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Galena Park refutes charges in citizen protest

This water bill from the City of Houston water department, shows the account of the City of Galena Park. On the left, top line under AMOUNT DUE, Past Amount Due is $0.00. The line below that shows the monthly charge for water, $72,571.08 but it is not overdue. The copy of the water bill was furnished to the NORTH CHANNEL STAR by the City of Galena Park. It does not show any unpaid balance on the account, as charged by Dolcefino Consulting.

GALENA PARK – The city, through its attorney Robert Collins, has refuted the claims made last week by a citizens protest group at the opening of the city swimming pool.

The protestors included city commissioner Maricela Serna, charging the city and the Mayor with secrecy in their method of running the city, stating that City Hall was not open to the public, that Commissioner meetings were closed and limiting what was discussed and told to the public, and in general the business of the city was hidden so that some persons would benefit from the secrecy.

It was also charged, in a public information release by Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting, that the city had a back unpaid bill of $705,000 to the City of Houston for water supply.

Collins said that each of these charges were untrue, and some through a misunderstanding of circumstances.

For instance, he said that City Hall is open, people can come in to pay water bills, and if they use the speaker on the door they can be admitted for other business. The city has decided, he said, that for the protection of employees access would be limited, commissioners meetings would be by internet. The decision was driven by several deaths in Galena Park from COVID-19. Masks and distancing are not effective enough, he said. He said this was due to the Governor declaring a Pandemic Emergency, which is still in effect. When the Emergency order is lifted, City Hall will reopen.

He said there was no past due water bill as claimed, and produced a current bill from the Houston water department, showing this newspaper and the public that the past due balance was $0. He noted that Dolcefino weekly requests information from the City Secretary, apparently on a hunt for malfeasance that doesn’t exist. Collins insisted that the city responds appropriately and timely, in spite of Dolcefino’s lawsuit claiming undue withholding of information. He also raised the question of who had hired Dolcefino to investigate, and why.

As to Commissioner Serna’s complaint about a muted microphone, Collins said that she was attempting to discuss issues that were not on the official agenda for the meeting, which is not permitted.

Whether Moya is doing a good job for the city, Collins pointed out that the majority of residents seemed happy with the governing, as evidenced by results in the last election where Moya had strong support.