Posted by : November 23, 2013| On :
By David Webb
The Monitor Correspondent
PAYNE SPRINGS–The Payne Springs City Council installed two new members at its Tuesday meeting.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael McDonald stepped down from the council, and new members Ron Spahlinger and Ethel Hagin took the oath of office along with returning incumbent Linda Carr. Then the council appointed Carr as mayor pro tem.
Mayor Rodney Renberg presented McDonald with a plaque of appreciation and praise for his many years of service on the council.
Before the new members took their seats, the council took up several items of existing business. The council rejected a motion by McDonald to move the seating of the new members up on the agenda after an objection by Carr. “I feel we have some issues this council needs to address before we seat the new council,” Carr said.
Immediately after police Sgt. Matt Edmonds presented his police report, Carr asked for an item regarding police issues on the agenda addressed by the council in executive session. The council retired to closed session for about 35 minutes, but it took no action when it returned. Closed sessions generally involve personnel or legal issues.
Several residents attending the meeting who live in the area of FM 316 and CR 2851, CR 2854 and CR 2852 asked to be disannexed from the city because they complained the city had failed to properly maintain their roads.
McDonald said the disannexation did not make sense because the area is within the geography of the city. Council members promised the city would soon make repairs to the roads, and it tabled the agenda item for later review.
A request for a business permit to open a scrap metal business to be known as Just Scrap It led to a divided council vote. McDonald said he supported the plan for the Malakoff business owner to expand to Payne Springs because it would be 90 percent contained in an inside environment and not an eyesore. Carr objected to it, saying she didn’t want Payne Springs to become known as a center for scrap metal businesses. Council member Michael Juica sided with Carr while council member Nathan Gilbreath voted with McDonald.
Renberg broke the tie by voting for the business permit’s award. “This man is running a clean business, and I can’t turn him away,” he said. “I vote for it.”
Don Kinney presented his 2012 audit to the council, saying the city appeared to be in “reasonably good shape financially.” He noted the impound lot made about $30,000 profit. “I have not seen too many impound lots that make money,” Kinney said.
Council members noted that the land for the impound lot is leased to the city for only $268 per year, which is the amount of the property taxes on it.
Posted by : August 17, 2013| On :
The Monitor Correspondent
TOOL–The Tool City Council appointed a new mayor and mayor pro tem, and it seated a new member at a special meeting Tuesday.
Mayor Pro Tem A. J. “Red” Phillips was appointed to be the mayor for the remainder of the unexpired term of former mayor Leland Pitts ,who resigned in April. Council member Nathan Reeder was appointed as mayor pro tem.
Michelle Ellis was appointed to fill the vacant council member seat for the remainder of the unexpired term that resulted from Pitts’ resignation. Reeder nominated Ellis for the council seat.
The council also accepted the resignation of member Nelson Wright, which left yet another council seat to be filled. The council set a special workshop meeting at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23 to fill that seat.
The council will hold a regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 22, but the workshop could not be scheduled for it because agendas must be posted 72 hours prior to the meeting being held.
After the council finished making the appointments, municipal judge Rhonda Peterson conducted a swearing in ceremony for the new appointees.
Ellis, who has a background in customer service and accounting, has been a resident of Tool for 21 years. She said that she wanted to join the council to contribute to the city’s development.
“I’ve been here long enough that I want to see the community grow,” Ellis said. “I want to help bring in new business.”
Other existing members continuing to serve on the council are Fran Sonka and Rick Williams.
The next regularly scheduled election will be in November.
Posted by : May 20, 2013| On :
The Monitor Correspondent
KEMP–It apparently took a crisis to shake residents out of their complacency and to make them realize their town could die in ruin if everyone didn’t get to work on saving it.
That’s the view of Kemp’s new mayor, Laura Hanna Peace, a fifth-generation resident of the 1,154-population town and the first woman to ever lead it. She notes it took the loss of water service to Kemp during the devastating drought two years ago to “galvanize a lot of people,” herself included.
“We had all relied on a few people to carry the ball in the past,” Peace said. “I think the crisis situation got through to everyone that we all had to pay more attention.”
Peace said that although she is a native and has owned property in Kemp for 20 years, she seldom attended city council meetings or got involved. She since has served on the council for one year, and voters elected her mayor over the incumbent, Donald Kile on May 11.
Peace is the Kaufman County chief juvenile probation officer, and she has worked for the county for 20 years. She graduated from Kemp High School, and she received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University in Denton.
Peace said her first short-term goal is to get the water system stable, an effort that appears to be well on its way to accomplishment with the city’s planned connection to the West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District.
“Any other growth in the city depends solely on that,” Peace said. “We can’t do anything without that happening first.”
Her biggest, long-term goal for the city is to attract a new business that will create at least 100 new jobs, Peace said. To accomplish that, the new mayor said she plans to work with city staff, other council members, the Kemp Economic Development Corp., the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and other civic leaders to help develop a new, more progressive vision for Kemp.
“I don’t know exactly how to get there, but I know other people in similar situations have been able to do it so I know we can too,” Peace said.
Peace said she hopes that all citizens will think about what roles they can play in helping Kemp prosper. She said that all of the people who came before the current generation of leaders laid the groundwork, and it is now time for new leaders to continue the work of guaranteeing Kemp’s future.
Peace said she would never criticize the people who came before her, and that she would never want to insinuate that she alone could guide the city to a more progressive future. It will always require people working together on a common goal to succeed, she said.
“This is a very serious job, and I will give it my all,” Peace said after her swearing in ceremony. “I am humbled by the opportunity.”