By David Webb
KAUFMAN–The Kaufman County Commissioners Court is proposing about a two-cent increase in the tax rate for 2014-15 to pay debt on road improvement bonds voters approved in November 2013.
The proposed tax rate is 57.62 cents per $100 property valuation. Without the increase, the tax would have been 55.3513 cents to raise the same amount of revenue assessed last year.
The court scheduled public hearings on the proposed tax increase for 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 5 and Monday, Sept. 8. The hearings will take place at 100 N. Washington St. in downtown Kaufman.
County Judge Bruce Wood noted that the tax rate in 1999 was 48.90 cents, growing to 55.65 by 2007 and remaining there through last year.
Prior to the court considering the proposed tax rate, two residents of Precinct 4 spoke during the public comment section of the agenda. The two residents complained about the condition of the county’s roads with one complaining about large potholes that damage cars.
Another resident complained that the precinct commissioners do not work together by sharing materials and equipment to keep roads, county-wide, in good repair. He said taxpayers routinely vote commissioners out of office because of their failure to improve road conditions.
County Judge Bruce Wood noted a tax rate analysis showed that the amount of tax revenue dedicated to roads and bridges had decreased from 11.40 cents in 1999 to 7 cents or less ever since.
The court has not yet determined how much of the new proposed tax rate will be dedicated to roads and bridges for 2014-15, but Precinct 1 Commissioner Jimmy Vrzalik said he would like to see the amount increased significantly.
“I’d like to get that back as close to 11 cents as possible,” he said. (See related story in a follow up story in either the Sept. 4 or Sept. 7 issue of The Monitor on Road and Bridge funds, portion spent through Aug. 25 and percentage left to take commissioners through to fiscal year’s end Sept. 30.)
In other action, the court:
• approved a final plat for 9-0 Ranch Subdivision in Precinct 3. Wood said the county would be developing a checklist of steps needed to be undertaken by developers submitting plans to the court for approval.
“We’ve been through a period where we didn’t have a lot of development, and now we’re beginning to see development,” he said.
• approved spending $37,227 for the printing of the new annual tax statements.
• appointed Veterans Services Officer Clayton Kelley as the new vehicle fleet policy manager for the county. Kelley said his first project would be to inspect the inventory of county vehicles and assess their quality.
• proclaimed the month of September as Childhood Cancer Awareness.
• deputized Hepitasio L. Perea, Mitchum K. Patterson, Michael G. Breadon and Joe Harris for Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office.
• approved the retirement of a canine known as “Certtis” from the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office.
Posted by : August 31, 2014| On :
By David Webb
Posted by : August 28, 2014| On :
By David Webb
GUN BARREL CITY–The southern segment of a petroleum pipeline running through the Cedar Creek Lake area that ruptured in Mayflower, Ark., in March 2013 has reopened between Corsicana and refineries on the South Texas Coast.
The reactivation of the southern segment of the 60-year-old Pegasus Pipeline by ExxonMobil is raising concerns among Cedar Creek Lake residents that the northern segment between Patoka, Ill., and Corsicana will also be returned to service. The pipeline runs through the Cedar Creek Lake area by the airport, through Harbor Point residents’ yards, under the lake and through Tom Finley Park on its way to Corsicana.
When the pipeline carrying Canadian tar sands bitumen ruptured in Arkansas it polluted Lake Conway and forced evacuation of residents in a Mayflower neighborhood. About 210,000 gallons of the Canadian crude leaked from the large rupture, and residents complained that the lingering pollution caused health problems.
The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration closed down the pipeline, but the southern section was allowed to reopen in July after officials approved ExxonMobil’s reactivation plan in March.
Safe Community Alliance opposes the reopening of the pipeline, and its members hosted a town hall meeting in Seven Points in October 2013 to warn about the pipeline’s threat to the Cedar Creek Lake area if it resumes operation. Several residents from Arkansas traveled to Texas to tell their stories.
“There are too many unknowns for the public to feel comfortable with the Pegasus Pipeline restarting,” according to the organization’s website. “There is more than enough history with this pipeline, and with ExxonMobil’s “profits first” attitude for the public to feel comfortable.”
An independent report in August attributed the rupture to manufacturing defects in the aging pipeline. Critics of the pipeline complain that it was not built to transport heavy Canadian crude, and the Safe Community Alliance website features numerous photos of exposed areas of the pipeline.
City officials and business leaders in the Cedar Creek Lake Area have joined in the effort to prevent the pipeline from reopening.
Texas State Rep. Lance Gooden of District 4 said he opposed the reopening of the pipeline, and he contacted ExxonMobil for information about its plans. The company has not responded yet to his request, according to the Texas Tribune.
Texas State Sen. Robert Nichols of District 3 told the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce in August he would contact the Texas Railroad Commission that regulates the petroleum industry in the state to ensure the pipeline is proven to be safe before it is allowed to be reactivated. He agreed a rupture of the pipeline would pose a significant hazard to the area, saying “It would be a disaster.”
Cedar Creek Lake supplies water to Tarrant County in addition to lake area cities. The Integrated Pipeline Project from Lake Palestine to water customers in both Tarrant and Dallas Counties will be connected through Cedar Creek Lake facilities.
Nichols stopped short of saying he would repeat Gooden’s call for the pipeline’s permanent closure. “I can’t impact ExxonMobil’s business, but I will contact the Railroad Commissioner.”
ExxonMobil officials said the northern section of the pipeline would be reopened only “when we are convinced it is safe to do so” and have the permission of federal officials, according to the Texas Tribune.
ExxonMobil is contesting a $2.6 million fine ordered last November by federal officials.
Posted by : August 22, 2014| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–Scurry resident Nathan Chance Neighbors, 30, was arrested Sunday and charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
He is being held in the Kaufman County jail on a $25,000 bond.
According to an unidentified source, Neighbors carried his still sleeping girlfriend out to the pool of the rental house they shared and threw her in and then proceeded to hit her with pool cleaning equipment and dump pool chemicals on her, threatening her life.
When he went back into the house, the victim escaped to a nearby house and called the police.
The victim was transported by ambulance to Presbyterian Hospital in Kaufman and was treated and released.
Deputies opened an investigation and a felony charge against Neighbors resulted.
A public information request has been submitted to the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office to verify the information in this report.