|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Stories Added - September 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
Council members discuss various issues
San Jacinto News- Times
SHEPHERD – Shepherd resident Scott Eshelman told city council members about a synthetic drug that is being sold in a couple of Shepherd and Coldspring stores and asked council members to pass an ordinance prohibiting its sale. “The synthetic drug is sold as K2 or Spice and when it is smoked, gives users a marijuana- like high and is six times more potent than marijuana,” Eshelman told council members. According to reports, an increasing number of youths are turning to it and it’s perfectly legal. “Several kids know about it and it’s being sold in a couple of local stores in Shepherd and Coldspring,” Eshelman said. Eshelman, a drug counselor who works with kids said, “It’s not sold in the open. You have to ask for it when you go to purchase it.” Its growing popularity is causing increasing alarm among health care professionals, law enforcement authorities and lawmakers, according to Eshelman. “Without a local ordinance you can’t ban the sale of it,” he said, adding, “Polk County has already addressed the issue with an ordinance.” Shepherd Mayor Glenn Dillon said the council will look into passing an ordinance banning its sale after researching to see if the city has the authority. In other business, Shepherd City Council members heard about preliminary plans to construct a splash park and water slide with a “theoretical” swimming pool. The theoretical splash park would be about 104 feet by 58 feet wide with a Pirate theme. I would be funded, according Councilman Waid Williams, with a 100 percent grant totaling $1.5 million. The city has to get the grant, get the money and buy the land before getting the park. Giving an overview of the 2010-2011 Shepherd City budget, Mayor Dillon said, “We cut cut it five percent from last year’s budget. Last year’s budget was $1.62 million and it is now $1 million.” According to Dillon, everyone got cut, including health care. “We are essentially at a fund balance budget. We’re eating into our fund balance. I’m not recommending any increase in taxes or utility fees,” Dillon said. Council members are still reviewing plans for the city’s proposed emergency shelter that will be constructed where the Shepherd Community is located. Changes made to the original plans will cost the city from $20,000 to $25,000 and a sixmonth delay. Regardless of the additional cost, Councilman Derlin Barnhill said he wants it done right and made a motion to resubmit the plans and move construction “up the hill,” from the current building that will be demolished. The motion passed. A motion was made and passed to pull $100,000 out of the city’s reserves and put into the 2010-2011 budget for rebuilding the new community center. “The funds have already been allocated,” Barnhill said. Barnhill also pushed to get council members to take $300,000 out of the city’s reserves and put into the 2010- 2011 budget for the purchase of property for a “theoretical” splash park. The motion was passed.