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Goins named Outstanding Citizens of the Year

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2022 Chamber Board Chairman Craig Jones presented the Outstanding Polk County Citizens of the Year award to Dr. Joseph Goin M.D. and Ms. Angela Goin Ph.D. at the 87th annual awards ceremony of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce Thursday. Photo by  Brian Besch2022 Chamber Board Chairman Craig Jones presented the Outstanding Polk County Citizens of the Year award to Dr. Joseph Goin M.D. and Ms. Angela Goin Ph.D. at the 87th annual awards ceremony of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce Thursday. Photo by Brian Besch

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Dr. Joseph Goin M.D. and Ms. Angela Goin PhD. were presented the Outstanding Polk County Citizens of the Year award at the 87th annual awards ceremony of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

The Goins both own and operate local businesses and have made numerous contributions to the community over the past 20 years that they have lived here. Dr. Goin’s medical practice has received many distinguished medical awards over the years. His reputation for compassionate care will long be remembered following his retirement. A scholar in her own right, Ms. Goins has also played an active role in the community through her involvement with the chamber of commerce as well as the Polk County branch of the American Association of University Women.

The Large Business of the Year award went to Timberwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, the only five-star facility in the Livingston/Polk County area as rated by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid. Operational in Livingston for over four decades, the facility has been serving the community’s healthcare needs for a long time, building lasting relationships with patients and families. It is a leading healthcare provider in the skilled nursing community and is a valued community partner that truly gives back to Polk County in many ways, whether it’s hosting frequent community events throughout the year, urging its staff to participate in community events or contributing to various local organizations.

HomeGrown, a local boutique owned by Amy Hendrix and Tammi Ogletree, was the recipient of the Small Business of the Year award. HomeGrown specializes in unique treasures and gifts that center around Livingston and the lake. Their love of the community inspires the various T-shirts and merchandise they offer. Not only do the ladies give back to the community in a variety of ways, they are also known for supporting and lifting up other local small businesses. Their semi-annual porch parties continue to grow as they spotlight new, up and coming brands, local craftsmen and local vendors. They recognize that mutual community support results in mutual community success.

Sarah Ege, an English teacher and the UIL Academics Coordinator at Livingston High School, was presented the Community Service award. An alum of Livingston High School and Stephen F. Austin State University, Mrs. Ege is well-respected by both current and former students, as well as administrators. Her students say that she is kind, patient, passionate and truly cares and that she always tries to make class enjoyable and fun. She is also the teacher that many of her former students return to for assistance with college applications and essays. LISD Superintendent Dr. Brent E. Hawkins said she embodies all of the attributes of the preferred teacher for LISD and that the classroom that she teaches from is impacted far beyond the walls of the schoolhouse. He said she has a very deep relationship with her students and that they respect her both on a personal level and an educational level.

Chamber President/CEO Yvonne King presented the Chamber Directors of the Year award to Kim Jernigan and Joyce Knierim and the Chamber Ambassadors of the Year award to David Burns and Shirley Johnson.

“The board of directors and the ambassadors are the workforce behind every event and activity held by the chamber. Without these men and women giving their time and talents, the chamber would not be what it is today,” King said.

“Our mission statement is to enhance the success of business, tourism and civic interests of Polk County and to promote the quality of life for all citizens, and when I look around the audience and see you, I have to say thank you. Thank you for your time, input, support and your willingness to help with setting up, cleaning up, networking, speaking, praying, laughing and being representatives for the chamber. Most all of you help with our mission. You take time from your work and personal business to be with me and Brenda (Clifton). I feel blessed and very grateful to each and every one of you,” King said.

Outgoing Chamber Board Chairman Craig Jones recognized retiring directors Dan Ellis and Kim Jernigan.

“It’s been an exciting year and I want to thank all of the board members and the ambassadors for their support and hard work. I also want to thank all of the members. Without you, we wouldn’t have a chamber of commerce. I’m happy to report that we gained 67 new members over the past year, in addition to hosting 27 ribbon cuttings,” Jones said.

“I especially want to thank Yvonne for stepping up in her new role. She has been an open book and easy to work with, making for a seamless transition. I also want to thank John Frank Clifton for all his guidance and support when I became chairman of the board. I’m looking forward to the new leadership that Andrew Boyce will capably bring. I truly believe our chamber and chamber board have a bright future with a lot of good things coming,” Jones said.

Following the ceremonial passing of the gavel, Incoming Chamber Board Chairman Andrew Boyce addressed the crowd.

“I’m really looking forward to serving as chairman and want to continue building on the growth and progress we’ve made. I want to recognize Yvonne. She’s just completed her first full year in this position, although she has served the chamber in another capacity for over 20 years. She has provided tremendous leadership for us. We really have an awesome staff in place, for which I’m grateful,” Boyce said.

“I want to continue with the mindset that Yvonne has put into place and that is, ‘What can the chamber do for you?’ We are here for you and want to support you and receive your feedback on how we can better grow and succeed together. I’m really excited about two new events that we have planned for this year. One is a poker tournament and the other is a business expo. I want to recognize and thank Craig Jones for his leadership over the past year. I also want to emphasize how much I’m looking forward to working with the new board this year,” Boyce said.


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Updated property tax info available

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PropertyTax Stock

From Enterprise Staff

New and updated property tax information has just been compiled by Polk Central Appraisal District and is available now to assist taxpayers. This property tax information is current and covers a wide range of topics, such as taxpayer remedies, exemptions and appraisals, and has information for select groups, such as disabled veterans and persons aged 65 or older.

“Whether you are a homeowner, business owner, disabled veteran or taxpayer, it’s you know your rights concerning the property tax laws,” Polk Chief Appraiser Chad Hill said. “You can contact us about any property tax issues with full confidence that we will provide you the most complete, accurate and up-to-date available information to assist you.”

This includes information about the following programs:

Property Tax Exemptions for Disabled Veterans

The law provides partial exemptions for any property owned by disabled veterans or surviving spouses and surviving children of deceased disabled veterans. Another partial exemption is for homesteads donated to disabled veterans by charitable organizations at no cost or not more than 50% of the good faith estimate of the homestead’s market value to the disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. The exemption amount is determined according to percentage of service-connected disability. The law also provides a 100% homestead exemption for 100% disabled veterans and their surviving spouses and surviving spouses of U.S. armed service members killed in action.

Property Tax Exemptions

Non-profit organizations that meet statutory requirements may seek property tax exemptions and must apply to their county appraisal district by a specific date. Businesses that receive tax abatements granted by taxing units; ship inventory out of Texas that may be eligible for the freeport exemption; store certain goods in transit in warehouses that are moved within 175 days; construct, install or acquire pollution control property; own and operate energy storage systems; convert landfill-generated gas; or store offshore drilling equipment while not in use may also be eligible for statutory exemptions.

Rendering Taxable Property

If a business owns tangible personal property that is used to produce income, the business must file a rendition with its local county appraisal district by a specified date. Personal property includes inventory and equipment used by a business. Owners do not have to render exempt property such as church property or an agriculture producer’s equipment used for farming.

Appraisal Notices

Normally, taxpayers receive a notice of appraised value from the appropriate local county appraisal district. The city, county, school districts and other local taxing units will use the appraisal district’s value to set property taxes for the coming year.

Property Taxpayer Remedies

This Comptroller publication explains in detail how to protest a property appraisal, which issues the county appraisal review board (ARB) can consider and what to expect during a protest hearing. The publication also discusses the options of taking a taxpayer’s case to district court, the State Office of Administrative Hearings or binding arbitration if the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the outcome of the ARB hearing.

Homestead Exemptions

A homestead is generally defined as the home and land used as the owner’s principal residence on Jan. 1 of the tax year. A homestead exemption reduces the appraised value of the home and, as a result, lowers property taxes. Applications are submitted to the appropriate local county appraisal district.

Productivity Appraisal

Property owners who use land for timberland production, agricultural purposes or wildlife management can be granted property tax relief on their land. They may apply to their local county appraisal district for an agricultural appraisal which may result in a lower appraisal of the land based on production, versus market value.

Residence Homestead Tax Deferral

Texas homeowners may postpone paying the currently delinquent property taxes due on the appreciating value of their homes by filing a tax deferral affidavit at their local county appraisal district. This tax relief allows homeowners to pay the property taxes on 105% of the preceding year’s appraised value of their homestead, plus the taxes on any new improvements to the homestead. The remaining taxes are postponed, but not cancelled, with interest accruing at 8% per year.

Property Tax Deferral for Persons Aged 65 or Older or Disabled or Disabled Veteran Homeowners

Texans who are aged 65 or older or disabled, as defined by law, or who qualify for a disabled veteran exemption may postpone paying current and delinquent property taxes on their homes by signing a tax deferral affidavit. Once the affidavit is on file, taxes are deferred, but not cancelled, as long as the owner continues to own and live in the home. Interest continues to accrue at 5% per year on the unpaid taxes. You may obtain a deferral affidavit at the appraisal district.

Notice of Availability of Electronic Communication

In appraisal districts located in counties with a population of more than 200,000 or that have authorized electronic communications, and that have implemented a system that allows such communications, chief appraisers and ARBs may communicate electronically through email or other media with property owners or their designated representatives. Written agreements are required for notices and other documents to be delivered electronically instead of mailing.

Protesting Property Appraisal Values

Property owners who disagree with the appraisal district’s appraisal of their property for local taxes or for any other action that adversely affects them may protest their property value to the appraisal district’s ARB.

For more information about these programs, contact Polk Central Appraisal District at 936-327-2174. The office is located at 114 Matthews St. in Livingston. Visit the website at www.polkcad.org. Information is also available on the Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division’s website at comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/.

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The Polk County Historical Commission had its first meeting of 2023 on Jan. 17 at the Polk County Chamber of Commerce in Livingston. New members added to the commission include Laverne Taylor, Joe Ann Manry and Emily Banks Wooten. All members are appointed by the Polk County Commissioners Court in odd-numbered years to serve two-year terms. Back row (l-r) Roy Newport, Otto Lyons, Gary Davis, Kathryn Richardson, Joyce Johnston, Joe Ann Manry, Emily Banks Wooten and Nita Battise. Front row (l-r) Laverne Taylor, Patricia Snook, Museum Curator Betsy Deiterman, J.D. Coogler, Joanne Westmoreland and Mona Marsh. Members not pictured include Josh David, Kathy Lott, Annette Lowe and Kathy Prescott. Courtesy photo

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County opposes unfunded mandates

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Polk County LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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In what Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy referred to as “a yearly event,” the Polk County Commissioners Court approved a resolution in opposition to unfunded mandates from the state during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Again, the Texas Association of Counties has requested each county approve a resolution in opposition to unfunded mandates imposed by the state. The county auditor’s office recently completed an unfunded mandate survey and we do have to give a huge thanks to the auditor’s office because that’s a lot of work to try to gather that information,” Murphy said.

“Part of what happens when we receive mandates from the state and have to follow them, then they basically leech money away from the taxpayers and away from the county. The unfunded mandates on any given year can go anywhere from 35% to 45% of our budget,” Murphy said.

The Court received a nuisance abatement hearing determination for Cause No. A00522 following a hearing in a Polk County Justice Court and approved an order to abate and move forward. The property in question is located in Tree Harbor in Precinct 2.

Two requests for exemption from the county subdivision regulations were approved – one is the development of Abst. 77 of the A. Viesca Survey (154.381 acres) located in Precinct 1 and consisting of one tract with access to existing public road with no other common areas and/or streets and the other is the development of Abst. 77 of the A. Viesca Survey (two acres) located in Precinct 1 and consisting of one tract with access to existing public roads with no other common areas and/or streets.

The Court approved requests for capital purchases to be paid from the general fund balance and included on the fiscal year 2023 reimbursement resolution for the year-end issuance of legally authorized debt, specifically, after market equipment on a leased vehicle for the fire marshal, in the amount of $7,055 and an upgrade to the jail camera system, not to exceed $211,552.18.

The appointment of Rachel Slocomb Drake to the Burke Center Board of Trustees to fill the unexpired portion of Col. Howard Daniel’s two-year term that began Sept. 1, 2021 was approved.

A resolution for the restructuring of the adult sexual assault response team was approved with Shelly Sitton replacing Lee Hon, Tami Pierce replacing Beverly Armstrong, David Mitchell replacing Craig Finegan and Kaleb Barker replacing Leon Middleton.

Several items related to some of the local volunteer fire departments’ utilization of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds were approved, including the following:

Payment to Wanco for generator/light tower equipment for the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Nation VFD, in the amount of $10,000;

Payment to Lone Star Emergency Group to replace fire pump and pump motor for the brush truck for the Corrigan VFD, in the amount of $10,000;

Payment to South Polk County VFD Inc. for a brush truck for the Holiday Lake Estates VFD, in the amount of $10,000;

Payment to Dalmatian Fire Equipment LLC for 10 self-contained breathing apparatus packs for the Livingston VFD, in the amount of $10,000;

Payment to Nalcom Wireless Communications for radio equipment for the Segno VFD, in the amount of $7,557.50;

Payment to Red Barn for materials to replace the roof and rafters for the Segno VFD, in the amount of $2,442.50;

Payment to W.S. Darley & Co. for firefighting equipment for the Goodrich VFD, in the amount of $10,000; and

Payments to Thomas Supply, Lowes Home Centers, Tejas Paint & Flooring and General Wire & Electric Supply for materials to renovate the Indian Springs VFD station, not to exceed $10,000 in total.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed and approved personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and reviewed four authorized emergency hirings – two at the sheriff’s office, one in maintenance and one in road and bridge. They also approved an update to the personnel management system.

The Court approved the fiscal year 2023 budget revisions and amendments as presented by the county auditor’s office.

During informational reports, Precinct 1 Constable Scott Hughes presented a report to the Court regarding the services provided by his office.

“I took office January 2013 and had one vehicle, one laptop that didn’t work and a bunch of evidence that wasn’t documented. Now, we fund my office fully. I have two fulltime contract deputies that are paid full time. They get the benefits and the insurance and the incentive package. I have three parttime employees that are paid, contract deputies because they’re not considered county employees, and support staff. What I come here today to talk about is we’ve been trying to work out an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Goodrich School District since August. It boils down to the children’s safety, the teachers’ safety and the community’s safety,” Hughes said.

Two people addressed the Court during the portion of the meeting reserved for public comment – Billy Lambeth and Tyler Epstein.

Lambeth wanted to discuss a road at Outlaw Bend Subdivision. “The road makes an S and the school bus has to make two or three turns to get to it. An oil company was going to drill a well and I let them cut that corner of that S out. When the oil company gave it up, in my agreement they had to take the rock up and plant trees. I told them to leave it, I was going to try to swap it to the county. I went to Tommy (former Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet) three years ago and he said no, y’all didn’t want it. I put that place up for sale and if y’all want it now’s the time or it’s going to have to go back to the S curves. I’ll give y’all the new easement but I want y’all to abandon the old road and give it to me,” Lambeth said.

“You need to discuss that with the new commissioner. If you’ll provide that to the new commissioner, then he can take a look at it,” Murphy said.

Epstein wanted to discuss a gate on Sandy Land Road. “There’s a gate on Sandy Land Road by C.M. Hardy that is there blocking off a county road and there is no reason for it to be there. It’s not there by law. It needs to be removed. I’ve got an affidavit signed by a gentleman testifying to the fact that he put a fence over a county road on Horace Bond Road in 2006 and that is, again, a county road that’s being blocked, less than 20 years. I’ve also got an email from Bob Bass where he let Mr. Vincent (former Precinct 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent) know that a road laid out by a jury of view had to be formally abandoned or it’s still a county road and I have access to it. The commissioners court has not addressed that or taken advice from counsel. I think it’s owed to the taxpayers to explain why they are fighting litigation right now against the advice of counsel when by law, the county attorney is telling you that it is still a valid road because it hasn’t been abandoned properly and every effort has been made to find that this road has been abandoned and it’s not been. The other issue is the school owns two acres on this road that is also public property that if this can’t be accessed, it’s essentially landlocking public property as well, which can’t be done,” Epstein said.

Items on the consent agenda include:

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Approval of an order designating surplus property;

Receipt of the county auditor’s monthly report, pursuant to local government code Sec.114.025;

Receipt of the county treasurer’s fiscal year 2022 fourth quarter report;

Receipt of the sheriff’s department’s 2022 racial profiling report;

Approval of the sheriff’s request to submit an application to the office of the governor for the fiscal year 2023 criminal justice grant program for a special victims officer;

Approval of the sheriff’s request to submit an application to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance for an evidence/procurement manager position;

Approval to construct a wall at Precinct 2 Road & Bridge in the amount of $1,000 to be funded out of the Precinct 2 Road & Bridge operating expenses fund; and

Approval of the purchase of a 2019 truck with trade-in for Precinct 1 Road & Bridge in the amount of $41,700.

Pastor Sonny Hathaway of Central Baptist Church of Livingston opened the meeting with prayer.


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Corrigan updating police equipment

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Corrigan CityBy Albert Trevino
Enterprise Staff

The Corrigan City Council moved forward with multiple grant requests for law-enforcement upgrades during its January regular meeting.

During the action agenda, the council approved three requests to the Texas Criminal Justice Division’s (TCJD) grant program to primarily upgrade out-of-date equipment with the local police department.

Also during the meeting, the city officially called the upcoming General Election for May 6, 2023.

Dorrie Cotton was also appointed the City Secretary again after serving in the same position in recent years.

The first grant request is under the TCJD’s Rifle-Resistant Body Armor Grant Program. TCJD accepts applications for projects under this program to increase the safety of Texas law enforcement officers and prevent further loss of life in active shooter situations.

The Body-Worn Camera Grant Program is to equip peace officers with body-worn cameras to help improve public safety and support victims of crime by addressing system gaps and promoting innovative solutions to common problems.

The third grant on the agenda reportedly relates to upgrading equipment for law-enforcement vehicles.

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