The Palestine City Council approved a request from the Hampton Chase Apartments to supply utility incentives for the development project.

The estimated cost of construction for the complex is $4.5 million. The request was for six, 2-inch water meters and boxes and four fire hydrants totaling $7,730.

“This is such a small amount to pay for such a large project,” council member Steve Presley said during Monday’s meeting. “Other cities have had to pay much more to get a project of this magnitude.”

The apartment complex will bring much needed affordable housing to the area, according to local officials. The property is backed by state funding, and was supported in several previous actions by the council.

Until the city manager can develop a new incentive policy for the council to approve, he wanted to bring each request for incentives to the council members.

The council also approved the spending of $13,205 for the purchase of meter reading equipment and an upgrade for the software. The company, Master Meter, will supply two days of in-house training to the employees on the changes to the software.

The new features, according to customer service specialist, Mike Ohrt, will enhance customer service.

In other action, the council received an update on the petition drive to rally support for funding of the state park system.

“I believe we will exceed the goal of 500,000 signatures,” said councilwoman Andrea Baird. “We are focusing on making this a statewide issue because it gives the state a reason to find a long-term solution to the problem.”

Mayor Carolyn Salter reported the park systems cut service to 46 parks, which was “unacceptable.”

In other business, the council:

• HEARD the mayor’s and city manager’s report.

• OPENED bids on work trucks and police patrol units.

• APPROVED the city manager to negotiate an agreement with the Anderson County Area Fund to create a 501C3 origination within the city to accept donations for the city parks.

• DENIED a replat of the Grace Bible Church.

• APPROVED minutes, resolution authorizing submission of contract amendment for TDHCA for S. Jackson Sewer Improvement Project and related change order No. 1, purchase order for Library Software maintenance, purchase of garbage bags, contract for asbestos abatement at Rusk School, disclosure agreement with FSC Disclosure Services, execute a letter of agreement with ATMOS Energy regarding repair when line are damaged.

• APPROVED an ordinance calling for the May 13 election.

• APPROVED budget amendments for FY 2004-2005 and FY 2005-2006.

• APPROVED a resolution ratifying settlement agreement between Steering Committee of Cities served by TXU and TXU Electric Delivery.

• TOOK no action from closed session discussions on a lawsuit.

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