Grapeland council votes to refinance USDA loan
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones Managing Editor Following a presentation by Brandon Bridges of Prosperity Bank, the Grapeland City Council Tuesday unanimously approved refinancing an existing $388,000 USDA loan. Council member Wanda Nichols was absent from the meeting. By refinancing, the city expects to realize a savings of $36,988 over 15 years. When asked about other proposals, Grapeland Mayor George Pierson reported one bank wanted to come make a proposal in person to the council, but could not attend the Aug. 9 meeting. He said a third bank that was consulted did not respond. “Brandon has given us a good deal on the refinancing,” Pierson said. Before the vote, Council member Jimmy Moffett expressed concern about the amount of time council was given to review Bridges’ proposal. “We’ve had this 15 minutes and we’re going to make a decision in five. Ya’ll have had this all month to look at.” The council also unanimously agreed to purchase a $50,000 money market account at Prosperity bank. The funds come from the sale of the city’s garbage truck to Hutto Garbage Company. The truck sold for $70,000. Bridges explained that with a money market account, the city will have access to the funds at any time. The remaining $20,000 from the truck’s sale will be used for street improvements and demolitions ordered by the Building and Standards Committee, City Supervisor Trey Job reported. In other action, the council unanimously granted approval for Police Chief John Smith to negotiate contracting with a local wrecker service. Smith stated he would like to use local companies instead of going through the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. He said there sometimes is a 45-minute wait for a wrecker to come from Crockett when a vehicle needs to be towed, and that it recently cost $370 to move a vehicle two miles. The council also unanimously accepted an effective tax rate of .575436 per $100 valuation. This reflects no increase for Grapeland citizens this year. In other business, the council *Changed the city office hours to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with closure from 12 – 1 p.m. for lunch. (unanimous vote) *Accepted the donation of one-half acre of property from Delbert and Joanna Walker. The property is located adjacent to Chestnut St. and will be used as a detention pond. The donation enables the city to proceed with the previously approved Market St. drainage project with TxDOT. *Authorized the city secretary to pay the previously approved $10,000 to TxDOT for engineering the Market St. drainage project. (unanimous vote) *Recognized Bob Rosenthal for his years of service to the city and for his help in facilitating the transition of the city’s garbage service to Hutto Garbage Company.