updated 7:28 PM UTC, Nov 21, 2019

Ivanhoe mayor gives bond update; clarifies sales tax election

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By Chris Edwards
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IVANHOE – In her report to the councilmembers, Ivanhoe Mayor Cathy Bennett was pleased to announce that the money awarded to the city for its $2 million bond issuance is in the city’s bank account.

Bennett’s update during last Thursday’s city council meeting drew a round of applause from the crowd. “That was a process,” she said with a sigh of relief. The bonds, which will finance street improvement work, were issued in September, and came by way of a bid from a New York-based firm, the Baker Group.

During her report, Bennett spoke about an upcoming item on the Nov. 5 ballot for sales tax allocation. The item will allow Ivanhoe residents to vote for or against a 1.5% sales tax allocation into the city’s general fund.

The vote is not an additional ad valorem tax, Bennett said. “If we don’t pass this thing, we will not be collecting any sales tax,” she said. “If this thing does not pass, we’ll lose it all.”

Councilmember David Herrington said the majority of the city’s general fund goes toward roadwork. “If we lose that [current sales tax allocation]…then what we do is we wind up losing about $40K per year,” he said. Herrington added that the sales tax revenue would increase due to the opening of a Dollar General store in the city.

Bennett also reported that the city has been approved for a grant in the amount of $192,080 toward the purchase of a fast attack brush truck for the Ivanhoe Volunteer Fire Department.

The grant, awarded through the Fire, Ambulance and Service Truck (FAST) fund from the Texas Department of Agriculture, provides funds for eligible vehicles to provide emergency response and special services to rural communities.

Bennett provided another update during her report about the coming grand opening of the Dollar General store. She said the store is ahead of schedule for its planned opening. Nov. 4 is the scheduled moving in day, and it will be open to the public three days later.

TWDB grant update
Bennett reported that the city had received a “good report” from the Texas Water Development Board for a grant the city applied for.

Ivanhoe is on the TWDB agenda for its January meeting, Bennett said. “They’ll consider our application, and we’ll have 90 days to close,” she said. The loan, classified as a forgivable loan, will go toward repairs on Ivanhoe Drive.

If approved, Bennett said the money will come at a good time to begin the work next spring.

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