by Darby Kethan
Prior to the city council meeting, Mayor Russ Nalley welcomed advocates for child abuse and neglect prevention, and declared April as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention month in Woodville. In presenting the proclamation, Nalley stated, "Child abuse and neglect is a community problem", and urged all present to be aware of this problem and to do what they can to bring awareness to the problem.
Nalley also presented a proclamation of April as Autism Awareness month to Amy Bythewood, city council member and Benjamin Bythewood IV, advocates for autism awareness. The Mayor issued a third proclamation regarding National Fair Housing Act month in Woodville. The proclamation, read by councilman Lee Mann, declared fair housing opportunity for all a priority in Woodville, and encouraged all community members to abide by letter and spirit the laws and regulations regarding fair housing.
The minutes from the prior city council meeting were approved by all present. The first order of business was a request from community member, Johnnie Murphy, a resident on Cobb Mill Road, regarding the dangerous speeding of motorists along the road. He cited the recent incident when a neighbor's pet was run down, and told of several times where pedestrians were either hit and the driver left the scene or had to take to the ditch for safety as cars sped past. He estimated the speeding motorists along that road currently reach between 30-50 mph and that signs posting speed limits are too few and too far apart. Murphy ended his presentation to the council with the plea suggesting to the council that "they take a look at this problem" in the interest of protecting residents and preventing the possibility of a serious accident or death in the future. Council agreed to look at what could be implemented immediately, with Chief Scott Yosko suggesting immediate increased patrolling of that area, signs to be posted more strategically, and long term, with other options to be discussed. All agreed this is a serious problem and must be addressed.
Item two on the agenda was a request from Woodville city residents, Robert and Linda Weldon for a 6-month variance in the city ordinance, 38-54, which regulates RV and mobile home use within city limits. The Weldons are recuperating from ailments and are requesting that a primary care giver be able to live in a RV temporarily to provide care after surgery. The council agreed to consider the request, and established a committee to study the situation and report to the council and then to the Weldons.
Item three was the consideration for approval the usage of city streets and barricades on May 6, for a 5K benefit run for cancer awareness and to assist Coach Mixon. Permission was granted by all present for the planned route and equipment, including permission for school campus officer, Bubba Sheffield, and the use of his patrol vehicle during the event. Item four on the agenda was to consider for approval the 2017 price index adjustment to municipal telecommunications' right of way access line rate, with all members present voting pro. This is a Public Utilities Commission regulation, which concerns the amount that telecommunications charge customers for the use of existing city utility services. The increase, as explained by City Administrator Mandy Risinger is small, and in approving the current increases of about $.03, will avoid a larger amount later on. Item five, to consider for approval the appointment of a city council representative as board member to the Deep East Council of Governments Board of Directors was tabled until the next meeting, with Mann agreeing to consider such an appointment.
Item six, a report from Risinger, noted city offices closing Friday, April 14, in observance of Good Friday. Other items presented included the Industrial Park water well awaiting additional approval on corrosion plans, the Pine St. water well work continues on water storage tank and building, code enforcements activities on new construction, a request (approved) for the council to host a quarterly meeting of Region 16 Texas Municipal League, a cooperative for pooling resources for the betterment of cities in Woodville, and a recap of the past several weekends' events, including the Dogwood parade and Western Weekend, reporting "all went well".
Judge Judith Haney reported on the municipal court activities with 192 citations issued and processed. Included in that number are 9 parents charged with contributing to non-attendance of students to public school, with 2 being repeat offenders, and 1 family violence offence. There were 37 speeding offenders, with several clocked at 30 plus MPH over the posted limit and one clocked at 96 MPH inside the city limits. $33,223.00 was collected in fines. She said all 4,000 current cases are currently being reviewed as part of an ongoing process in place to keep information on pending warrants current. Police Chief Yosko reported "all went well with Dogwood and Western Weekend, with no arrests. Other arrests included drug related, aggravated kidnapping, resisting arrest, embezzlement and the assault of an infant and an elderly person. Fire Chief Marshall reported, thankfully, little activities, with two car fires, only 4 calls total, and the use of 2,800 gallons of water. Mayor Nally expressed his personal and the collective appreciation of the entire community to Chief Yosko and Chief Marshall for the excellent job they and their personnel perform in serving our community.
Community events upcoming include April 27, TCAL, a "get together" for visiting with members and guests, May 6 Benefit run for Cancer, and Mother's Day Event, 13-14 weekend, at the Emporium, "Life Thru the Eyes of a Mother". Also upcoming on Saturday, April 29, is the First Responders Family BBQ, at the WUMC church activity building. Mayor Nalley commented, "First responders are our heroes"; this event is a way of expressing community appreciation and recognition of those who serve our city and county.