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Trinity County News - Breakout

District approves balanced budget

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The Trinity ISD employees of the month for August are Haley Ogden Hatthorn, paraprofessional; Colton Jackson, professional; and Jerry Barnes, support. They are pictured with Elizabeth King, Gill Campbell, Brittaney Cassidy and Kent Copley. Trinity ISD awards each employee who wins a $100 check and a certificate. At the end of the school year, the winners go into a drawing for a chance to win $1,000. Courtesy photosThe Trinity ISD employees of the month for August are Haley Ogden Hatthorn, paraprofessional; Colton Jackson, professional; and Jerry Barnes, support. They are pictured with Elizabeth King, Gill Campbell, Brittaney Cassidy and Kent Copley. Trinity ISD awards each employee who wins a $100 check and a certificate. At the end of the school year, the winners go into a drawing for a chance to win $1,000. Courtesy photos

By Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — The Trinity ISD Board of Trustees approved a $14.3 million FY 2023-24 budget, as well as a tax rate that is lower than in the previous year.

Superintendent Dr. John Kaufman said the budget passed during the Aug. 28 meeting was balanced, with revenue and expenditures at $14,298,156, and may have a $36,320 surplus.

Kaufman said the budget is largely business as usual but does contain funding for state-mandated safety items, such as 8-foot fencing. Additionally, the baseball and softball fields at the high school will have a new look.

The tax rate approved by the board is .9135 per $100, a 20-cent drop from last year’s rate, which was 1.1180, Kaufman said. The budget for food service is balanced at $809,437, and the district still feeds the students 3 meals a day at no cost.

In a separate matter, the board gave its approval to issue maintenance bonds to finance the replacement of older air conditioning units and to upgrade the district to LED lighting.

Kaufman said they were spending $200,000 a year keeping the older units working, so now any unit 17 years or older — 49 in all — will be replaced. Also, the district will save money by converting the older fluorescent lights to LED.

He said $1.6 million in bonds will be issued, which will spread out the cost so the district will not have to pay the $1.6 million all at once. The payments will come out of general operating funds and won’t be changing anyone’s tax requirement.

In other business, the board:

•approved a contract with Integra Insurance for property and automobiles, which went up $100,000 to a total premium of $330,046;

•approved paying the retainer with the Walsh Gallegos legal firm at $1,000; and

•approved 4-H as an extracurricular activity within the district.

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County residents weather many a storm

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Donations of water and snacks for local firefighters are being taken. Donations may be dropped off at the VFW Post 6899 on Caroline Street. For more information call Dawn Bray at (936) 355-9634.

Julias TidbitsSummer days are over. We survived 46 days of over 100-degree temperatures. School has started, football has started, and hurricanes have started. I think we are ready for anything Mother Nature can throw at us except fire.

We need to donate water and snacks for our firefighters to the south. One place to leave donations to help in Trinity is at the VFW Post 6899 on Caroline Street. They are gathering supplies as we speak. Call Dawn Bray if you can help at (936) 355-9634.

Please try not to do anything that would cause a fire to get out of control at your facility or home, as our first responders are maxed out.

•The next couple of weeks, I will be repeating events for September and October, so please call or text me at (936) 537-8171 to report your news.

•Sept. 12 is the Women’s Celebration at First Methodist Church of Trinity on Elm Street at 6 p.m.

•Sept. 16, the VFW Post 6899 is hosting a fundraiser at the VFW Hall on Caroline Street starting at 11 a.m. and ending with a dance at 11 p.m.

•Sept. 17, the Knights of Columbus from the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church are sponsoring a Blood Drive in the parking lot of Brookshire Brothers from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

•Sept. 22, TISD staff and students will not have school this day to participate in the 74th Annual TCFA fair and livestock show.

•Sept. 22-23 are the actual fair days for the Trinity community to attend the fair, starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. each day. Last free fair in Texas.

•Sept. 29-30, Westwood Shores Subdivision is hosting its annual fall garage sale on FM 356. The event starts at 8 a.m. each day and ends at 5 p.m. each day.

•Oct. 5-7, First Methodist Church is hosting its fall rummage sale inside the church on Elm Street from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day except Saturday, which ends at 2 p.m.

•Oct. 7 is the Eddie and Maxie afternoon dance from noon until 4 p.m. at the VFW Hall on Caroline Street.

•Oct. 10 is Scholarship Night 2024 for TISD senior students to learn about local scholarships. This event will be held at the Trinity Community Center at 6 p.m.

•Oct. 15 through Oct. 31, First Methodist Church is hosting the annual Pumpkin Patch, located downtown at their vacant lot next door to Trinity County Real Estate office on Highway 19 North, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. most days except Sundays, which is from noon to 4 p.m.

•Oct. 21, Trinity Volunteer Fire Department is hosting the East Texas District Fire Convention and training at the Trinity Fire Station on Elm Street from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

•Oct. 21, SAAFE House of Trinity is hosting the 13th annual Denim & Diamonds Bingo Fundraiser at the Trinity Community Center next to McDonald’s from 5 to 9 p.m.

•Oct. 28, the 16th annual Wall of Honor Trinity County Veteran’s fundraiser will be held at Scheelbillies’ Saloon on FM 356 from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, please call Bill Reeves at (936) 661-7107 for raffle tickets and to make donations.

•Oct. 28, TISD High School Seniors are hosting a senior haunted house fundraiser from 8 to 11:30 p.m. at the Trinity High School campus. The cost is $5 per person.

•Oct. 31, Halloween Night, Treats on the Street will take place on Elm Street in downtown Trinity at 6:30 p.m. Prices, money, food, bicycles, and candy will be given away until 8 p.m.

I will alert you to a new fundraiser coming in November for the Boys and Girls Club of Trinity. It will be held at VFW Post 6899 fellowship hall on Caroline Street in the evening. It will be a Bingo Bonanza. Stay tuned to this station.

•I have several projects that I have taken on to benefit the elderly citizens and the children of Trinity. I have liked to help people all my life and as far back as I can remember I used whatever talents I had to serve and support others.

My earliest recollection is playing the piano at Vacation Bible School in 1956, and my latest event was on Valentine’s Day, with a dinner and dance for the Boys and Girls Club of Trinity in February of this year.

I am relating this information to you because sometimes I am proud of my service and sometimes, I am jealous of others who benefit from my carving the way for their organizations to take advantage of Trinity’s generosity.

In my opinion, some organizations use our facilities free, copy our ideas, and generate money that does not benefit our children or Trinity’s older citizens. I do not wish to offend anyone, but it offends me that after you have taken $100,000 from a fundraiser in the spring, another fundraiser is scheduled on the same day as one of our major fundraisers to support our community and even one organization is taking our Event name to advertise their fundraiser, even though it is for a good cause.

I have been sponsoring a Community Calendar for 25 years so local people and organizations could benefit from their fundraisers and not rain on anyone else’s parade.

Events on the same day or same weekend is not the problem. Using other organizations’ themes or established fundraising name on the same date and time is a problem. Especially when most of Trinity County goes to as many events as possible to support our friends in other surrounding cities.

SAAFE House, the organization who provides a haven for domestic abused women and advocates for children, is probably the first organization in East Texas that started countywide purse bingo fundraisers. I know I have been involved with their organization for 13 years here in Trinity, and they were having fundraisers in Huntsville before 2010 featuring bingo games to generate money.

So, remember, if you are having a fundraiser on an already established date that has been raising funds for their citizens for years, please be kind and check not only the date, but the time and place also.

For instance, you know each year the county and the community hold fairs, along with volunteer fire department fundraisers, Lent and Easter events, Crawfish Boils, spring break, Fourth of July fireworks, Treats on the Treats, the Trinity Chamber Christmas Show, school Christmas breaks, graduation day and awards night, and most of these events are held about the same time and place each year, so be thoughtful and respectful of each other’s organization, church or school. There is no limit to generosity.

See you at the Fair.

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Centerville passes budget, tax rate

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CentervilleISDBy Tony Farkas
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CENTERVILLE — The Centerville ISD Board of Trustees approved the next operating budget at its regular meeting on Thursday.

Superintended Mark Brown said the district expects revenues of $2,458,424, with similar expenditures, for a balanced budget.

Brown also said that just over $214,000 will be set aside for construction or emergencies, as was necessary last year when the gymnasium was ruined because of weather. The school also installed a paved parking lot recently.

The tax rate fell almost 20 cents, dropping from .94 per $100 home valuation to .7575.

In a related matter, the board approved budget amendments which transferred funds received from insurance claims on the damaged gymnasium. Brown said the work has been finished, and the school was to host its first home basketball game in more than a year on Tuesday, as well as a junior high basketball tournament on Thursday.

In a separate matter, the board discussed a required safety audit that was performed in May.

Brown said the staff and students were commended for having a safe, and that an intruder was denied access to the campus.

The staff also was lauded for having eight people CPR certified and two certified in using a defibrillator.

The district will begin installing state-required 8-foot fences, with help from a state grant. Brown said that monitor screens were installed in his office, giving more people access to the security camera system.

The board also approved a resolution allowing the district to waive a state requirement to have an armed guard at each campus. Brown said that the district could opt out of the requirement based on school size and if the district participates in the Guardian Program.

In other business, the board:

•approved recommended updates to board policy; and

•approved Trinity County Extension Agent Stacye Tullos as an adjunct teacher and designated the 4-H program as a school extracurricular activity.

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City approves ambulance agreement

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groveton texas city limits 250By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Groveton City Council approved an agreement to assist the county in paying for an ambulance service to serve the Groveton area.

Mayor Ralph Bennett said that at the Aug. 28 meeting, the council approved an interlocal agreement with Trinity County to pay half of the monthly cost of an ambulance service, which amounts to $3,125.

Bennett said that the service, Allegiance Ambulance, will provide paramedic-level services. At least on ambulance will be housed in Groveton, at a building near City Hall.

He also said the contract will remain in force until terminated by either side via 30-day written notice.

The city previously was contracted with Groveton EMS at a cost of $1,500 a month, but that was terminated earlier this year. Bennett said the increased cost will be no problem and will be worth it for a reliable 24-hour ambulance service.

In other business, the council:

•awarded a bid for digging a water well to Weisinger out of Willis for $1,282,200;

•approved the annual tax roll provided by the Trinity County Appraisal District;

•approved the new property tax rate of .9100 per $100 valuation, which is down from last fiscal year’s .9479 rate;

•approved a preliminary budget, which will be adopted at next meeting;

•approved budget amendments to finalize the current fiscal year budget;

•discussed the monthly report from the Police Department, which showed 111 calls for service, 27 traffic stops made, 13 warnings and 14 citations issued, 15 reports taken and 8 arrests made; and

•approved paying the Inframark bill of $7,538.93, which is for regular service and line repair for the city’s water and wastewater services.

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All funding for 2023 scholarships delivered

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Scholarship STOCK

What a long, hot, dry summer we have had. We were finally blessed with some rain last night. It was prefect timing as I understand that firefighters in the Groveton area were helped by God’s wonderful gift. We are grateful.

We are proud to announce that we have completed the funding of our Fall ’23 college students who received Groveton Ex-Students Association scholarships in May. We are humbled to award over $70,000 in scholarships to Groveton graduates which are award for this Fall and in the Spring of 2024. We know our students will represent our school, the donor families, and this organization well as they complete the Fall semester. Our best wishes and Go Big Red.

•School has begun and all things that go with it. We pray for continued favor for all our staff and students as they participate in activities that enhance their lives. Please check our Facebook page to keep up with the accomplishments of our Groveton Exes. Also, see the Facebook page of the Groveton Athletics organization.

Remember, homecoming is Oct. 6 as we play Leon in football. Please note that this is “little homecoming” so there will be a simpler schedule of events than if it were “big” homecoming.

•Jane and Larry Fortenberry have donated to our association’s Robbie and Darwin Creasy Memorial scholarship fund in memory of Billy Carlton, Charles Owens, Linda Archer, and James Williams. We thank them and encourage you to consider remembering or honoring loved ones with a contribution to our association.

All donations go directly to scholarships for Groveton graduates.

•We are sad to remember the passing of many Groveton Indians. They include David Davis, class of 1967; Authur Arnold, class of 1941; Richard (Butch) Parish, class of 1968; Jeff Malone, class of 1973; Cody Austin Beard, class of 2019; Weston Due, class of 2014, Billy Carlton, class of 1952; Grace Thornton Kantz, class of 1949; and Danny Westerfield, class of 1974. This is a lot of loss for such a small community representing Groveton graduates. Please pray for peace and comfort for these families.

Jo Ann Anderson Beken is president of the Groveton Ex-students Association.

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