Katy city council appoints new fire chief, passes resolution to protect against sex offenders | #predators | #childpredators | #kids

The Katy city council approved several measures from a packed agenda at Monday’s city council meeting. The meeting was a hybrid between in-person and Zoom; city council members and city officials met in-person at city hall, and the meeting was live streamed for viewers.

At the meeting, the council appointed a new fire chief, approved a new ordinance to keep sex offenders away from children and passed multiple resolutions.

The Katy Fire Department officially has a new fire chief. The council unanimously appointed Kenneth Parker as the department’s chief. Parker has been serving as interim chief since the departure of former Katy Fire Department Chief Russell Wilson in October.

Before the vote, council members praised Parker for his work as interim chief and expressed their certainty that he will serve the city well as chief.

“I appreciate everything you’re doing for the fire department, and I think you’re going to do a great job for us,” said city council member Rory Robertson.

“There’s not been a time we haven’t been able to reach out to interim chief Parker and have our questions asked and answered,” added council member Chris Harris. “I think he has a great vision for where he wants to go in the future with our fire department.”

“I’m honored to be able to appoint him as fire chief,” added Mayor Bill Hastings. “He has done an excellent job so far. He has the utmost respect from everyone in the department, and I know we have a lot of happy firemen tonight.”

Parker took the oath of office at the meeting, surrounded by his family.

The city also passed a new ordinance designed to keep registered sex offenders from moving into the Katy city limits.

Under the new code, sex offenders may not get within 2,500 feet of any space where children congregate, including schools, playgrounds, public parks, bus stops, video arcades, skate parks and athletic fields.

Prior to the ordinance, the city followed the state mandate of 1,000 feet of separation between sexual predators and children.

The ordinance was requested by Katy Police Chief Noe Diaz.

Harris, one of the biggest supporters of the ordinance, said he was approached by several residents expressing concern over the proliferation of registered sex offenders within the Katy city limits.

In addition to protecting children in the places they gather, Harris noted, the new ordinance will make it impossible for sex offenders to take up residency in the city.

“The intention is to hang an ‘unwelcome’ sign for sex offenders near our children and our community,” Harris said.

The city council also authorized the issuance of unlimited tax road bonds by Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No. 163 in the amount of $1,085,000 for the Avalon at Spring Green. The bonds are part of the voter-approved package from November of 2012.

The bond, city documents state, will pay for the construction or improvements of paved roads, drainage and stormwater detention facilities, landscaping and irrigation and flood plain and wetlands regulation.

The most significant expenses for the project are for paving improvements to Spring Green Boulevard and Firethrone Road in the amount of about $545,000, documents show. Other project costs include landscaping improvements and reporting fees.

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