Thursday, January 28, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

  Tool lawsuit hearing delayed
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

TOOL–The attorney defending the city of Tool in a lawsuit brought by the Henderson County Emergency Services District No. 4 will ask the judge for a 60-day recess in order to prepare his case.
However, the scheduled Monday, Feb. 1, hearing before 392nd District Court judge Carter Tarrance has been postponed, and a new hearing date has not been set, The Monitor learned late Tuesday.
The hearing had been scheduled under the Expedited Declaratory Judgment Act, which is designed to quickly resolve issues involving public debt.
Tool city attorney Rod Stutes explained the hearing procedure to those attending the regular Tool city council meeting Jan. 21.
“Your interest will be determined by the outcome,” Stutes said. “You have a right to say to the judge, ‘I want to be a part of this lawsuit.’”
Stutes hoped his request for a 60-day recess would be granted and that the ESD will not oppose his motion.
“We’re going to make our case to the judge explaining why our actions (withdrawing from the district and taking back the 3 percent tax revenue encumbered by a loan to build a new fire station) is valid, and why the loan (made to the ESD) was unlawful,” he said.
If the city loses its argument, the 3 percent per $100 worth of property tax will continue to go to the emergency service district. If the city wins, the tax will not be collected in 2010 for ESD No. 4, Stutes said.
In other business, council members:
• ordered an election for May 8 to elect three council members, and a special election to fill the remainder of an unexpired term, previously held by Nelson Wright.
The three seats up for election are currently filled by Fran Sonka, Tracy Bush and A.J. “Red” Phillips.
• approved the re-plat of two Westwind lots owned by James Pollock, 621 Westwind Road; and also two lots in Sport-N-Rest, owned by Robert George Jr. at 1601 Maple Drive.
• tabled action to select an engineer for the city’s road program.

Property tax due Feb. 1
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–This year, property owners get one extra day to settle their taxes without penalties. Property taxes are generally due Jan. 31, but since this falls on a Sunday, the deadline has been extended to Monday, Feb. 1.
Kaufman and Henderson county tax assessors/collectors report all property tax statements were mailed before year’s end.
If you haven’t received a statement, or have misplaced it, please contact the tax office in your respective county, Kaufman County tax assessor/collector Dick Murphy said.
“State law says that you are still responsible for the taxes, even if you do not receive a bill,” he added.
Penalties start to accrue Feb. 2 at 7 percent, and increase by 2 percent each month until July, when an attorney fee of 15 percent to 20 percent is added.
After July, another 1 percent is added each month until payment is made.
Residents 65 or older and disabled residents may qualify to make four equal payments on homestead properties without penalties or interest, if payments are made on time.
The tax office will accept partial payment from taxpayers, though penalties and interest still will accrue on the balance not paid by Feb. 1.
Payments can be made with cash, check, money order, credit card or debit card. Credit card payments can be made by phone in Kaufman County toll-free at (800) 272-9829 or on-line at www.KaufmanTax.net using jurisdiction code 6382.
In Henderson County, payments may be made by phone using a debit or credit card at (903) 675-6134, or by going online at www.texas recordsearch.com/henderson.
A convenience fee will be applied to debit or credit card payments.
Payments can also be mailed – in Kaufman to the main office, P.O. Box 339, Kaufman, TX 75142, or brought to the following locations between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weekdays:
• Kaufman Courthouse Annex, 100 N. Washington, Kaufman
• Terrell substation, 408 E. College Street, Terrell
• Forney Substation, 200 E. Main Street, Forney, or
• Kemp Substation, 103 N. Main Street, Kemp.
In Henderson County, payments may be mailed to the Tax Office at 101 East Tyler St. Athens TX 75751, or brought in between 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Payments may also be made by check or credit/debit card (no cash) between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at subcourthouses in Chandler or Seven Points.
Kaufman County property owners can confirm their payment status on-line at www.KaufmanTax.net or by calling (972) 932-0288, Murphy said.

City considers land buy
EDC, council eyes $750K purchase of 92 acres
Monitor Staff Reports

GUN BARREL CITY-City leaders are contemplating the purchase of 92 acres, currently without road access, behind Ivan Smith Furniture and west of the city park property.
The purchase was set to come before the Gun Barrel City Council as a Economic Development Corporation project during the council’s regular meeting Tuesday night.
In a special called meeting Friday afternoon in Brawner Hall, city leaders debated the pros and cons of the $750,000 purchase.
A first and second reading of the proposition is on Tuesday night’s city council agenda.
Appraised at $285,000, the 92-acre purchase holds many benefits to the city at a $35,000 discount, according to real estate agent and councilman Marty Goss.
Real estate agent, former EDC member and councilman Curtis Webster opposes the land buy, calling it “ill-advised,” since no plan comes with it.
Webster also notes the basic (water, sewer, electrical installation) costs to develop the property is not known.
“This is just how it began with Heritage Cove,” Webster said. Land was purchased and no developer appeared, he recalled.
“The EDC was looking at taking a loss when (Ken) Landers appeared,” he said.
Goss told The Monitor the land could be used for park expansion, including adding soccer fields; development of a senior center and possibly a housing development.
Goss also listed using part of the acreage as a watershed, and as a source for a possible land swap deal for the construction of a full-service hospital and doctor’s building.
“It also lends itself to the extension of Luther Lane across Main Street, and opens up area for an east-west road,” he said. “I feel it is a good investment for the city.”
Goss added the proposal also provides land for future developers, noting that will most likely “front a major portion of the tab.”
“It’s a very good investment, and can be used as collateral to fund projects the city wants,” he said.
Webster said it is foolhardy to purchase land without knowing any of the development costs and without a land planner.
“This is twice the amount (of land) that was turned over to Ken Landers to develop,” Webster pointed out. “I feel they’re getting back into the same situation. There has been no due diligence performed.”
In addition, the property is land-locked, with no frontage on Main Street, he said.
Webster suggested taking an option to buy the land and in the meantime, getting some of the costs down on paper.
“They should get their game plan together first,” he said.


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