At Home in Houston
A few of the basics about relocating here. In Texas, residential consumers can shop around for the electrical service provider of their choice. The largest providers are Reliant Energy and TXU Energy. The Texas Public Utility Commission provides information about choosing an electric provider, rate comparisons and much more at the Texas Electric Choice Education Program, and the City of Houston offers an informative website that can help with shopping for electrical service providers in the region. In Houston, natural gas is supplied by CenterPoint Energy. For more information and to set up service, call 713-659-2111 or visit its website. Water and sewer service for residents of the City of Houston is provided by the City of Houston Public Works and Engineering Department and is available by calling 713-371-1400. Other incorporated municipalities in the Houston area provide their own water and sewer services to their residents. Contact your local governing body for full information.
Cable Service The primary cable service provider in Houston is Comcast, which offers high-speed Internet, cable TV and phone service. Another option is AT&T U-verse, with digital TV, Internet and phone options. Satellite dish services are available in Houston through DISH Network and DIRECTV.
Telephone Service The primary telephone service provider is AT&T, but there are more than three dozen local service providers, as well as most major brands of cell phone service providers. The City of Houston and the immediate surrounding area have three area codes: 281, 713, and 832. When calling from one of these area codes, 10-digit dialing is required for local calls. Three other area codes—409, 936, and 979—are part of the larger ten-county Houston metropolitan area.
Texas Drivers License New residents must obtain a Texas driver’s license within thirty days of establishing Texas residency. New residents with a valid out-of-state driver’s license who own a vehicle and would like to obtain a Texas driver’s license will need to provide proof of Texas registration, proof of liability insurance, Social Security number and out-of-state license. The only examination required is a vision test. If the out-of-state license has expired, a new resident must take a written examination, a behind-the-wheel examination, and a vision test. Those who do not own a vehicle do not have to show proof of insurance but are required to complete an affidavit of non-ownership. At the time of application, new residents are required to surrender their valid or expired out-of-state driver’s license. All original applicants for a driver’s license or identification certificate must present proof of identity satisfactory to the Texas Department of Public Safety, as well as take the written, driving and vision tests. For information about documents that may be presented as acceptable proof of identity, go to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website. First-time foreign applicants must prove legal U.S. residency before obtaining a Texas driver’s license. A beginning driver of age fifteen or older can apply for an instruction permit, which enables the holder of the permit to drive with a licensed driver who is eighteen years of age or older in the front seat. To obtain an instruction permit, a beginning driver must pass the written portion of the driving test, and those under the age of eighteen must also take the classroom portion of an approved driver’s education course. For more information and locations of Texas driver’s license offices, visit the Texas Department of Public Safety website.
Auto Registration/Tags Vehicles must be registered in Texas within thirty days of establishing residency. In Harris County, registration is done with the Harris County tax assessor-collector. Call 713-368-2000 for full information, office locations and associated fees. Residents of other counties must register at their county tax office. The following information is necessary to register a vehicle: an out-of-state title or registration; a sales or use tax affidavit; a current Texas driver’s license; a Vehicle Identification Certificate (Form VI-30-A), indicating the vehicle has passed a safety inspection; a current odometer reading; customs documentation if from a foreign country; and proof of insurance. Members of the U.S. armed forces and nonresident students attending accredited Texas schools on a full-time basis are not considered state residents. Registration and license tags must be renewed every twelve months by mail, in person or online. In addition, all Texas vehicles must pass a safety inspection every twelve months at a state-regulated inspection station. A vehicle that passes inspection must display a current state inspection sticker in the lower left-hand corner of the front windshield, just above or below the license sticker. Texas has a mandatory driver’s liability insurance law. All drivers are required to carry proof of liability insurance in their vehicles at all times.
State Liquor Laws The minimum drinking age in Texas is 21. Drivers are prohibited from consuming alcoholic beverages while operating a vehicle. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws are strictly enforced and can carry a sentence of jail time, even for first-time offenders. Texas also has a driving under the influence (DUI) law that penalizes those who are under 21 and have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system when driving a motor vehicle.
Pet Licensing/Leash Laws In Texas, all cats and dogs must be vaccinated against rabies by the time they are four months old and must receive a booster one year after the initial vaccination. After the first two vaccinations, cats and dogs can be vaccinated at either one-year or three-year intervals. Additionally, cats and dogs in Houston must be licensed. Any veterinarian can vaccinate your pet and provide license tags. The City of Houston Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control (BARC) may impound any dog or cat not restrained on a leash or without proper tags. For more information, contact BARC at 713-229-7300. In Harris County outside the Houston city limits, contact the Harris County Veterinary Public Health Division at 281-999-3191. Pet owners are also required by law to pick up after their pets in public areas.
Living Excellence says a lot about Camden, our apartment homes, our employees and our residents. It means unique residential environments. It means well-trained, responsive on-site employees. Camden understands the needs of their residents, and promises exemplary levels of customer service and a commitment to deliver excellence at every point of contact. With three communities in the Katy metro area, Camden has an apartment home that fits your needs and lifestyle.
Martha Turner Properties
Martha Turner Properties’ award winning team of relocation specialists will assist you in finding the perfect home and neighborhood in the greater Houston area. Call to receive our complimentary Relocation Guide. 800-927-2774, www.marthaturner.com
Memorial Lutheran School
Please join us at the 2013 Auction and Dinner
Benefiting Memorial Lutheran School
Saturday, April 20, 2013
at The Westin Galleria Hotel Plaza Ballroom
5060 West Alabama
Theme: Groovy Nights
Attire: 60s Mod, Hippie Chic or Nice Dress-wear Special
Guest: Dana Tyson, Sunny 99.1 Morning Radio Personality
6:30PM Silent Auction Begins
7:30PM Seated Dinner
Live Auction Follows Dinner