|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - June 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
City council picks new TEIDC board
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – A shake up in the board overseeing the city’s industrial development occurred last week when the Trinity City Council replaced three of its members. The Trinity Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (TEIDC) receives 25 percent of the city’s sales tax income each month and is charged with seeking ways to enhance business development within the city. During last week’s city council meeting, Mayor Lyle Stubbs declared that all seven seats on the TEIDC board to be vacant and made recommendations to reappoint four of the seven and to select three new members. New members named to the board included city councilmen Clegg DeWalt and Billy Joe Slaughter and public member Keith Johnson. Reappointed to new terms were council members Neal Smith and Wayne Huffman as well as public members Sharon Dennis and Art Walker. Former board members who were not reappointed included former Mayor Billy Jack Walker, Richard Jones and Lois Saldana. As part of Stubb’s recommendation, the four city council members would be given one-year TEIDC terms while the three public members would receive two-year terms. Stubbs appointment recommendation was approved by the council with Smith casting the only “no” vote. Interim City Manager Buddy Drake and Mayor Lyle Stubbs both said the changes were being made so that a “new direction” could be taken by the TEIDC board. Councilman Chris Dennis noted that he supported the change because it was clear that some TEIDC members were allowing their personal animosities to get in the way of their duty to the public. “I don’t think its right for someone to get their feeling hurt and vote against something that the people want,” Dennis said. “If your feelings are so easily hurt, you don’t need to sit on this board.” The incident to which Dennis was referring occurred during a March 29 TEIDC meeting when the board voted 4-3 to reject a proposal to fund repairs to some city streets. At that meeting Drake told the TEIDC board that state officials had ruled that TEIDC funds could be used to fix streets that served business areas – including those which carried customers directly to the businesses. During that meeting board member Billy Jack Walker, admitted that he had been in favor of the plan until that very morning when he felt a city employee has insulted him. He said that insult caused him to change his vote to “no.” All three of the former TEIDC members who were not reappointed voted against the street plan. Art Walker also voted “no” but was among those to be given a new term. After the March 29 meeting, Drake said he would resubmit the street plan to the TEIDC board at a later date and is now expected to appear before them soon after the new board is organized. Other business During the meeting, the council also: • Approved a new 30-year franchise agreement with CenterPoint Energy for natural gas service inside the city limits. Under the new agreement, the city’s share of the gross sales of natural gas in the city will increase from 2 to 5 percent per year. In exchange, the city agreed to give up its jurisdiction over rate and to accept the rates approved by the Texas Railroad Commission. Drake noted that the current budget calls for the city to receive $8,500 in franchise fees from the company at the old 2 percent rate. The 5 percent fee could increase that payment to over $21,000 per year. • Received the independent auditor’s report on the city’s fiscal year which ended Sept. 30, 2009. The report from Ken Davis and Co. was an unqualified opinion, which the auditor said was the “best you can get.” Overall, she said the city has a “break even” year in all their funds. • Authorized Drake to pay a $12,688 fine directed to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The fine was levied last year over problems at the Trinity sewage treatment plant and TCEQ had offered to allow the city to pay half the fine and use the other half of the money -- $6,344 – to pick up and haul away used tires. The council agreed to pay the entire amount to TCEQ because they felt they no longer had enough time or manpower to conduct a tire cleanup campaign. They noted city workers will be occupied during the coming weeks with the ongoing street improvement project. • Approved a request from the Trinity Fair Association to allow the group to build a 20-foot extension on the livestock barn at on the Trinity Community Center grounds. Fair Board President Buddy Johnson said the expansion of the barn was needed due to an increase in the number of student livestock exhibits at the annual fair. He said the barn expansion is expected to be completed before the annual fair in September. • Approved an amendment to the city’s animal ordinance that will prohibit livestock from being staked out between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. each night. Officials noted they have been having problems with animals breaking free at night and getting on city streets and with animals becoming entangled in their ropes and choking. • Tabled a request from the Trinity Assembly of God Church to hook the church onto the city sewer system at the church’s expense. Although the church is located just outside the city limits, the council agreed they would provide what assistance they could but wanted more information before taking action. Drake and Public Works Director Delma Ellis were to meet with church officials to decide what could be done. • Heard a request from Michael Lewis that the city forgive a past due $469 water bill and allow him to “start fresh.” While he told the council he did not believe he was in arrears by that much, he added he did not have receipts to prove he made any payments not shown on city records. While the council rejected his request to forgive the past due amount, they did agree to allow him to continue to receive city water if he would pay his current bill each month plus $25 toward the $469 balance. • Met with City Ordinance Officer Kenneth Newton about the city cleanup effort. Newton reported on an old, dilapidated double-wide mobile home on Israel Otis Street that the city is seeking to remove. He noted the landowner, Precious Gibson, had given the city permission to remove it. Under a plan proposed by Smith, city crews will tear the mobile home apart using city equipment and stack it in a pile. The Trinity Volunteer Fire Department will then burn the pile and any metal left over will be hauled away for scrap. The council also gave Newton permission to provide a dumpster to assist in the demolition of another old home on Israel Otis. Newton said Johnny Cunningham is now in the process of tearing down the structure but would need the dumpster to haul away some of the unsalvageable items from the old home. • Heard from Jerry Russ during the public forum portion of the meeting. Russ wanted to know the steps that should be followed in an effort to change the name of Lakefield Street to Martin Luther King Avenue. The council said the best way would be to present a petition signed by all of the residents who live on Lakefield indicating they wanted the change. Council members noted that if the city approves the change, those who have Lakefield Street addresses would have to change their mailing addresses along with the addresses now listed on their driver’s licenses, checks and other documents. Russ said he did not believe there would be any opposition by residents on the street and asked the council to put the matter on the agenda for their July meeting.