Risinger: Woodville revenues down across the board

By Valerie Reddell
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Woodville City Manager Mandy Risinger advised the mayor and council Monday that revenues in most budget areas are tracking below budget and lower that the same period last year.

She reported that the city might have received a dime in oil and gas royalties during the year, and fines and fees in the municipal court are down.

"Property tax is less than anticipated, sales tax is down and all departments are working on a shoestring. Everybody is very tight," Risinger said.

Normally by this point in the budget year, permit fee revenue has amounted to about $30,000 but this year they are currently at $12,000, she added.

All cities seem to be in the same boat, Risinger said.

City Council member Lee Mann said many business owners are reporting that "business is off."

Municipal Court Judge Judith Haney advised council members that on Sept. 1 a state law would take affect banning use of all handheld devices while driving.

"You cannot talk, or text on your phone — even if you are talking into the speakerphone," Haney said.

Drivers can use a Bluetooth device — but unless they fit a limited number of exceptions they could face a fine of $266 for the first offense.
For further details on the texting while driving law, visit

The council approved a request by Woodville High School to close Charlton and Wheat Streets for a community pep rally from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 14 in conjunction with the homecoming football game.

In response to Mann's question about the traditional bonfire, WHS principal Morgan Wright explained that there is no longer a safe location to hold a bonfire — even if weather conditions would allow it.
The turf at the Summit would melt if the event was held there, Wright explained.

Spurger ISD celebrates opening of Media Center

Superintendent Kendall Smith Carl Fisher, Zack Fisher, & Glenda Fisher attended the opening of the Joseph R. Fisher Media Center honoring former superintendent. Superintendent Kendall Smith Carl Fisher, Zack Fisher, & Glenda Fisher attended the opening of the Joseph R. Fisher Media Center honoring former superintendent.

Spurger ISD held a celebration for the dedication of the Joseph R. Fisher Media Center on July 18 led by Kendall Smith, Superintendent.

In attendance was Mr. Fisher's parents Glenda and Carl Fisher, his son Zack Fisher (a senior at Spurger HS), members of the Spurger ISD Board and staff, representatives from area school districts, and representatives of Educational Service Center 5.

Joe Fisher dedicated his life to children. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Fisher spent 22 years in education, 10 of those years at Spurger ISD. Fisher first joined the district as elementary principal and then as superintendent, before his life was cut short by cancer June 26, 2015.

He was dedicated to children and education and had a profound love for reading.

Fisher had a vision of having benches under the trees so that kids could sit in the shade and read. For this reason the district felt that dedicating the media center/library in his name was a fitting tribute.

Colmesneil council OKs mower purchase

by Michael G. Maness

Mayor Don Baird convened the Colmesneil City Council Tuesday evening, July 11, at their regularly scheduled time. He asked Councilman Gene Allen to lead the invocation.

Baird asked for citizen comments, and Carolyn Davis, wife of Councilman Kenneth Davis, said, "Fix the pothole."

After a little laughter, there was a bit of discussion. Later in the meeting Baird noted that the Davis' road was the on agenda to be repaired.

The minutes to the previous meeting were approved without comment.

First on the agenda was consideration of buying a new mower. City Secretary Carrie Holson passed out the several bids. In conjunction with the federal program to get a better price, the council settled on the bid from Timberman Supply for a new Grasshopper, several thousand below the next highest bid. And Timberman will buy back the old mower too.

The old Grasshopper was purchased in 2006 and had over 30,000 hours.

Several problems have come about in the last few months. And Baird mentioned his good fortune with the Grasshopper brand. The bid from Timberman was approved.

The financial, office, and water and sewer reports were all passed without comment, and the meeting adjourned in good spirits.

Commissioner Marshall Sponsors Community Cleanup

by Andrew Harmon

Besides dealing with monthly reports and recurring budget items, the most recent Tyler County Commissioner's Court focused on giving back and bettering this area.

Precinct 3 commissioner Mike Marshall, dedicated time last week to aid in the cleaning of Tyler County and Precinct 3. Marshall, held a special waste collection day for residents to dispose of unwanted trash. Commissioner Marshall looks forward to this annual event, hoping increasing numbers of people take advantage of it each year.

Later in the meeting, Tyler County Commissioners discussed the transferring of title on the 2017 Sienna van to the Tyler County Veterans Administration for transportation of veterans to the facility. County Judge Jacques Blanchette led the motion to make the transfer official.
The court also passed a proclamation to declare March, "Red Cross Month".

The commissioners, Blanchette and John Stagg, from the American Red Cross put this motion into action immediately.
It was a successful week for the commissioners court as it focused on improving the community. The members strive to continuing to better Tyler County even more in the future.

Chester council hears complaints of stray dogs harassing citizens

by Michael G. Maness

Mayor Floyd Petri convened the Chester City Council Monday evening, January 9, at its regular time. He led the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag, and citizen guest Vernon Lewis led an invocation.

City Secretary Annette Hickman read the minutes to the previous meeting. The council approved the minutes and financial statement for the city and Chester Gas Company. The council also approved an agreement with the county for maintenance of the roads, renewal of their liability insurance, and the budget for the city.

Petri welcomed two citizens who came to share concerns. First, Vernon Lewis shared concerns over stray dogs around the city. Vernon claimed that one had bitten his grandchild. The school superintendent himself had to chase off a few dogs when they harassed some of the Chester ISD staff. Lewis reported that walkers at the city park feared leaving their car because of the dogs. After researching the issue, Petri had explained that a 20-plus-year-old ordinance had been rescinded because there was no ability to enforce it. Petri empathized with Lewis, and several issues were discussed, including the county's absence of a dog pound. While there was little the city could do, Petri noted that they would look closer at developing options if problems persist. It also appeared some of the dog owners may have already taken action, as fewer strays have been seen in the last week or two.

Second, citizen Everett Powell expressed his frustration over election protocols at the local Mason's lodge. He had previously reported some alleged violations and he desired for the elections to be held elsewhere, even at the Chester City Hall. Petri surveyed the council members present, inquiring about precedents.

Both issues regarding the dogs and where to host the elections will be on the agenda of the next meeting.

Chester ISD accepts donated fencing

by Michael G. Maness

Chestor ISD received donations of fencing and carpet that they accepted at their board meeting Monday evening, November 21.
President Ray McKnight convened the board and asked member Vernon Lewis to lead the invocation and pledges of allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags.

In a short agenda, the board first approved the donation of ornamental fencing that will provide a safer environment for the students. The donor wished to remain anonymous.

Secondly, the board approved the donation of carpet that will be used in their visitor locker room. Superintendent Cory Hines said that the carpet will "make a more welcoming experience for our visitors."The board went into executive session, and they did not take any action during that session.