ITALY – During its regular meeting Monday night, the Italy City Council named James Hobbs as replacement for Mark Souder Sr. who resigned his seat.

Mayor Frank Jackson read a letter from Souder stating he is working evenings and will be unable to attend any meetings until the end of the year.

The council had a slate of three residents to fill the vacancy: John Droll, Tom Little and Hobbs.

Rodney Guthrie, mayor pro tem, noted all three men were qualified to do the job but said Hobbs contacted him for his support.

Guthrie made the motion naming Hobbs to fill the vacancy until May. Greg Richards seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

From the public

Linda Sullivan addressed

the council regarding the $25 reconnect fee residents incur when they pay the water bill 10 days late.

Jackson explained to her that the reconnect fee is added to a water bill once the disconnect list goes out the door of city hall on the 25th of the month.

Water bills are due on the 15th of each month and incur a $25 late fee when not paid by that date.

Carl Jaynes questioned the city’s height requirements for front yard fences.

He said he understood that a front yard fence cannot be more than 30-inches tall but said he knows there are fences in town that are taller.

Jackson said fences may be more than 30-inches tall as long as you can see through them.

Department reports

Italy Police Chief Diron Hill presented the council with a detailed report that is less “one-dimensional.”

He prepared a crime comparison report that compared various types of crime in July 2010, July 2011 and year-to-date 2010 and 2011. Hill said this is more of an “apple-to-apple” comparison.

Burglaries topped the offenses in 2010 with 72 percent. Aggravated assault and property crimes were at 14 percent each. In 2011, those numbers changed – burglary, 38 percent; property crime, 31 percent; aggravated assault, 23 percent; and forcible rapes, 8 percent.

Officers issued 204 citations in July 2010 and 263 citations in 2011; they made eight arrests in July 2010 and 11 in 2011.

Dean Carrell, public works director, said they are blasting the No. 3 well, which is clogged with silt.

Resident Tom Little said the water tastes better than it has in the past.

Carrell said the water is safe to drink but said the taste will improve even more once the additional storage tank is constructed. He said the new storage tank gives the water more time for impurities to settle before it goes to the water tower.

Budget process

Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, said she is working on the upcoming budget. She said the council should expect no additional revenue and noted insurance rates are increasing 20 to 25 percent. She said the water bond project is moving forward.

She added that the city did not qualify for grants from the Texas Department of Rural Affairs this year.

Prior to adjournment, the mayor announced the council’s appointments: Guthrie, police/fire departments; Richards, water/sewer; Dennis Perkins Jr., finance; Bruce Utley, streets/sanitation; and Hobbs, courts/code enforcement.