by Michael G. Maness
Hoke Hart was appointed by Mayor Floyd Petri to fill the term vacated by Vincent Incardona after an affirmative consensus of the council at their regular meeting Monday evening, May 1. After the city council was convened, a vote was taken and passed, and then Petri swore Hart in, his hand on a Bible.
Petri led all in the pledges of allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags. Petri welcomed again Hart, a retired trucker and minister, and asked him to lead the invocation.
Petri welcomed Entergy Customer Service Manager Sam Bethea to the council. Bethea presented a request from Entergy for a city resolution supporting Entergy's desire to build the Montgomery County Power Station. Bethea gave a lot of information and fielded several questions. Essentially, the power station will bring a large economic benefit and insure Entergy's ability to meet future electrical demands. The MCPS will be a modern combined cycle gas turbine that will also use excess steam to increase efficiency. The $1 billion dollar economic impact will employ 750 during construction and supply 25 permanent jobs. Bethea had already secured resolutions from Colmesneil and several chambers of commerce. These will be part of a package submitted to the Public Utility Commission of Texas. If approved, the project will start in 2019, and the MCPS will become operational in 2021, generating 993 megawatts for Tyler County and several other counties. The council approved the resolution supporting Entergy's MCPS.
City secretary Annette Hickman read the minutes of the previous meeting, and they were approved. The financial statements were likewise approved.
Hickman and office assistant Charlot Thomas discussed at length the dates and penalties for being late on bills. The consensus was that the due date of the 15th was sufficient, and any bill not in by 12 midnight the evening of the 15th would incur the standard penalty. The council, as reflected by Charlotte Barnes and Hart, desired that "kindness" be the rule in the city's effort to meet the needs of the citizens and also be careful to be fair to the city's responsibilities.
Next month, Hickman will make a recommendation on the gas prices to help the city make ends meet during the winter months. The budget is thin, and they barely make enough to break even. Hickman, reflecting the desire of the council, did not want city to fall short during the winter months and stress funds allocated for other exigencies.
In the on-going effort to improve the city park, Petri was glad to announce that he will be speaking at the Chester Lions Club who wanted to help with a park project. Petri and the council were more than glad to welcome their aid. The city has a little money for supplies, and Petri will outline the city's planned projects, ready and willing to support the Lions Club. The council was so grateful, and this will allow more the scarce funds to go directly to material rather than labor.