Chester council cancels November city election

By Chuck Davidson

Five of six Chester City council members met Monday, Sept. 11, in City Hall at 6 p.m. and voted to cancel November elections to fill two positions as no one had registered to oppose the current members.

Board member Jimmy Herrington's resignation was then accepted and with board approval, Patrick Cherry's appointment was accepted and he was sworn in by Mayor Floyd Petri to complete Herington's two-year term.

The mayor has been appointed Chester's emergency manager to work with the state and Tyler County officials.
An immediate concern is to upgrade the emergency radio system which currently functions at a 50 percent level after repairs; this is part of the ARES which is used to facilitate communication during an emergency.

Chester does have one working antenna but needs another one and may need a new radio system. No action taken.

The city park's lighting and scoreboard needs were discussed with the decision to wait for the electric company to check out why lights do not currently work. Finding a compatible control box to run the scoreboard at the city park is also under way.

The meeting adjourned at 6:51 after a lively discussion on the reelection process for council members and usage of office space by non-official citizens.

Colmesneil school board OKs 2018 budget, tax rate

By Mollie LaSalle

Colmesneil ISD trustees met Aug. 31 in a shortened meeting to discuss budgets and tax rates. The board quickly got down to business, approving the minutes of the special called meeting of Aug. 10 before moving on to the business at hand.

Superintendent Angela Matterson laid out in detail the items for consideration, and the board approved, in short order, the following items:
• Amendments to the 2016-2017 school year budget;
• Approval of the 2017-2018 budget;
• Approval of an ordinance adopting a tax rate for 2017-2018;
• Approval of a Joint Election Agreement and Contract for Election Services with Tyler County; and
• approval of an order for a CISD School Trustee Election, to be held Nov. 8.

One item on the agenda, the approval of payments of final bills for the 2016-2017 school year, was tabled until the September meeting.

The topic that was front and center was the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

The new school year was only one week in when Harvey rolled in and put a halt to all school activities. Students had to take an extended break during this time, as did all schools in the county.

Plans for the students to start back on Sept. 5 were rescheduled for Sept. 6.

CISD has received a waiver for five days from the Texas Education Agency in regards to missed school days, and students will not be required to make up these days due to the hurricane.

Closing weekend at Lake Tejas was cancelled due to safety issues and condition of the water due to the storm.
Plans to drain the lake — which is done every year after Labor Day — were still in place.

Matterson closed out the meeting on a positive note, stating that enrollment is up for the new school year, and students and teachers are eager and excited to get back to school.

Ivanhoe keeps tax rate at 71.021¢, accepts proposed budget

By Valerie Reddell
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Ivanhoe City Council dove into financial matters for the upcoming fiscal year with the adoption of the ad valorem tax rate, keeping it at the same rate — 71.02 cents per $100 in taxable value — as the prior year.

Mayor Cathy Bennett told those in attendance that the value of unimproved property in the city had been reappraised, so more revenue would be coming in from vacant lots.

After reviewing a budget proposal by line items earlier in the month, the council accepted a proposed budget, clearing the way for a public hearing on the budget set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 5.

City Secretary C.D. Woodrome reported that revenue looks good with two months to go in the 2017 fiscal year.

Council members accepted the resignation of two members of the planning and zoning commission. Bennett announced a signup sheet would be posted in the community center. Anyone interested in becoming one of the two new members should add their name to the list.

The council discussed revisions to the contract to rent city hall for social functions, but voted down the suggested contract until they could meet with the property owners association to resolve discrepancies.

Ivanhoe voters will head to the polls on Nov. 7 to elect three council members to two-year terms. Anyone interested in seeking one of the positions should pick up a packet at city hall.
During her report on the municipal court, Judge Judith Haney reported that

City Marshal Terry Riley had participated in a multi-agency effort that involved executing several "knock and talk" search warrants with assistance from officers from Hardin and Liberty counties as well as the Texas Rangers, a helicopter and two drug dogs.

In the days following the effort, Riley noted many residents have opted to move out of Ivanhoe.
Haney reported that 78 citations had been issued in July, 24 closed and she has begun issuing warrants for people who have not appeared before her. Three Ivanhoe residents had been jailed on Class C offenses. Several cases involved charges of criminal trespass, dogs running at large and assault.

"People are beginning to realize that the citations are real, the court is here and they need to come take care of their problems or discuss it with the court," Haney said.

Work is finally set to begin on a 2015 FEMA disaster recovery project, city officials announced.
Expenses will be paid out of the street maintenance fund and FEMA will reimburse the city for 75 percent of the project cost, including labor provided by city staffers.

Ivanhoe's independent audit included an unmodified opinion, meaning the financial reports are true and correct.

Pattillo named Colmesneil city secretary

By Mollie LaSalle

Colmesneil City Council ordered a general election for Nov. 7 to fill the expiring terms of the mayor and two at-large council seats.
The council unanimously agreed to hold a joint election with other entities in Tyler County and contract with elections administrator Donece Gregory.

Mayor Don Baird noted that if no one files for the positions of mayor and the two at large council seats, the city would save $2,500.
Repairs to City Hall were discussed, stemming from damage that occurred April 7, when a postal vehicle ran into the front of the building.
The city accepted a bid from JSW Construction of Chester to do the repairs to the building. No set time has been chosen for the work to begin.

A comment was made about repairs to Pitzer Road, and Baird reiterated the fact that the city has applied for a grant in regards to repairs, and that the Colmesneil is in the top 20 cities to receive funding.

Concerns over the age of the water and sewer lines in the city were discussed at length by council members.

The current system was installed in 1973, and council members noted that these systems are only designed to last 30 to 40 years.

City secretary Mandy Pattillo reminded everyone present that the deadline to file to run in the upcoming election is Aug. 21.

Pattillo assumed the position of City Secretary on July 25, after the resignation of Carrie Holson, who had held the position since 1996. Carrie has moved to Albany, Texas with her new husband, and we wish her all the best. She will be missed.

In other business, the council renewed the contract with Citizens Bank.

Financial reports for the city were tabled until next month, as bank statements had not come in the mail in time for the meeting.

Risinger: Woodville revenues down across the board

By Valerie Reddell
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Woodville City Manager Mandy Risinger advised the mayor and council Monday that revenues in most budget areas are tracking below budget and lower that the same period last year.

She reported that the city might have received a dime in oil and gas royalties during the year, and fines and fees in the municipal court are down.

"Property tax is less than anticipated, sales tax is down and all departments are working on a shoestring. Everybody is very tight," Risinger said.

Normally by this point in the budget year, permit fee revenue has amounted to about $30,000 but this year they are currently at $12,000, she added.

All cities seem to be in the same boat, Risinger said.

City Council member Lee Mann said many business owners are reporting that "business is off."

Municipal Court Judge Judith Haney advised council members that on Sept. 1 a state law would take affect banning use of all handheld devices while driving.

"You cannot talk, or text on your phone — even if you are talking into the speakerphone," Haney said.

Drivers can use a Bluetooth device — but unless they fit a limited number of exceptions they could face a fine of $266 for the first offense.
For further details on the texting while driving law, visit

The council approved a request by Woodville High School to close Charlton and Wheat Streets for a community pep rally from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 14 in conjunction with the homecoming football game.

In response to Mann's question about the traditional bonfire, WHS principal Morgan Wright explained that there is no longer a safe location to hold a bonfire — even if weather conditions would allow it.
The turf at the Summit would melt if the event was held there, Wright explained.