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By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Commissioners Court tackled an agenda full of reports and appointments for various positions on various governing boards at its Monday morning meeting.
Prior to the regular agenda, the commissioners heard from two citizens during the public comments portion of the meeting.
First up, Tracy Johnston spoke about a proposed halfway house in the Dam B community. Johnston expressed concern about the issue, and about the safety of her child possibly being at risk due to such a facility.
The halfway house, which was to operate under the name RJMFSC (Restorative Justice Ministry Family Service Center) and utilize a faith-based program to help ex-offenders had its application withdrawn by TDCJ two weeks ago.
Next on the public comments portion was Allen Fitts, the general manager of internet radio station KZXL. Fitts asked the commissioners for permission to use the county’s electricity and the courthouse lawn to broadcast during the Western Weekend and Queen’s Weekend parades during the Dogwood Festival. Fitts’ request was on the agenda and approved unanimously.
The commissioners approved the reappointments for board members to several of the Emergency Service District boards in the county.
The reappointments of the following ESD directors were passed in a series of separate agenda items:
ESD #1 – Richard Coker, Lana Cox and Jill Dinger
ESD #2 – Jack Walston, Karl Hammond and Raymond Wooten
ESD #3 – Yvonne Goss and Tamberly McCullough
ESD #4 – David Norton and Randy Gibson
ESD #5 – Ronald Willmon
ESD #6 – James Alfaro, Kenneth Lewis and Raymond Holland
ESD #7 – Lance Seamans and Wade Skinner
ESD #8 – Bob Fisher and Mike McDonald
The commissioners also approved a vacancy to be filled with the county’s AgriLife extension service by Shannon Benton. Extension Agent Jacob Spivey and administrator Sheila Harris introduced Benton, who will begin in the position on March 1, to the court.
Spivey said that Benton will be a good fit for the program and noted that the position had been vacant since December of 2019.
Another agenda item during 3 Monday morning’s meeting, brought to the court by Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock, approved the county to hire Charles Kimbrough, an attorney, for guidance on how to regulate sexually oriented businesses within the county.
Sturrock said that while the county cannot stop such businesses from operating, it can, by statute, regulate them, with enforcement through the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office.
The court also approved the hiring of another attorney for another topic of counsel. Bob Bass, of Allison, Bass and Magee, was approved to provide guidance and documentation that will allow the county to create tax abatement plans and guidelines.
Transportation infrastructure info shared
Under the regular agenda item allowing for comments by court members pertaining to matters of county government, Sturrock informed the court of a meeting he recently attended.
The meeting was for the Deep East Texas Rural Transportation Planning Organization, on which he serves. He shared a map and information from the meeting about the Interstate 14 project.
He said the TxDOT district in which Tyler County resides has no remaining funding set aside for the project.
Another project he spoke about pertaining to the county regarded to a stretch of US 69 on the south end of the county, which would be affected by the I-69 project. Sturrock reported that by the request of the public, the trees along the stretch will be left in place.
Redistricting supplemental and final order approved
In a special-called meeting held two weeks ago, the commissioners approved a supplemental and final order that adopted revised boundaries for the county’s redistricting purposes.
The redistricting, which was adopted on Nov. 12, 2021, for the voting precincts, needed changes to be made, due to “various changes in the underlying election precincts,” which were required to conform election precinct boundaries to the new county commissioners court precincts, according to the order.
The affected voting precincts, according to County Clerk Donece Gregory, were Pcts. 1, 2, 16, 17 and 18. Election precinct 1 is in the commissioners’ court precinct 1. Election precincts 2 and 18 are within Pct. 2. Election precinct 17 is in Pt. 3 and 16 resides in Pct. 4.