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City receives prestigious award

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City of Livingston logoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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For the 34th consecutive year, the City of Livingston has received a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting, the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. The certificate of achievement is from the Government Finance Officers Association and is based on the city’s annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2021.

The Livingston City Council approved membership in the Alliance for I-69 Texas, as well as payment of a membership fee in the amount of $1,265, during its Jan. 10 regular meeting.

Council also approved Brannon Corporation out of Tyler for engineering services for the General Land Office Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program. The city is seeking grant funding in the amount of $2.541 million which would go toward improving city streets if awarded.

A public hearing was held to receive comments regarding the determination of unsafe and/or dilapidated building and cleanup of property, specifically, a residential structure and outbuildings owned by Joseph McCandless and Manda Kay McCandless, located at 106 N. East Ave., the property being described as: 1.262 acre of land in the M.L. Choate Survey, A-15, Polk County, Texas, called to be Lot 2 of Block 3 of the Meece Addition to the City of Livingston, and described in deed dated Nov. 14, 2019 from Annis Lee Crowley to Joseph McCandless and wife, Manda Kay McCandless, recorded in Volume 2234, Page 193 of the Official Public Records of Polk County, Texas.

City Attorney James W. Wright said the utilities at the location were disconnected July 13, 2020 and the taxes have been paid through 2021. He said the city’s code enforcement department sent a letter to the McCandlesses dated August 2022.

Josh Mohler, the city’s fire marshal and code enforcement officer, reported that he had met with Joseph McCandless who indicated that he had plans to rehabilitate the structure and bring it up to code.

The residence needs structural attention, Mohler said, adding that there are a lot of roof leaks, debris in the house, settling cracks, foundation issues, crackage and exposed electrical wiring. Following additional discussion, Council approved giving the McCandlesses 90 days, stressing that first and foremost, the property needs to be secured. Council will revisit the issue at its April 10 meeting and see what the status is at that time.

City Manager Bill S. Wiggins introduced John Tarver to the Council. Tarver is the new executive director of the Polk County Economic Development Group.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to have someone of John’s caliber and experience,” Wiggins said.

“You’re doing a lot of things right. I look forward to coming in and enhancing what you’re already doing,” Tarver said.

Wiggins apprised Council of the 87th Annual Awards Gala of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Polk County Commerce Center. He also updated Council on various current development projects, including five new homes under construction in The Retreat.

In other activity, Wiggins reported that he has been informed that the Livingston Youth Baseball Association has put in a bid to host the Dixie Regional Baseball Tournaments for 12U Division 1 and 2 that, if accepted, would be held locally July 1-3, bringing in 18-20 teams who would be booking local hotels, eating in local restaurants and shopping in local shops.

Although Council entered into an executive session to consult with the city attorney, no action was taken upon return to open session.

Other business included approval of the accounts over $500 and the minutes of the Dec. 13 meeting.

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