By Mollie LaSalle
WOODVILLE – At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, the Woodville City Council approved the purchase of a new four-ton A/C unit for the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce office, which the City of Woodville owns.
The Chamber’s vice president, Chris Edwards, spoke to the council about the necessity of a new A/C unit and the need for financial assistance from the city toward the purchase.
“The problem with our Chamber building right now is we need some help. One of our A/C units has gone out, the one in the front part of the building,” he said.
Edwards noted that the Chamber received bids from three different contractors, and the lowest bid was from Casey Tolar of Magnolia Appliance, at a cost of $6,500 to replace the entire unit.
“We don’t have that kind of money to replace the system,” he said. He added, “per the terms of our lease agreement, we are responsible for the first $5,000. Anything exceeding that amount, the landlord is obligated for, and we need some help with that.”
He said part of the $5,000 has already been spent on remodeling a bathroom.
Edwards noted the importance of the Chamber’s office as a welcome center for visitors and a hub of information, in addition to the benefits the organization offers to the countywide business community.
“We want to continue nourishing the community with these services, and it’s hard to do without a functioning AC in the summertime. We do have another unit in the back part of the building that keeps the boardroom cool, but not the front,” he said, noting that it would be uncomfortable to visitors, and that the Chamber’s executive director’s office is in the front part of the building.
The Chamber’s office is closed until further notice, and Holly Wells, the executive director, is working from home, mainly doing clerical work, networking and social media marketing. Edwards was asked by council if monies could be obtained via fundraisers, membership dues, etc.
He was also asked about repairs already done this year to the building, and Edwards replied “there are other issues that need to be addressed, but right now, [the AC unit] is the most pressing.”
Mayor Amy Bythewood said the Chamber of Commerce pretty much operates on a month-to-month basis. They do receive a stipend from the city, which goes to paying staff salary, as well as an allotment from the county for the Christmas in Tyler County celebration.
Edwards did mention that under the current chamber leadership, they are looking for ways to economize right now, as well as planning upcoming fundraisers and the annual Chamber banquet in September.
Alderman Lee Mann made a motion to approve the Chamber’s request, noting its importance and adding “we’re not going to have a Chamber unless we approve this request”.
Council approved the request from the Chamber for the city to be invoiced $6,500, and to contact Tolar to replace the unit.
Pet shop fee set
Other items discussed were the approval of a pet shop licensing fee, and amending the hours at the city park. Licensing fees for pet shops run anywhere from $50 to $200; it is an annual fee, and has to updated every year. Council discussed this licensing fee regarding the new pet shop which opened at 1905 West Bluff, Castillo Family Farm, which has relocated from its Dam B location.
Mann added “my understanding is this is a small shop, and we’re a small town. I think $50 is fair, we want to be a business-friendly community, that is my opinion.”
Bythewood added, “since we are halfway through the year, the fee would be pro-rated, and Castillo would only pay $24.95 (ish) for the remainder of the year”. Council voted to approve the pet shop license fee.
Council approved an ordinance modifying the hours at the city park, from the current 7 a.m to 10 p.m. to dawn to dusk. Alderman Mike Cabaniss said, “ a lot of the problems we are getting is from vandalism in the bathroom at the park, so once we get it cleaned up and painted, it’s going to be locked up at night by the police department, and opened back up in the morning by the city, so there won’t be free reign at night for any type of vandalism”. There are cameras up now, so if you make a bad choice, you will get caught.
After all agenda items were tackled council adjourned, but mayor Bythewood had a surprise proclamation issued in honor of City Administrator Mandy Risinger being voted the best public servant in the Tyler County Booster’s “Best of” contest.
Bythewood cited “her deep and genuine love for the city and surrounding areas. She has served this community with distinction, always willing to place her concern for the public good ahead of her own personal interest, and throughout her career, she earned the respect of government, civic, religious leaders, area residents, and employees who are proud to call her friend. On behalf of the entire council and citizens of Woodville, I want to acknowledge Mandy Risinger as the Best of Tyler County Public Servant.”