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Tax rates, proposed street name changes on busy council agenda

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in News

Deer Park City Council's next meeting will open with an executive session concerning industrial district agreements. The workshop begins at 5:30 p.m. with the regular agenda to follow at 7:30 p.m., both at City Hall, 710 E. San Augustine.

Following the executive session, council has several items on its workshop agenda.

Council will discuss the city's Water and Sewer Rate Study from Robert McLain of McLain Decision Support Systems. Since 2011, the City has hired McLain Decision Support Systems each year to provide an updated water and sewer rate study. McLain assesses the city's current and future expenses of the Water and Sewer Fund, including all present and forthcoming debt supported by that fund. He then models various ratemaking options which may be used to help us achieve required revenues. During preparations of the proposed FY 2014-2015 budget, council discussed raising water and sewer rates by 5 percent for the next fiscal year. This will be the first increase in water or sewer rates since 2010.

Also, council will hear highlights from a previously delivered quarterly financial report as well as discuss amendments to the financial fraud policy for the city. These include our grant policy, capital expenditures & improvements, journal entries, bank reconciliations and escheating checks. Fraud includes, but is not limited to, misconduct, dishonesty, misappropriation of funds, improper cash handling, forgery, improper conflicts of interest, theft, destruction of property and any illegal activities. Per the policy, city employees must report to management any observed or suspected fraud.


SJC students show U.S. Secretary of Labor workforce training

Written by staff. Posted in News

SJC-LaborSecU.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez watches Michael Jones run an IP scan. Jones received free training in the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) course and the certified ethical hacker course with funds from the Technology Training for Tomorrow (IT3) grant. Photo credit: Jeannie Peng-Armao, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez recently visited San Jacinto College, where he turned valves with students in the process technology pilot plant, assisted with a crying SimBaby, and watched a student run an IP scan from the College's system.

Secretary Perez was on a pr- Labor Day tour across the country to visit with workers, employers, and community leaders to discuss workforce training and the economy. He shared his experience as he went along on Instagram using the hashtag #FindYourPath.

"At my last stop in the Houston area, I enjoyed meeting nursing students at San Jacinto College - and learning about infant care," noted Secretary Perez on his page. "The program received Labor Department funding to prepare people for good jobs in growing health care fields. The college's partnerships with area employers help students find employment when they have completed their training."


Shell FCU's free gas giveaway a success

Written by staff. Posted in Community

SHellFCUGasPhoto provided by Shell Federal Credit Union.

Shell Federal Credit Union changed 150 lives on last week as it hosted its second gas giveaway. Shell FCU employees pumped free gasoline was pumped at the Sellers Bros. Shell gas station at 3602 Underwood in La Porte. Vehicles arrived as early as 4 a.m. to be one of the 150 vehicles to receive $30 of free gas. This free event was open to the public and recipients did not have to be a member of Shell FCU.

Because the first gas giveaway event in October 2013 was so successful among local news and radio stations, Shell FCU decided to increase the number of recipients for its second gas giveaway from 100 to 150. Before the 7 a.m. pumping began, 150 vehicles were already in line while numerous local news stations were airing live. Also, local radio station 94.5 The Buzz was on-site passing out free items and providing on-air live update.

Through onsite media coverage and the power of social media, the free gas giveaway event spread like wildfire and had an incredible turnout. The event had more than 1,000 social media mentions from various media outlets and individual shares. Shell FCU also encouraged the free gas recipients to take a 'selfie' while waiting for their free gas using the hastag #shellfie. Several recipients even snapped a 'shellfie' with the Shell FCU employee that pumped their gas.

Shell FCU is 'Changing Lives' every day through community involvement, interest rate reduction and financial literacy. With positive support, Shell FCU helps individuals pay off debt and start saving.

Following the credit union philosophy of People Helping People, Shell FCU is dedicated to serving and giving back to their communities. Anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Harris County is eligible to bank with Shell FCU.


Letter to the Editor: Citizen questions Storm Water Utility Fund

Written by Letter to the Editor. Posted in Community

This letter will be detailing the many reasons why the City of Deer Park should transfer Storm Water Utility Fund from an enterprise fund to the general fund. The transfer would not be without precedent, given a similar transfer concerning the Battleground Golf Course. Both transfers concern not just the funds needed for this year, but for the many years to come.

A public hearing of the City of Deer Park was held in the City Hall on Oct. 19, 2010 for the proposed ordinance titled "Municipal Storm Water Drainage Utility System." Mr. Gary Jackson, assistant city manager, commented that the proposed storm water utility was an unfunded mandate from the federal government. However the utility fund was not mandated. The City of Deer Park is not required to set up a special fund. Mr. Jackson was the only one to speak in favor of the request along with discussion from the mayor and council members.

The hearing was then opened for those persons desiring to speak against the request. Several citizens spoke against it. Their basic objection was because it was a tax even though it would be called a utility fund. I was not able to attend the meeting, but also objected later during a regular city council meeting.

At the Oct. 25, 2010 workshop further discussions on issues relating to a "Municipal Storm Water Drainage Utility System" and associated fee was opened to discuss it in more detail.


Kayharian earns top prize DP Art League show

Written by staff. Posted in Community

DPALScholarshipThe Deer Park Art League recently presented its fall art exhibit. The winner of the Best in Show Award was the group's newest member Saghi Kayharian. Her beautiful painting was titled "Villager Man." The next meeting of the Deer Park Art League will be held in the visual arts room of the Theater Courts Building on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. Anyone interested in art is invited to attend.


Business Spotlight: Air Value Inc.

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in News

Proper maintenance vital to life of A/C units

AirValueAir Value Inc. offers residential, commercial and industrial customers the services and parts and units they can depend on. From offering tips for maintenance to service calls at a reasonable price, Kyle Bunch and Air Value can help customers save hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars in A/C repair costs. Photo by Bobby Vasquez.

Now that Mother Nature has remembered what Texas Augusts are supposed to be like, Texans are taking more advantage of their air conditioning systems.

Kyle Bunch, owner of Air Value Inc., a family owned and operated company, year-round maintenance of an A/C unit is vital to the life of the system. Improper care or ignoring your air conditioning unit can drastically drain the life of the unit and drain your pocketbook.

"Without maintaining what you have, you'll end up having to replace your coils, your motors and a lot of other parts," he said.

Bunch recommends receiving professional A/C maintenance twice a year.

"When we come out, we purge the drain line. If you don't maintain your drain, that's where your unit can start failing. It can rust the whole unit out," he said. "If you don't keep the outside coils clean, they can corrode."

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