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By Emily Banks Wooten
A show cause hearing regarding property at 106 N. East Ave. owned by Joseph McCandless and Manda Kay McCandless was held by the Livingston City Council during its April 11 regular meeting.
A public hearing on the determination of unsafe and/or dilapidated building and cleanup of the property was held at the Jan. 10 meeting. However, following testimony by City Attorney James W. Wright, Fire Marshal/Code Inspector Josh Mohler and the McCandlesses, Council approved giving the homeowners 90 days to implement a rehabilitation plan, stressing that first and foremost, the property needed to be secured.
The property is a residential structure and outbuildings 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.
McCandless informed Council of progress made, including cleaning the inside out, removing the debris, mowing the yard and most importantly, securing it. He reviewed his plans for rehabilitation of the house. Following much discussion, Council approved giving him six additional months, with another show cause hearing slated for the October meeting to see what the status is.
The appointment of Rebecca Marie McAllister as an alternate judge for the May 6 general election was approved. During its March meeting, Council appointed Heather Weber as election judge but the Texas Election Code requires an alternate election judge be appointed as well. Three council members are up for reelection – Clarke Evans, Elgin Davis and Dr. Ray Luna. All three incumbents filed and a fourth person, Bobby Jackson Sr., also filed.
Although an unexpected expense that was not budgeted, Council approved an expenditure for the replacement of a fuel tank at the Livingston Municipal Airport with the amount not to exceed $250,000. City Manager Bill S. Wiggins apprised Council that a recent inspection revealed that the liner in the existing tank is damaged.
“The airport is very important to us and this is not something we budgeted but it’s needed. It’s been down since January. I don’t want to delay this,” Wiggins said, adding that the cost is expected to be approximately $187,000 but they wanted to earmark a bit more for unexpected contingencies. This cost improves the removal and destruction of the old fuel tank and installation of the new tank.
Council Member Dr. Ray Luna inquired what the city charges for fuel and expressed interest in looking at attempting to adjust that price in an attempt to recoup the funds spent on the new tank. Wiggins said that could be looked into and a budget adjustment done at the end of the year if needed.
Allen Borchers, a local resident who is a retired traffic manager at Houston Intercontinental Airport and a flight instructor, addressed Council, remarking that he would encourage them to approve a no-lead tank instead of a low-lead tank, as that is what is coming in approximately two years. Council thanked him for his input.
Council approved payment application number one in the amount of $508,742 to Ameresco Inc. This is the company that is handling the city’s citywide conversion to new self-reading water and electric meters which will be starting soon.
In activity related to the 2023-2024 Texas Community Development Block Grant Program, Council approved two proposed resolutions – one authorizing the submission of an application, to include civil rights policies, for the community development fund competition and other authorizing signatories for the 2023-2024 application and future grants administered through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s TDA Go Grants Online. The city is applying for a $500,000 grant for the repair of city streets, including concrete, curbs and gutters. If the grant application is successful, the city’s part will be $50,000.
During his monthly city manager’s report, Wiggins updated Council on various upcoming events and ongoing development projects.
Other business included approval of the accounts over $500 and minutes of the March 14 meeting.