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Hawkins City Council

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Sewer improvement bids sought despite HUD/ORCA grant dispute

Meeting in regular session, Monday, August 20, the Hawkins City Council voted to seek bids for sewer repairs in spite of a dispute between two government agencies regarding the selection process which might mean delay or denial of a grant of $250,000 to the City of Hawkins. The issues of mosquito control and a tire recycling operation again were the subject of citizen concern.

Sherry Tarrant, of the city's grant consulting firm, Robert Traylor & Associates explained that federal agency Housing & Urban Development (HUD) is questioning the manner in which Texas state agency Office of Rural Community Affairs (OCRA) rates applicants for grants. Hawkins' application for a $250,000 sewer system grant was recommended by a regional unit of OCRA, but HUD is specifically questioning the methods and criteria used by the regional unit in evaluating and rating applications.

Tarrant warned the dispute puts Hawkins' presumed grant in question. She felt it important to be raised prior to the completion of budget considerations for the next fiscal year. Council thanked her for the information.

The council members nonetheless voted to move forward in seeking bids for the placing liners in sewer lines serving the west side of the city east of Beulah and south of Old High School/Blackbourn and along Forest Street to Pine on the east side.

Allen Holley appeared before the council to urge action by the city to encourage enforcement of tire storage regulations by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Foster & Sons. The tire recycling operation has been the subject of controversy for its practice of storing hundreds of tires in the open on the ground. The tires serve as breeding ground for mosquitos, rats and snakes according to citizens living in the proximity of the Foster firm's two storage properties.

Holley urged the council to enforce any city ordinances that apply to the tire storage situation.

The council formally approved an interlocal agreement with Big Sandy which will result in the application of mosquito spray in Hawkins using the neighboring city's equipment and licensed application specialists.

Mayor Sam Bradley circulated a draft of a petition to seek an election on the issue of Wood County Emergency Management Service District #2. He reported the need for more than 100 signatures on the petitions to bring an election forward. Bradley said establishment of an Emergency Management District would establish a base of support for the Hawkins Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD) and the services provided by the department. If eventually approved such a district would be able to assess a property tax levy on all properties within the area served by HVFD. Bradley said, "The emergency district would equalize support of the department among those served and relieve some of the budget burden on the City of Hawkins."

Wood County Emergency Management Services District #1 was established three years ago in the area of Wood County served by Holly Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

Also approved was a payment of $819 in fees to the East Texas Council of Government for 9-1-1 addressing services and an interlocal agreement with Hawkins Independent School District for excess dirt from HISD's construction program. Mayor Bradley sought and received approval of his plan to draft an ordinance to tax "personal property in transit."

During a budget workshop council members advanced planning on the '08 budget and the tax rate necessary to fund the adopted budget. Continuing deliberations on the budget will be held in budget workshop(s) to be scheduled.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Hawkins City Council is scheduled for Monday, September 17 at 6 p.m. A special meeting of the council can be called with 72 hours public notice.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2009 15:15  

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