NEWS HEADLINES

Sewer rates to remain flushed

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bridgeport residents may see some respite in their wastewater rates.

Fees are typically determined each year by averaging water consumption in January and February. But this year’s numbers may be skewed because of the city’s transition to automated meter infrastructure (AMI) metering technology.

Ongoing installation of the new meters has extended the reading cycle of many accounts the last two months.

As a result, city staff recommends foregoing averaging this year’s totals and instead using existing rates. The city council agreed, and at its meeting last Tuesday approved the motion.

The AMI metering technology is one of the fundamental steps in the city’s continuing performance contracting with Siemens Inc. Also at the March 19 meeting, council reviewed the company’s fifth payment request of $375,115.

The project is 80 percent complete. Crews need only to return to check on accounts that had issues with the stop valves.

All city facilities have also received new interior lighting, and workers are now replacing street lighting.

HELP WITH ANOTHER UTILITY

The council also agreed to extend a two-year contract to Texas Neighborhood Services for its utility assistance program.

The program assists qualifying city residents with their utility bills when they are unable to make payments.

Through this agreement, the city agrees to:

  • provide Texas Neighborhood with a customer’s billing and usage history for the past 12 months upon request;
  • extend a customer’s electric service for up to five business days while Texas Neighborhood determines if the customer is eligible for assistance as deemed by the Utility Assistance Program (UAP) guidelines; and
  • continue or restore electric service to a customer after Texas Neighborhood pledges a payment on that account.

In exchange, Texas Neighborhood agrees to:

  • pay pledges to the city within 45 days;
  • determine if a customer is a certified customer within 10 days of contacting the city; and
  • provide the city with a list of names, telephone numbers and email addresses of its staff.

The city has a similar agreement with Wise Area Relief Mission.

Residents in need of the assistance may contact 940-626-4277 or 817-598-5700.

In other news, the council also:

  • made no motion in order to further discuss a request from the Bridgeport Area Chamber of Commerce to distribute alcohol at the sixth Annual Barnett Shale Sporting Clay Shoot April 25; and a $65,000 bid for perimeter fencing and $24,601 for utility vehicles for the Northwest OHV Park.
  • approved a client certification with First Check Applicant Screening verifying the proper forms are used in pre-employment screening background checks.
  • granted a $5,000 Main Street Matching Facade disbursement to Debra Workman of Mask House; and hotel occupancy tax dollar allotments in the amount of $1,657 to the Bridgeport Historical Society and $5,000 to Diane Buck of Red’s and Barney’s Backyard. A request by the Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo Committee for $7,500 in HOT funds failed due to a lack of motion.
  • voted to continue its participation in the Atmos Cities Steering Committee, which requires a five cents per capita payment to fund regulatory and related activities related to Atmos Energy Corp.
  • proclaimed March 17-23 as Poison Prevention Week.
  • approved its March 5 meeting minutes and reviewed the March 7-20 payment report.

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