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updated 12:55 PM UTC, Oct 14, 2018


Colmesneil ISD approves tax swap election



By Michael G. Maness

COLMESNEIL – Colmesneil ISD Superintendent Angela Matterson is hopeful about the Aug. 21 Tax Ratification Election.

“This will add over $137,000 to the school to be used for safety and security,” Matterson said, “without raising the CISD taxpayer’s tax by a single cent. It will help very much!”

At the July 12 CISD board meeting, the trustees approved the order for the election, which will take place in the CISD Administration Room from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. with early voting taking place Aug. 6-17, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The TRE is essentially a request to swap taxes, one negating the other. They propose to raise one tax and lower another at the same time.

The TRE is a special election asking voters to raise the Maintenance and Operations tax by $.08, that is, from $1.04 to $1.12 per $100 valuation. At the same time, this election will decrease the Interest and Sinking (debt service) from $.08 to zero, so there will be no actual raise in anyone’s taxes.

Furthermore, because only the M&O tax allows the CISD to gain additional state-paid funding, CISD will be able to gain over $137,000 of state funds solely for security and safety. The board is hoping for a positive vote for the tax swap so that they can use the increase to improve safety and security, including cameras, technology, warning systems, and the purchase security devices for the classrooms.

If approved by the voters, the swap will be effective for the 2018-2019 school year and the school will gain over $137,000. The additional funds would be available for all the following school years allowing the district to continually improve safety and security.

Also, if one is over 65 or have a disabled homestead that is frozen, the taxes for that residence will not go up.
In sum, approval of the TRE will not increase a taxpayer’s taxes, and it allows for the district to access additional funds for safety.

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Council hears concerns about meat-packing plant; declines Entergy rate change request

By Mollie La Salle

COLMESNEIL – Local citizen David Gardner spoke to council members briefly about his concerns over the proposed meat-packing facility scheduled to be built just north of Woodville in the Tyler County Industrial Park area.

Gardner wondered if Colmesneil was having the same problems as Woodville in regard to water issues, garbage and proposed "feedlots" for storing cattle. "Nothing beneficial will come of this plant," Gardner said. Colmesneil Mayor Don Baird said that he was "surprised no one had come by city hall or called complaining" and said he was relieved, given the controversy in Woodville surrounding the issue.

Gardner said he had been in contact with the city of Navasota, home to K&C Meat Processing, which began operating in 1992. The plant in Navasota has brought very little to the local economy because they only have 10 employees.
According to Gardner, "Greg Gray is the mouthpiece for East Texas Packing in Woodville and they are looking around the county for locations to start storing cows." They are also looking for ways to get around regulations, so they don't have to call them feedlots. "It (the meat-packing plant) will stink up the whole county, and they will put feedlots in people's yards before it's over with," He also added that there is a water well only 300 feet from where they plan to lay the slab for the plant.

Gardner also said that the children of the late William Baggett, owner of Kara Farms in Woodville, had sold the property to cattle buyers in Ivanhoe and "we can expect to see feedlots out there". Sources familiar with the transaction confirm that the property was sold to ABC Tree Service.

In other business, council voted unanimously to decline Ordinance #110, which was a statement of intent and application for authority to change rates from Entergy Texas. Sam Bethea, representing Entergy, made the presentation for the rate change to council.

Entergy filed a rate change request/increase of $16.7 million. They also plan on rolling back $201 million to customers over the next two years. Bethea requested that council members deny the rate request; his reasoning was so that every city Entergy serves will have the same rates at the same time. Council voted to deny the rate change request.

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Colmesneil hears recovery grant options

By Mollie LaSalle

Council members were given an update on the status of the city's Community Development Block Grant at Tuesday's meeting by David Waxman with David Waxman Consultants, Inc. of Jasper.

The city has applied for a grant in the amount of $275,000.

"The state will announce the recipients in the next couple of months, as it is a competitive process, and there are two rounds of funding", Waxman explained. He also said that they are not anticipating any problems, either environmental or from an engineering standpoint.

Waxman said that Colmesneil "was in great shape to receive the grant". He also said that there will be public notices published in local newspapers before June. This will give citizens and cities input on how the grants are distributed and spent.

The objective of the Community Development Block Grant program for Rural Texas is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and suitable living environments and expanding economic opportunities principally for persons of low-to-moderate income.

The Texas Department of Agriculture oversees the program, and eligible applicants are non-entitlement cities under 50,000 in population and non-entitlement counties under 200,000 in population and not eligible for direct CDBG funding from HUD or funding through any of the Texas CDBG programs.

In other business, council approved the audit report for fiscal year 2017. The financial and investment reports were tabled until next month, as the bank statements had not arrived in time for the meeting. Council also approved the minutes from the last meeting, office reports, and water and sewer reports. City secretary Mandy Pattillo attended a Grant Writing Seminar in San Antonio on May 3 and 4.

"I learned a lot about writing grants, and that was two days of cram-packed info," Pattillo said.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m. Colmesneil City Council meets the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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Colmesneil Council focuses on child abuse prevention

By Mollie LaSalle

Colmesneil City Council passed a resolution proclaiming April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in the city at its regular meeting April 10.

Mike McCulley, with the Woodville Police Department, and Paula Gibbs, with the Tyler County District Attorney's office, were present and spoke on behalf of the Tyler County Child Welfare Board about the work they are doing to prevent child abuse and neglect in the county. McCulley and Gibbs are long-term members, and they thanked the council for passing the proclamation, as it helps in their effort to get the word out.

McCulley said,"172 children died last year as a result of abuse in the state of Texas, down from the previous year. The main objective of the board is to help one child at a time, and currently, there are 26 children in foster care in the county, either awaiting placement with other family members, remaining in foster care, or awaiting placement in residential treatment facilities. It is an important ministry for us, and we are doing all we can to help these children."

One of the programs the board sponsors is the Angel Tree program at Christmas which served almost 400 children last year. This is a painstaking mission which takes a lot of time to co-ordinate. The program serves not only the children in foster care, but also underprivileged children in the county.

Council members asked McCulley about the status of the now closed Sinclair Center in Woodville. McCulley replied "the property has been purchased by an unnamed individual who has previously worked with Girl's Haven in Beaumont and is in the process of getting a license to get the facility re-opened, sometime later this year.' He further added that" the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns about what the facility is and what they are going to be doing." There will be an announcement in the local press about the date and time for the public forum.

In other business, council approved minutes form the previous meeting, financial and investment reports, office, and water and sewer reports for February and March. Mayor Don Baird had the audit report for fiscal year 2017 available for council to read and review, as the representatives for Todd, Hamaker, and Johnson were not present for the meeting.

Baird, council member Billy Andrus, and city secretary Mandy Pattillo will attend a budget seminar/workshop in Beaumont in June, and Pattillo is slated to attend a grant writing seminar in San Antonio in early May.

Baird closed out the meeting by thanking everyone who helped him celebrate his 90th birthday in February. Baird was honored for his many years in public service by U.S. Representative Brian Babin and Lucas Babin, who won the Republican primary in March for the office of Tyler County District Attorney.

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