At the Rosenberg City Council workshop meeting Tuesday, council will reconsider its helicopter program with Fort Bend County.
It will be discussed behind closed doors. Council will hold an executive session in the middle of the meeting to deliberate the proposed termination of an agreement for law enforcement helicopter use.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:35 p.m. at City Hall, 2110 Fourth St. This item was brought up at the last regular city council meeting, where council considered doing away with the annual $7,500 agreement for helicopter use with Fort Bend County.
“This was an agreement between the council and Fort Bend County to make their helicopters available to the police department in Rosenberg at $7,500 a year,” former council member Alice Jozwiak told council earlier this month.
“They would provide everything that we needed. For $7,500, Fort Bend County was providing us full-time officers to pilot the helicopters. This would be a really foolish time to do away with that agreement. I think the helicopters are more valuable in that area than drones would be.”
Mayor Bill Benton said that he thought the city was getting a good deal with the program.
“In the floods of 2016, the city of Rosenberg got a lot of attention by the helicopter,” Benton said. “I will say, I like the helicopter. But I also like the cost savings.”
Council member Isaac Davila agreed, and said he would rather have access to the helicopter in the case of an emergency. Rosenberg Police Chief jonathan White explained that his department’s new drone program would aid the city in ways that the helicopters couldn’t.
“We are starting our aviation unit, which we can deploy immediately,” White said at the last meeting. “The helicopter is a great use to us. It has been in the past.
“Whether or not it can come out when we need it is a case-by-case situation.”
Council members Kevin Raines, Jacob Balderas and Richard Olson said they were in favor of continuing with the drone program and getting rid of the helicopter agreement. Ultimately, the three were outnumbered by Benton, Davila and council members Lisa Wallingford and Steven DeGregorio.