Drought, revitalization discussed among Wichita Falls City Councilors

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Wichita Falls City Councilors met in a regular session meeting on Tuesday, April 16, 2023, with topics of revitalization, establishing a charter review committee, and updating drought restrictions.

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Central Wichita Falls Revitalization

Director of Development Services Terry Floyd brought an update on the progress of revitalizing the 'heart' of the city.

Floyd mapped off an area from Seymour Highway down to Kell and between Kemp and Brook as an area for the city to look at for revitalization.

Between meetings and listening to neighbors, preserving, advancing, and connecting were three values taken away from the discussion. Floyd said progress is being made but people have to remember it's a marathon, not a sprint.

"They're from our input session and ideas and potential thoughts. The first will be coming to you next, next council meeting, and that's the appointment of a committee to help us talk about these ideas to make recommendations to you," Floyd said.

A committee will be established on May 7, consisting of neighbors, business owners, and a couple of councilors.

Updates to drought restrictions and raw water sales

The city is also updating water conservation and drought restrictions. New Utilities Operations Manager Mark Southard went over changes with councilors.

Homeowners now have a little relief when watering their grass. Instead of facing a fine of water runoff down the curb at 50 feet, it's changed to 100 feet.

Also raw water sales from lake Kemp, which currently sits over 70 percent, gives the city better control on raw water sales for industrial use.

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"We have some different restrictions regarding what the lake level is and what their reduction is required below 50%. But yes, this does allow us to control restricting some of that use before they hit the cut-off at 50,000 acre-feet," Southard said.

Updates to the plan are required every five years and will be submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by May 1.

City Charter Review Committee Established

As part of the city's strategic planning, Wichita Falls Councilors move forward with establishing a charter review committee.

City attorney Kinley Hegglund presented councilors with recommended names along with the three councilors who would serve on the committee. Those councilors would be Jeff Browning, Tom Taylor, and Bobby Whitley.

A unanimous recommendation to also be on the committee is former mayor Stephen Santellana.

In moving forward with this committee, Mayor Tim Short said the committee will polish the charter and ensure it's up to date.

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"The things that don't apply anymore, conflicts maybe with state law, and then they bring those back to council and then those things would move forward to be on the ballot in November. So citizens vote as to whether or not to make any changes, if any, are recommended at all," Short said.

The committee will consist of eight members, if any amendment changes are recommended, it will be placed on the November ballot for citizens.

This is a developing story. Stick with Texoma's Homepage for updates as more information becomes available.

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