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updated 3:21 PM UTC, Jan 18, 2019


Audit report given to WISD



By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – At its regular meeting of the Board of Trustees on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, Woodville ISD received its audit report for the previous fiscal year, which ended on Aug. 31, 2018.

Darla Belt Dear, of Belt, Harris and Pechacek, LLLP, presented the audit’s results and reported the district shows an unmodified opinion, the highest result possible, according to Dear. She said the district has done a “great job on keeping the fund balance up,” and in keeping within budget guidelines.

The total revenues for WISD for the reported fiscal year came in at just over $13 million with expenditures a little over $12 million and $662,996 left in the fund balance.

Dear, whose firm is number one in the state in the volume of governmental audits it handles, praised the district and business manager Cody Jarrott for the exemplary work committed toward the district’s finances. Of all the audits Dear’s firm covered during the year, she said WISD “has taken the prize” with its positive report. “You had the least amount of journal entries,” she said.

Finalized accountability ratings given
The Texas Academic Report from the Texas Education Agency for WISD is now finalized for the 2017-18 school year, and Superintendent Glen Conner reported that nothing had changed since the preliminary report that was given in the summer.

All of the WISD campuses were issued a “Met Standard” accountability rating, and overall, the district received a letter grade of C, with a C for overall student achievement; a B for school progress and a D in the closing the gaps domain.

Conner said a full performance report will be presented at the January meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Renovations ongoing
Conner gave updates on the district-wide spate of renovations during his regular report to the board. He said the scheduling is ongoing and there have been meetings held on the projects. A lot of the work, he said, will be done after regular school hours. The Lufkin firm Goodwin-Lassiter was selected as engineers for the entire project, which includes replacing the high school’s roof, district-wide HVAC repairs and replacing and the implementation of LED lighting across the district.

Debate team members recognized
During the public comments portion of the meeting, three members of the WISD debate team were recognized for their efforts along with their coach Cathy D’Entremont. Drake Broom received a third place at regional competition and will compete at the State UIL finals in January alongside teammate Penny Brackin, who placed second at regionals. Wyatt Bell was a finalist and was recognized as a “super leader,” by D’Entremont. She added that her students have made her start at WISD easy.

Other Business
At its December meeting, WISD trustees also approved the authorization for Jarrott to open a bank account at Citizens State Bank and an account with Texpool in order to hold tax maintenance note deposits.
Jarrott said that in selling tax maintenance notes, the district will receive $2.2 million, which will be wired to the Citizens account. Transferring the money to Texpool will result in a higher interest rate for the funds.

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Collection Center licensing discussed at meeting



By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Commissioners Court breezed through a short agenda at its first December meeting last Thursday morning. The meeting was postponed a day from its usual Wednesday date due to Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to recognize Dec. 5 as an official day of mourning in memory of President George H.W. Bush, and all county offices were closed.

One of the items on the agenda slated for informational purposes concerned the agreement between the Tyler County Collection Center and Local Sanitation. The agreement awarded Local Sanitation the contract to operate the collection center, and Pct. 4 Commissioner Jack Walston brought the court up to date on where the licensing process was. Walston, who holds the current license to operate the facility, said that Local Sanitation has to obtain the same license from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in order to operate it.

Walson found out from TCEQ that Local Sanitation will be able to operate the collection center under the existing license for a 90-day window while they work to obtain it.

Walston said an agreement was drawn up by Michael Risinger which allows Local Sanitation to operate the facility under the current license until it can obtain its own.

Equipment lease topic tabled
One item on the agenda concerned the lease of a Caterpillar 12M3 motor grader for Precinct 2. Rusty Hughes, commissioner of the precinct, motioned to table the item. The piece of equipment is under lease for the precinct and will expire. Hughes’ successor, Stevan Sturrock, has expressed interest in moving forward with a different brand in the next budget year, according to County Judge Jacques Blanchette, and the topic is tabled until more information and clarification is obtained.

Other Business
• Commissioners accepted the financial statements from the eight emergency service districts within the county. County Auditor Jackie Skinner reported that she reviewed all of the statements and they were all in accordance.
• The appointment for a replacement for Robyn Summerlin for the Southeast Texas Groundwater Conservation Board was passed on pending finding a replacement. Summerlin, who served on the board for six years, will retire at the end of the year.

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Commissioners vote no to fireworks restrictions



By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – At its Tuesday, Nov. 20 meeting, the Tyler County Commissioners Court met and discussed several items which ranged from fireworks to approving the purchase of heavy equipment.

Commissioners met a day earlier than usual due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

One item on the agenda was to decide whether or not to issue an order restricting certain fireworks for the period for fireworks sales during the

Christmas and New Year holiday season, from Dec. 20 through Jan. 1, 2019. The commissioners voted to not issue the restricting order.

In another item on the agenda, commissioners approved the starting procurement for the fiscal year 2019 county development block grant funding from the Texas Department of Agriculture. The funds were allocated for engineering and administration projects throughout the county.

A committee was appointed to rate statements of qualifications and requests for proposals concerning the monies. The committee consists of County Auditor Jackie Skinner, Pct. 3 Commissioner Mike Marshall and Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette.

Commissioners approved the purchase of some heavy equipment for Pct. 1. Commissioner Martin Nash spoke about the need for a new Kubota tractor and a John Deere backhoe for his precinct, which will be purchased from Beaumont Tractor and Doggett Machinery Services in Lufkin, respectively.

The tractor will be purchased with funding through the NJPA and the backhoe through the Buy Board.

Resignation from TGCD accepted
Commissioners accepted the resignation of Robyn Summerlin from the Texas Groundwater Conservation District Board for the term ending on Dec. 31.

The court tabled appointing a replacement and Blanchette noted that TGCD recommended that Summerlin’s replacement be an employee from a municipal water system.

Re-appointments to ESD Boards
Commissioners approved the re-appointments of the following board members for the county Emergency Service Districts. B.A. Smith; Joe McIntyre; Lana Cox; Henry Sawyer, Sr.; Karl Hammond; Royce Hill; Betty Zimmerman; Rodney Krebs; Matt Mentzel; Herbert D. Odom; Johnny Lee Page; Raymond Holland; Roger Harvill; Roy Chad Eddins; Jim Fitzgerald; John Ard and Art Walton were all re-appointed to serve on the ESD boards. There are eight of the ESDs in the county.

Blanchette said there are three more vacancies on the boards, for ESDs #3, 5 and 6.


Other Business
• A bid for sale of the Tyler County Collection Center was awarded to Local Sanitation for $200,000.
• Commissioners discussed and approved an agreement with Allison, Bass and Magee, LLP for a flat rate fixed fee for professional services. The firm will assist county officials in a review of precinct districting.
• Incoming Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Ken Jobe was approved to attend the Justice of the Peace seminar in December. The seminar, which takes place Dec. 2-5 in Galveston, will consist of 20 hours of training events and courses to prepare Jobe for the job.
• The bonds for Blanchette and Lynnette Cruse, County Tax Assessor-Collector, were approved for them to begin serving their new terms in office.

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New councilmember sworn in

Outgoing city councilmembers Lee Mann (left), Amy Bythewood (right) and mayor Russ Nalley, were thanked for their years of service to the City of Woodville at last Tuesday’s city council meeting. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB)Outgoing city councilmembers Lee Mann (left), Amy Bythewood (right) and mayor Russ Nalley, were thanked for their years of service to the City of Woodville at last Tuesday’s city council meeting. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB)


By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Herb Branch, a longtime leader in the community, was sworn-in at the Tuesday, Nov. 13 meeting of the Woodville City Council.
Branch was appointed to fill the position of Alderman Place 5 after Byron Stowe stepped down in September.

The councilmembers also recognized outgoing councilmembers Amy Bythewood and Lee Mann as well as Mayor Russ Nalley for their years of service to the city.

During the meeting, which was held on Tuesday night instead of the usual Monday, due to the recognition of Veterans Day, Nalley and the councilmembers heard reports on a few projects including awarding a bid for a new woodchipper and news on a grant application.

City Administrator Mandy Risinger gave an update on a grant the city applied for through the General Land Office. The grant, which is for the amount of $2 million with a $100K match for the city, was allocated due to the flooding in 2016. If Woodville is awarded the grant, it will be a significant one for the city, Risinger noted.

She said that the city is looking at projects pertaining to streets and drainage on Cobb Mill Road and Cardinal Drive, if the money is awarded.
Risinger said the state has requested additional information and documentation. “That lends us to believe we’re pretty hopeful we can be funded…that’s a big grant for us,” she said.

Risinger said the city did not meet criteria for funding with another grant it had applied for. The funding, which was through the Texas Department of Emergency Management for hazard mitigation, would have been put toward a generator for the 190 West water pump station. She said changes in the program disqualified the city for the grant.

However, with funds that have been allocated through DETCOG for Hurricane Harvey-related relief and repair projects, Risinger said it is possible for the city to apply for some of the money that Tyler County will receive, which is around $757K, in order to fund generator projects for the city.

Other Business
Council approved a resolution to note the canvassing of returns of the citywide election, held on Nov. 6, and to declare the final results.

City Secretary Terri Bible said there were 13 provisional ballots counted after the general election results were tallied. The ballots, Bible said, would not change the results of the election, which saw Paula Jones win her bid for Mayor and Tony Greer win a place on the council.

Another topic discussed by council and Nalley was the nomination and appointment of a representative for the city on the Tyler County Appraisal Review Board. Bythewood said the spot is currently empty and is needed. The position was discussed, but no one was named as a possible appointee.

Council also voted to award a bid for a new woodchipper, a Brush Bandit, from Stanley Parts and Equipment, in Channelview. The new chipper will replace a 1999 model of the same brand and will cost $39,986.98. Risinger said the cost is “sufficiently covered in the budget.”

Nalley added a word of praise to the city workers who pick up fallen tree limbs around the city.

Councilmembers also approved an online sale of the city’s retired assets. Nalley said the city has seen better results with online auctions than on-site auctions that were held in the past.

The city will auction off several vehicles and pieces of equipment, including two pickup trucks, a garbage truck, a street sweeper and a road grader.

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