OVILLA – The Ovilla City Council held its monthly meeting Monday evening beginning with a short briefing session followed by a public hearing and the regular council meeting agenda.

The public hearing regarding the closing of Water Street was a joint hearing heard by both the city council and the city’s Economic Development Board. Only one resident spoke in favor of the permanent closing of the street. The resident also expressed that he felt the city should be responsible for paying for the surveillance in regard to the closing.

Closing Ovilla’s Water Street has been a topic in the city for several months, a petition for the closure was presented to council at the Sept. 22 council meeting. Closure discussions began in June and if approved will allow for the downtown merchants to have additional parking. The city has the option to close the street and transfer all city rights of the land to the homeowner/business owners.

The public hearing was part of the procedural process before the closing can be voted on by the council.

Public Works Director Brad Piland said before the meeting that his research appeared to indicate that Water Street had been opened prior to 1935, but that the closing is a step toward the revitalization of Ovilla’s downtown.

The council members also recognized Ovilla Christian School student Abigail Falksen at the council meeting. It was her artwork this year that won recognition at the recent city’s Heritage Day Celebration.

Ovilla Mayor Richard Dormier said Falksen’s artwork will be silkscreened for next year’s Heritage Day t-shirts.

“This was a school assignment and began when our teacher wanted us to paint a mural in the hallway at school,” Falksen said.

Monthly reports were heard from the city’s department heads and when asked about the number of neighborhood checks by the police department last month, Ovilla Police Chief Mike Moon said the neighborhood checks are up because of a lack of calls.

Moon also mentioned his department is now fully staffed, but he is still looking to fill the part-time position in the department.

The council passed routine consent agenda items including minutes of past regular and special council meetings and financial transactions.

Additional items on the agenda included an update with one citizen making comment regarding the increase in sewer and wastewater costs to residents. It was several months ago that the rates were increased due to the discovery by the Trinity River Authority that it had been under billing the City of Ovilla for a number of years.

“The Trinity River Authority is not in the business to make or lose money,” Dormier explained adding “there probably should have been an increase a long time ago if the meter had been caught.”

The year to date flow as of August was 8.27 percent higher than projected with an anticipated increase to the city of $13,411. It was also noted that last spring there were 360 sewer customers in Ovilla and as of this month there were now 414 sewer customers.

Council approved in a 5 – 0 vote an ordinance with revisions adopting the 2009 International Fire Code with amendments as necessary.

Also in 5 – 0 votes council added Angela Love and Windy Zabojnik to the Parks Board, completing the needed five members and Ozzie Molina was added to the city’s Municipal Services Advisory Committee.