By Michael G. Maness
CHESTER – Chester Mayor Floyd Petri introduced a revised ordinance he wrote that empowers the citizens of Chester to have power of choice over the entrance of an industrial slaughterhouse like the one proposed to open near Doucette, at the city council meeting Monday evening, Aug. 13.
Petri invited Texas Rep. James White (R-Dist. 19) to come for this historic moment. When invited to comment, White said, “I am proud of you. Thank you for your service.”
The council approved the revised ordinance without any comment or descent. The ordinance exempted farmers’ or hunters’ own individual kill rooms, yet it requires any industrial facility to get a building permit, subject to a $1,000-per-day fine if building begins without a permit.
Most importantly, the ordinance allows a minimum of three voter-eligible citizens to petition the council with a complaint. Therein, the council would be obligated to hold a public hearing, and if 51% of the citizens vote against (or for) such a facility, the council would be obligated to deny (or approve) the building permit.
After the meeting, White was careful not to say yeah or nay on the ordinance itself, but said he resolutely supported the council’s rights to local control. White did say he thinks the ordinance is “clever.”
The council approved the upcoming election of officers which will include the positions of Petri, Patrick Cherry and Doug Hughes.
The past due accounts were discussed by City Secretary Annette Hickman and Assistand City Secretary Charlot Thomas, noting that two residents had come forth with the promise to pay soon, one by the 15. Petri was amicable to allowing that. On the others who had not paid, nor communicated, when asked by Petri, Councilman Doug Hughes, designee for the gas company relations, said they others should be shut off.
Hickman presented the Chester Gas Company audit by Axley & Rode for the council members to review. The audit conclusion was that they were “not aware of any modification that should be made.” The council did not take any action.