By Mollie La Salle
COLMESNEIL – Local citizen David Gardner spoke to council members briefly about his concerns over the proposed meat-packing facility scheduled to be built just north of Woodville in the Tyler County Industrial Park area.
Gardner wondered if Colmesneil was having the same problems as Woodville in regard to water issues, garbage and proposed "feedlots" for storing cattle. "Nothing beneficial will come of this plant," Gardner said. Colmesneil Mayor Don Baird said that he was "surprised no one had come by city hall or called complaining" and said he was relieved, given the controversy in Woodville surrounding the issue.
Gardner said he had been in contact with the city of Navasota, home to K&C Meat Processing, which began operating in 1992. The plant in Navasota has brought very little to the local economy because they only have 10 employees.
According to Gardner, "Greg Gray is the mouthpiece for East Texas Packing in Woodville and they are looking around the county for locations to start storing cows." They are also looking for ways to get around regulations, so they don't have to call them feedlots. "It (the meat-packing plant) will stink up the whole county, and they will put feedlots in people's yards before it's over with," He also added that there is a water well only 300 feet from where they plan to lay the slab for the plant.
Gardner also said that the children of the late William Baggett, owner of Kara Farms in Woodville, had sold the property to cattle buyers in Ivanhoe and "we can expect to see feedlots out there". Sources familiar with the transaction confirm that the property was sold to ABC Tree Service.
In other business, council voted unanimously to decline Ordinance #110, which was a statement of intent and application for authority to change rates from Entergy Texas. Sam Bethea, representing Entergy, made the presentation for the rate change to council.
Entergy filed a rate change request/increase of $16.7 million. They also plan on rolling back $201 million to customers over the next two years. Bethea requested that council members deny the rate request; his reasoning was so that every city Entergy serves will have the same rates at the same time. Council voted to deny the rate change request.