updated 7:00 PM UTC, May 27, 2020

New mayor, councilmembers sworn-in; horse riding ordinance examined

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Paula Jones took her maiden voyage on Monday night as the newly elected mayor of Woodville. Jones was sworn-in along with new councilmembers Kelly Dillard, who will serve as Alderman Place 2 and Robert (Tony) Greer, who takes the Alderman Place 4 position on the council.

One of the topics on the agenda for Jones’ first city council meeting as mayor concerned an ordinance establishing a prohibition against riding horses within the city limits.

The ordinance, penned by city attorney Brad Elrod, met with a lengthy discussion and several questions. Elrod said the ordinance was borne of concern and complaints the city has received about horses being ridden through the streets. The ordinance, if passed, would exclude Western Weekend events as well as special events such as trailrides.

City administrator Mandy Risinger said many of the complaints the city has received deal with horses being ridden up to storefronts and safety issues with horses among automobile traffic at night. The complains, Risinger said, have been ongoing for years.

Councilmember Herb Branch asked whether the city has the power to make such a ruling where US highways are involved. Elrod affirmed that it does and the ordinance falls under the purview of making decisions for the general welfare, health and safety of citizens.

The ordinance, if passed, would repeal an existing ordinance from 1966, which gives horseback riders the same rights as motorists, Risinger said.

Branch addressed the topic of horse owners leading horses down the streets, that this action would not constitute riding the animal, as the ordinance states. “I don’t think it’s inclusive enough to protect us from some of the things that may come up,” Branch said.

Greer added that buggies and wagons are not included in the ordinance.

If the ordinance is passed, violations would be treated as a class C misdemeanor, Municipal Judge Judith Haney said.

Elrod said he modeled the ordinance on similar policies from other communities, and in response to the questions, said it can be amended and be made more specific to Woodville’s concerns. The ordinance issue was tabled until the next regular council meeting.

Re-alignment of council, appointments made
Several nominations and appointments were made at Monday’s meeting. Joyce Wilson was nominated and approved to continue as Mayor Pro-Tem. Alan Gartner was nominated and approved to serve as chief of the Woodville Volunteer Fire Department. Judith Haney was re-appointed in her role as Municipal Judge and Courtney Broussard as court clerk.

Haney said that Broussard, who has clerked for her for about four years, was in Austin teaching court clerk training. “I’m very proud of her,” she said.

Another appointment that was made by Jones was for a City of Woodville representative for the Tyler County Appraisal Review Board. The spot has been vacant for some time, and Jones nominated Michael G. Maness to the position, which was approved by council.

Council also approved awarding David J. Waxman and Associates to act as the city’s grant administrator for the 2019-20 Texas Community Development Block Grant Program application cycle.

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