By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – Tyler County commissioners approved a tax abatement for property owners who own land crossed by county-maintained right of ways.
Chief Appraiser David Luther spoke before the commissioners court at its regular meeting on Monday morning about the agenda item.
Under the Texas Transportation Code, property owners are allowed a tax exemption on land that is used by the government for a public purpose.
Luther said several taxpayers have approached him about the exemption and said there was no existing application or guidelines for the exemption.
Luther drafted a set of guidelines for the exemption and presented them to the commissioners and County Judge Jacques Blanchette.
The guidelines came about following consultation with legal counsel and a workshop with the commissioners.
Along with stipulations that specify what is eligible for exemption, the guidelines also contained an application. Taxpayers can obtain the packet from the appraiser’s office in Woodville.
Commitment for broadband coverage
Commissioners approved a maximum funding commitment of $19,275 in the coming fiscal year toward the expansion of broadband coverage in the county.
Lonnie Hunt, the executive director of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), was present, and said several other counties in the region have also approved a funding commitment toward broadband expansion. Hunt also spoke to the commissioners on the issue in a workshop conducted prior to the regular meeting.
In 2018 DETCOG approved a study for broadband expansion within the 12-county area serviced by the council. The money allocated for the study came from funds left over from Hurricane Ike Round 2.2 disaster recovery money.
Wright, TCHC recognized
The county recognized Dr. Sandra Wright for serving on the Burke Board of Trustees for 14 years with a certificate. Blanchette referred to the Burke network as “a very valuable and important component for the health and well-being of the area.”
Wright said it has been a pleasure to serve on the board and called it a “very good board to serve with.” The Burke Board of Trustees consists of nine members who are appointed by commissioners’ courts within the service area.
Commissioners also presented a “Distinguished Service Award” to the Tyler County Historical Commission. Blanchette noted that TCHC has won the award for several consecutive years and recognized several members who were present. TCHC President Bob Morris accepted the award on behalf of the group.
During Monday morning’s meeting, the commissioners also approved the following agenda items:
• An appointment for Dean Rivers to serve as the DETCOG Minority Representative for a three-year term. Precinct 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock recommended Rivers to serve in this capacity. She will replace Ivanhoe resident Wilbert Barnett as Minority Representative on the council.
• First National Bank of Jasper was awarded the bid for the county repository bank. Treasurer LeAnn Monk said the institution offers a higher rate of interest than others she had researched. The four-year contract extension was approved. Monk also gave a disclosure that she, her family and business all bank with FNB.
• The appointment of Pamela Narvaez as Assistant County Treasurer in accordance with Texas Local Government Code 83.009 was approved.