By Kiana Poorford
It is now illegal to use any handheld device while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle within Buda city limits. The ordinance will allow for usage of such devices during a complete stop, which Police Chief Kidd defined as any time the vehicle or bicycle has ceased all motion, such as in traffic or at a red light. During a second reading at the July 7 meeting, Council Member Angela Kennedy noted there could be a mad rush for hands-free electronics like GPS devices. Kidd said stores such as Best Buy would be advised of the new ordinance. The motion passed, 6-0. Council member George Hahn, who voted against the measure on first reading, was absent. Mayor Todd Ruge said the city will not enforce the law for 60 days during which time Buda will conduct a public education outreach campaign.
Get a GRIP
Planning Director Chance Sparks and attorney Jim Boyle suggested a motion to amend the “Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program” (GRIP). This was in response to utility company Centerpoint Energy’s request for a rate increase in its South Texas division. “Rate cases” are the hearings utility companies hold before public hearing commissions to determine how much they can charge customers. GRIP allows for changing rates between different rate cases. Boyle cited a desire to make sure infrastructure projects like Centerpoint’s Smart Meters were in the best interest of the community, and to make sure the new rate proposal would be reviewed in a “timely and meaningful manner” in order to ensure the rates Centerpoint wants to charge are fair.