By Valerie Reddell
Ivanhoe City Council dove into financial matters for the upcoming fiscal year with the adoption of the ad valorem tax rate, keeping it at the same rate — 71.02 cents per $100 in taxable value — as the prior year.
Mayor Cathy Bennett told those in attendance that the value of unimproved property in the city had been reappraised, so more revenue would be coming in from vacant lots.
After reviewing a budget proposal by line items earlier in the month, the council accepted a proposed budget, clearing the way for a public hearing on the budget set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 5.
City Secretary C.D. Woodrome reported that revenue looks good with two months to go in the 2017 fiscal year.
Council members accepted the resignation of two members of the planning and zoning commission. Bennett announced a signup sheet would be posted in the community center. Anyone interested in becoming one of the two new members should add their name to the list.
The council discussed revisions to the contract to rent city hall for social functions, but voted down the suggested contract until they could meet with the property owners association to resolve discrepancies.
Ivanhoe voters will head to the polls on Nov. 7 to elect three council members to two-year terms. Anyone interested in seeking one of the positions should pick up a packet at city hall.
During her report on the municipal court, Judge Judith Haney reported that
City Marshal Terry Riley had participated in a multi-agency effort that involved executing several "knock and talk" search warrants with assistance from officers from Hardin and Liberty counties as well as the Texas Rangers, a helicopter and two drug dogs.
In the days following the effort, Riley noted many residents have opted to move out of Ivanhoe.
Haney reported that 78 citations had been issued in July, 24 closed and she has begun issuing warrants for people who have not appeared before her. Three Ivanhoe residents had been jailed on Class C offenses. Several cases involved charges of criminal trespass, dogs running at large and assault.
"People are beginning to realize that the citations are real, the court is here and they need to come take care of their problems or discuss it with the court," Haney said.
Work is finally set to begin on a 2015 FEMA disaster recovery project, city officials announced.
Expenses will be paid out of the street maintenance fund and FEMA will reimburse the city for 75 percent of the project cost, including labor provided by city staffers.
Ivanhoe's independent audit included an unmodified opinion, meaning the financial reports are true and correct.