Holder taking oath

Michael Holder, left, takes the oath of office while Royse City Secretary Deborah Sorensen reads the oath aloud. Holder was appointed by councilmembers in late September to fill the vacancy left when Charles Houk resigned to accept the position of Royse City Community Development Director.

Michael Holder officially filled the vacancy on the Royse City Council after taking the oath of office at last week’s meeting. 

Holder was appointed to fill the vacancy Sept. 24 after Charles Houk resigned to accept the position of Royse City Community Development Corporation Director. 

“I’m so excited,” Royse City Mayor Janet Nichol said. “I think he’ll be a great council member.” 

In the council’s search for a person to fill the vacancy, Mayor Nichol said they were looking for someone who already had an interest in the city and could bring ideas to the council. 

“When it comes to Main Street, he’s got a business here, so we’re looking forward to it,” she said. “He’s a really neat guy; a real community-oriented guy.”

Holder, owner of 1885 Barbershop & Shave Parlor, said he developed an interest in the Royse City community after becoming more involved upon opening the barbershop and shave parlor more than a year ago on Main Street. 

“It’s exciting to be an actual business owner and then be on council to help the city grow,” Holder said. 

One of the goals he had in mind is focusing on keeping the “downtown area stay vibrant.”

“It’s a quarter mile off the interstate so it’s going to grow out there, but we want it to grow down here too,” he said. 

In other business, the council approved a payment to the North Texas Municipal Water District for manhole maintenance and inspections for the Parker Creek and Sabine Creek wastewater interceptors. Royse City contributes 15 percent of the total cost of improvements to the Parker Creek wastewater interceptor - since the city shares it with the City of Fate - bringing the construction and inspection cost for the Parker Creek interceptor just more than $102,000. Manhole construction and inspection for the Sabine Creek interceptor is just under $341,000, bringing the total on manhole improvements to $443,000. City Manager Carl Alsabrook said the improvements to the wastewater interceptors were normal maintenance that had been considered for some time.

“If the manholes get bad, you get more runoff that increases the amount of sewage taken to the plant, which could necessitate the enlargement of the plant, which is $10 to $20 million, a lot faster than if you fix these manholes for $400,000,” he told council members. “$400,000 sounds outrageous, but if you could hold off on a $10 to $20 million improvement to a sewer system with fixing those, I’d say it’s worth it.”

The full amount of $443,000 for the project would come out of the city’s water and wastewater fund.

“This is something we’ve tried to get done for a while and we’re in a position to do it now,” Alsabrook said.

“This would cover about 100 manholes so it’s a large project,” Royse City Director of Finance Shannon Raymond said at the meeting. 

An annual agreement between Rockwall County and Royse City for fire protection services was approved, where the Royse City Fire Department would provide fire services to areas outside the city limits. The county will pay the city $73,000 for the services, which is a $10,000 increase from previous years’ contracts. 

“Per my understanding, the county had extra money and they allocated departments in the county and extra $10,000,” Royse City Fire Chief Richard Bell said when asked by Councilmember Tom Crowley where the increase came from. 

The council appointed Lee Loveless to fill a vacancy on the Community Development Corporation Board that was previously held by Charles Houk before he resigned to accept the position of CDC Director. Loveless will serve out the rest of the term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2019. 

Council members agreed to cancel their regular meetings set for Nov. 26 and Dec. 24 due to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. 

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