Tomball council members had a long discussion about electricity during their regular meeting Jan. 20.
With the city's current contract with TXU Energy set to expire in April, city staff presented the council with a proposal to extend that contract, as they had negotiated a rate that will save the city thousands over the next few years.
Several council members had questions as to why the city did not request competitive bids for the service, to which fiancé director Glenn Windsor and city manager George
Shackelford responded that the contract was considered a professional services contract and does not require a bid.
Councilman Derek Townsend said that the city had not done its due diligence since it did not seek other bids.
"Aren't we doing a disservice to our citizenry?" he asked. "It's a contract for a product."
Windsor explained that the relationship built over the last three years with TXU and their commitment to strong customer service with the city is the key as to why they recommend extending the contract.
Council members Preston Dodson and Mark Stoll agreed that taking the contract for bids now would be a risk.
"We are taking a huge risk opening up bids now," he said, while adding later that since the electricity market changes, the city could be in for a big rate increase by the time bids roll in.
"We are coming to the end of the contract and we need to make a move," Stoll added.
The council ultimately agreed to extend the contract, with Townsend being the lone no vote.
Bruce Hillegeist, president of the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce, along with Cisco's Salsa Company owner Laura Wilson, addressed the council about plans to change a 1944 ordinance which regulated alcohol content within the then city limits.
Hillegeist explained that the ordinance was written to combat rowdiness that engulfed the town during the railroad boom. However, that ordinance only encompasses part of the current city limits, leaving some business owners at a disadvantage. The area is roughly from the post office to the railroad tracks.
"It is past time to level the playing field," he said.
Wilson said that the ordinance leaves her at a disadvantage because she had to apply for a private club license.
"It's an expensive and paperwork intensive process," she said. "When you are working against other businesses in town it can be a deterrent."
Wilson and Hillegeist plan to organize a petition drive in the near future to get the repeal of the ordinance on a future ballot.