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By Emily Banks Wooten
“The burn ban is still in effect. Please, please stress to everyone to be very, very careful with fires,” Livingston City Manager Bill S. Wiggins pleaded during the Oct. 11 meeting of the Livingston City Council. He remarked that the Livingston Volunteer Fire Department, along with all the fire departments in the county, are being run ragged with fires.
Wiggins updated Council regarding current development projects. These include: Alma’s Donuts at 1026 W. Church; CP Homes Memory Care/CP Homes at 1864 N. Washington; Highway 190 Apartments at 909 E. Church; King Ranch John Deere Dealership & Turf Business at 510 U.S. Hwy. 59 Loop South; Livingston ISD concession stand at 400 FM 350 South; Livingston Pioneer Crossing Apartments at 1101 Dogwood; On The Run Truckstop at 911 E. Church; Serenity Spa at 1207 W. Church; The Vault Venue at 415 N. Washington; and four residences located in The Retreat Living LLC – 106 Sunset, 120 Sunshine, 107 Sunrise and 105 Getaway.
Completed projects include: Crave Nutrition at 1211 W. Church; Habitat for Humanity Restore at 321 N. Beatty; Pizza Hut at 1205 W. Church; Victory Lending at 1213 W. Church and the demolition of the Girl Scout Daisy house in Matthews Street Park.
Council was slated to discuss and consider possible action on the city’s personnel policy update but opted to table it until next month to have more time to review it. Wiggins informed Council that the personnel policy that city employees currently work under was adopted in April 2008 and has undergone many updates and amendments since then. Beginning in March, Wiggins, along with City Secretary/Assistant City Manager/Interim Finance Director Ellie Monteaux and Human Resources Coordinator Stacy Edwards undertook the task of updating the personnel policy.
The reappointment of Mayor Judy Cochran as a director for the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency (SRMPA) Board of Directors for the 2022-2024 term was approved. SRMPA provides electricity to its three member cities – Livingston, Liberty and Jasper. The board comprises two representatives from each of the member cities who serve staggered two-year terms.
Council approved the city’s pro-rata share of the 2022 dues for Brazos Transit which are $4,200.
City officials are continuing efforts to eradicate unsafe and dilapidated buildings from the city. Public hearings were held on the determination of two unsafe and/or dilapidated buildings, specifically, a residential structure owned by Texas Specialty Homes, L.P. located at 302 Leopard St. and a residential structure owned by Gregory John located at 204 Younger Street. Fire Marshal/Code Enforcement Officer Josh Mohler provided testimony during both hearings. At the conclusion of the public hearings, Council approved the demolition of both properties.
In similar activity, Council set public hearings on the determination of unsafe and/or dilapidated buildings for two additional properties as well. These include:
A residential structure located at 1008 Dunbar Ave. owned by Dunbar Livingston 1008, LLC, the property being described as: Lot 6 of Block 1 of the Viola Jones Addition, a subdivision in the City of Livingston, in Polk County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 1, Page 98 of the Plat Records of Polk County, Texas, also known as 1008 Dunbar Ave., Livingston, Texas, set for public hearing at 5 p.m. Nov. 8; and
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, set for public hearing at 5 p.m. Jan. 10.
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 accounts over $500 and minutes of the August 9 meeting.