Aron Kulhavy

Huntsville City Manager Aron Kulhavy addresses a large crowd during the annual State of the City event. 

Huntsville City Manager Aron Kulhavy will receive a 3 percent raise under a contract amendment ratified Tuesday by the City Council.

Mayor Andy Brauninger said the raise followed a favorable performance review for Kulhavy. The amendment is the first to his contract since Kulhavy became city manager in 2018.

“Aron is doing an excellent job and we are really fortunate to have him here in Huntsville,” Brauninger said. “The camaraderie and morale of the city employees is up, and that is attributed to the positive vibe that Aron brings.”

Brauninger also applauded Kulhavy for the 2016 bond projects, which are approximately $3.3 million under budget. The most expensive of the projects — Proposition 3 — will upgrade the city’s water and sewer infrastructure at a cost of $45,444,142.

Mobile home park OK’d

In other action, council members approved a conditional use permit for a 5.26 acre expansion of a manufactured housing park on Powell Road. The Dallas-based purchaser bought Hidden Valley Mobile Home Park and the adjoining property in December 2018 with plans to add approximately 20 new mobile homes sites to the complex.

“Most of the lots will be built close to Powell Road, so there will be a large buffer between the units and Clay Circle,” said property owner Cono Casella. “We intend to create a really good community and will continue to improve the existing park.

Casella stated that only eight or nine of the 36 lots at Hidden Valley Mobile Home Park are tenant owned, but he told the council that the intent is to sell the new units.

“The property owners have agreed to conditions that go above and beyond our code,” planner Leigha Larkins told the council. “Staff is confident in our conditions, which includes fencing, landscaping and tree buffering in between the park and the neighborhood conservation area behind it.”

The application was approved by a 5-2 vote, with Mayor Pro Tem Joe Emmett and councilwoman Mari Montgomery voting against.

Parking restrictions

Council took no action on the first reading of an ordinance that would amend parking restrictions in the Avenues, west of Sam Houston Avenue, after homeowners reported difficulties with on-street parking after the 2017 implementation of the yellow curb program.

The new ordinance would still prohibit parking in all yellow curb areas within the district, but allow property owners to request that the city remove the yellow curb on either side of their driveway.

“I think this is a good compromise,” councilmember Paul Davidhizar said. “I received calls for months when we had all yellow curbs painted, with citizens concerned about not being able to park in front of their homes. This gives homeowners the option to park there or not.”

“We had a problem two years ago and we did the best we could do,” Emmett replied. Now we are wanting to turn that decision around and we will have the same problem.”

Council approves permit fee structure

The city council unanimously approved a request to change how the city derives permit fees on residential properties.

City officials were forced to change the formula, which used to be based on the value of the project, after the passage of House Bill 852 by the 86th Texas Legislature. The bill prohibits municipalities from basing residential building permits fees on the valuation of the work or the cost of construction.

With the new ordinance, the city will base permit fees off the square footage of the improvement, which is meant to continue to cover the cost of providing the permit and inspection services associated with the construction.

The next scheduled meeting of the Huntsville City Council is set for July 2.