Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - July 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
State restricts cell phone use, city complies
Houston County Courier - July 2009
By Daphne Hereford
A new law, which is part of HB 55, passed by the Texas Legislature will make it unlawful to use cell phones when operating a motorized vehicle within active school zones.
During a regular meeting of on Monday night, July 20, members of Crockett city council discussed the installation of signs that will notify the public that the use of cell phones in those areas is prohibited.
The law will go into effect on Sept. 1 and signs stating, “Cell Phone Use Prohibited, Up to $200 Fine”
The request from TxDOT indicated the state would pay for the cost and installation of the signs for state highways and Crockett city Administrator Ron Duncan will contact them to see what can be worked out on the installation of others that may fall outside the state’s right-of-way.
In other business, council approved a request from Habitat for Humanity of Houston County, Inc. for the city to donate two commodes, two sinks, all available usable 1x12s and all available glass blocks from the old ETMC Hospital to the organization.
Habitat President Carlton Jones thanked the city for the support they have provided the organization and indicated the group is prepared to start their third home.
Joe Garms, also representing Habitat told council that the organization could use some of the surplus items and sell the remainder for funds to assist with the construction of the next home.
Councilman Nathan Gardner asked Garms if the money collected by Habitat remained local.
Garms reassured Gardner that all Habitat funds remained local with the exception of 10 percent of individual donations, which amounted to about $60 per quarter, was sent to assist a building project in Kyrgyzstan, a former Russian country.
City fathers approved the extension of their depository agreement with Prosperity Bank until August 2011.
Council approved an employee health/life insurance interlocal agreement with Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Employee Benefits Pool through Oct. 1, 2010.
Duncan said there were no increases in the health or life insurance premiums.
Mayor Wayne Mask said the city had saved a lot of money using the TML program.
In a final action, council approved a resolution authorizing the filing of a grant application in conjunction with Houston County with DETCOG for a regional solid waste grants program grant.
In conjunction with the program, Duncan introduced the new refuse control officer, Raymond Fleming to those present.
Following the meeting, council participated in a budget workshop conducted by Duncan, who provided an overview of the proposed budget for the upcoming year.
Duncan said the Houston County Appraisal District would have the estimated tax rates soon and from there an estimated tax rate could be calculated.
Duncan said the draft budget currently does not contain an increase in the water, sewer or garbage collection rates but that there is a possibility of an increase in container rates.
He said he received capital requests totaling $750,000 but that he could not recommend funding any of them based on the current economic situation.
“This budget was built to hold at current levels,” Duncan said.
According to the schedule, the city will place the 2010 Fiscal Year Draft Budget in the city hall foyer for public viewing on Aug. 3.
Public hearings will be held on Aug. 17 and 24 and council is slated to approve the ad valorum tax rate on Sept. 8.