District of Houston file photo

Animal complaints figure in bylaw report

Building maintenance also an issue

Council has approved replacing a key watermain as part of its ongoing downtown revitalization project.

It’ll happen at the same time as Copeland Ave. is widened to accommodate a right turning lane onto Highway 16.

That widening was to take place in a future phase of the downtown work but with Tim Hortons now open and construction of a gas station/convenience store to start, there is increased traffic so the project was advanced to this year.

And with the watermain now 56 years old, consultants Urban Systems suggested it be replaced at the same time.

“The District is uncertain of its exact location and condition,” said District operations manager Chris Lawrence in a memo to council. “If the widening project proceeds without the watermain replacement, the District could run the risk of having to replace the watermain in the future if a failure occurs.”

“This would involve excavating asphalt, curb and gutter, sidewalk, and any landscaping in the area,” he added.

The widening price is $143,500 with the watermain replacement to cost $71,107.73 for water and $17,956.5 for sanitary.

Urban Systems had also indicated that the pricing it submitted was subject to approval by May 19, the day after council met to consider the additional work. The company had been told the cost of pipe will be going up by 23 per cent as of May 31.

Library grant approved

Council has approved a grant of $122,000 to support the Houston Public Library. It’ll be paid in quarterly installments and is the same amount as was granted in 2020.

As with many other public services, the library has been affected by the pandemic and shifted to online provision of material and other innovative measures.

2020 annual report out for inspection

Council has released the District’s 2020 annual report for inspection by residents and has set June 15 as the date to accept it.

The report, the release of which was approved at the May 18 council meeting, contains information on the District’s activities for 2020, including updates on strategic planning and specific goals and objectives.

It is structured so that each department provides an individual and detailed update.

There’s also a message from the mayor and the chief administrative officer along with an accounting of District financial information.

Industrial incentive bylaw moves along

Second reading was given to the proposed industrial revitalization tax exemption bylaw by council May 18, leading the District toward third reading and, if passed, eventual adoption.

Qualifying businesses would be eligible for tax exemptions based on the value of improvements on a five-year sliding scale beginning with 100 per cent the first year and decreasing in 20 per cent portions to a final 20 per cent in the fifth year.

The bylaw would essentially mirror the intent behind existing tax exemptions available to other commercial enterprises within the District.

As such it would meet the District’s longstanding goal of encouraging and stimulating business investment, generally increase the value of assessments subject to taxation and add to job creation. It would apply only to municipal assessments and not include taxation for schools or other purposes.

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