. In attendance were Mayor Pro Tem Tom Parker and council members Phil Jeske, Tommy Kimbro, Chuck Stennett and Terri Wipperman, who offered the invocation.

There were no speakers during the citizen’s comment period. The City Council welcomes citizens comments and requires citizens to sign-in by 5 p.m. before the meeting to address the Council. The speaker’s time is limited to three minutes.

Mayor Rogers said he reviewed the meeting minutes from March 8 and confirmed no additions or revisions. The Council voted to accept the minutes unanimously.

Next, Mayor Rogers presented a proclamation declaring National Library Week 2021; He read the declaration aloud. “Whereas libraries of all types are at the heart of their cities, towns, schools and campuses serving their communities, whereas libraries are accessible and inclusive, belonging and community. Whereas libraries and their services extend far beyond the four walls of the building, and everyone is welcome to use their resources.” Refer to the full article about National Library Week on Page 3.

The meeting continued with a presentation by Nick Hardwick from Enterprise Fleet Management. Hardwick divulged that his goal was to present a plan that would improve the efficiency of vehicles owned by the city.

“I think this is a good plan that will help you [the city] run a newer and more efficient level of fleet vehicles for less capital and operating dollars than the city is currently spending,” Hardwick said.

While Hardwick pointed out that operating a new fleet would reduce expenses significantly, the Council did not vote to move forward without a thorough review of the documents.

“If we miss a deadline, we miss a deadline. And even next year [if we take action], we will do a deeper dive into the numbers until everybody feels comfortable and willing to make a $150,000 commitment for the next five years,” Jeske said.

The Council voted unanimously to table the discussion until the next meeting.

Following Hardwick’s presentation, the Council considered the interlocal agreement with Young County to approve the demolition of properties held in trust. The Council was unable to decide because of unclear verbiage in the contract. Mayor Rogers deferred to City Administrator Neal Welch, urging him to clarify the terms of the agreement. The Council voted to table the issue until the next meeting.

Regarding the lease agreement with Young County on 201 Anderson Place—a five-year term for $500 a year—the Council unanimously agreed to approve the lease agreement.

Item nine on the agenda was the interlocal agreement with Young County for law enforcement support. This agreement entails dispatch services currently in place. With no changes in the contract, the Council unanimously approved the deal.

The final item on the agenda was an action item to deny Atmos’s rate increase request related to its Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program, also known as GRIP. Atmos notified cities of its intent to increase rates under the Texas Utilities Code; The code allows companies like Atmos to “recover reasonable increases in capital investments” via a customer surcharge. The Council had the option to either approve Atmos’s request, suspend their request or deny it. The Council unanimously agreed to approve Resolution R3-21, resulting in a 45-day postponement of the rate increase request.

Mayor Rogers adjourned the public portion of the meeting to open the executive session to discuss candidate interviews for the City Secretary position.

For more details about this meeting, check the city’s website to retrieve a copy of the minutes. The meeting is recorded and available the following morning on our city website:

The next City Council meeting will be held at 201 E. Main Street April 12, at 6 p.m. You may join the meeting online:

You can also dial in using your phone: 1 877 309 2073 (Toll-Free).Access Code: 155-754-501.

The Olney Enterprise

213 E. Main St.
PO Box 577

Olney, Texas 76374

Phone: (940) 564-5558

Fax: (940) 564-3992