By Emily Banks Wooten
Livingston City Manager Bill S. Wiggins offered high praise for the city crews and various departments during the June 13 regular meeting of the Livingston City Council.
“We had a weather event Saturday evening. There was a horrific storm with lots of wind. There were electrical lines down and trees down. The volunteer fire department, the police department, the electrical crews and the street crews were all out in full force. I can’t say enough good things about them. Any time I get a chance to brag on my people, I’m going to take advantage of it,” he said.
Wiggins updated Council on various projects and events. The Livingston Farmers & Artisans Market is held on the first and third Saturday of each month at Anniversary Park. The Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce will host its 4th annual Smoke in the Pines Barbecue Cookoff and Car Show June 23-24 at Pedigo Park. The Polk County Youth Rodeo Association will host its rodeo kickoff dance June 30 at the fairgrounds. The 62nd annual Polk County aYouth Rodeo will begin nightly July 5-8.
Wiggins also apprised Council that the City of Livingston Main Street Program has once again been recognized by Main Street America and Texas Main Street as a 2023 Accredited Program for meeting the standards of performance in 2022.
A public hearing to receive comments regarding a petition for annexation of a 34.04-acre tract at 617 FM 350 South drew no comments. Eternal Holdings LLC filed the petition for annexation of the 34.04-acre tract in the M.L. Choate Survey, A-15 and Bridger Hobbs Survey, A-327. Council approved an ordinance annexing the 34.04 acres into the city.
An additional public hearing was held to receive comments regarding a petition by Central Baptist Church of Livingston to vacate, abandon and close a portion of North East Avenue between East Polk Street and East Milam Street. Speaking in favor of the petition were Christopher Scott, Ben Ogletree III, Melanie Justice and Larry Horn. The CBC members said the reason for the request is primarily for the protection and safety of the church’s children, youth and staff, as there is a lot of pedestrian traffic on Wednesdays and Sundays crossing the street from the main campus to the Family Life Center which is now used predominantly for children and youth. An additional reason they said, however, is to reconfigure their parking lot to better accommodate their handicapped and senior citizen members. Speaking against the petition were Susie Adams and Christopher Moehlmann who both said they feel that the street in question is a well-used thoroughfare that is used frequently because it is safer than other nearby roads. Following some additional discussion, Council opted to table any action on the matter until the next meeting which is July 11.
In other activity, Council approved the re-appointment of Alderman Elgin Davis a director for the Deep East Texas Council of Governments for the term beginning July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024.
Other business included approval of the minutes of the May 9 regular meeting and the May 16 special called meeting and accounts over $500.