themonitoronline.gif (15865 bytes)

Current Issue
February 13, 2011






Lake Area Billboard

East Cedar Creek Freshwater Supply District meets at 12:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at the ECCFSD office on Hammer Road just off Welch Lane in Gun Barrel City.

Eustace City Council meets at 7 p.m. in the Eustace City Hall the first Thursday of each month. For more information, please call 425-4702. The public is invited to attend.

Eustace Independent School District meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at the Eustace High School Library. For more information, please call 425-7131. The public is invited to attend.

Gun Barrel City Council meets in Brawner Hall at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 887-1087. The public is invited to attend.

Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation meets at 1831 W. Main, GBC, at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 887-1899.

Henderson County Commissioner’s Court meets every Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the Henderson County Courthouse in Athens. The public is invited to attend.

Henderson County Emergency Services District #4 meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at 525 S. Tool Dr. in Tool.

Henderson County Historical Commission meets the first Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. in the HC Historical Museum.

Kaufman County Commissioner’s Court meets the first, second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9:45 a.m. in the Kaufman County Courthouse in Kaufman. The public is invited to attend.

Kemp City Council meets at Kemp City Hall at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 498-3191. The public is invited to attend.

Kemp Independent School District meets the third Tuesday of each month in the Board Room in the Administration Building. For more information, please call 498-1314. The public is invited to attend.

Log Cabin City Council meets the third Thursday of the month in city hall. For more information, please call 489-2195. The public is invited to attend.

Mabank City Council meets at 7 p.m. in Mabank City Hall the first Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 887-3241. The public is invited to attend.

Mabank Independent School District meets at 7:30 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month. For more information, please call 887-9310. The public is invited to attend.

Payne Springs City Council meets at city hall at 7:30 p.m. every third Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 451-9229. The public is invited to attend.

Payne Springs Water Supply Corp. meets the third Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. at the Payne Springs Community Center, located at 9690 Hwy. 198.

Seven Points City Council meets at 7 p.m. in Seven Points city hall the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 432-3176. The public is invited to attend.

Tool City Council meets at 6 p.m. in the OranWhite Civic Center the third Thursday of each month. For more information, please call 432-3522. The public is invited to attend.

West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District is held at 5 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month. For more information, please call 432-3704. The public is invited.















main   sports  news  obits  lake life  events  views  classifieds   

People, Places & Events

‘City not ready for a civic center’
Convention Center committee’s report lists eight obstacles
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–While the right kind of civic center for Gun Barrel City would likely drive up sales tax revenue, the obstacles seem insurmountable at this time.
That’s the findings the Civic Center Research Committee presented to the Gun Barrel City Council Tuesday.
In about 26 other Texas cities with civic centers, the committee reported an increase in sales tax revenues up to 40 percent.
“They didn’t kill the idea, only delayed it,” Mayor Dennis Wood told The Monitor following the council meeting.
“Most of their facts were right, except that we can’t afford it,” Wood said. “We can, if we had a property tax. Bottom line is this is a decision that the people have to make. The will of the city council doesn’t seem ready to step out to do it.”
After reviewing the committee’s assignment, research and resources, the report outlined a summary of eight obstacles to be addressed before making a recommendation to suspend the building of an event center until the stage is better set to build and maintain a right-sized facility to accommodate area needs, mainly graduations.
It also recommended the creation of a regional Convention and Visitors Bureau (with input and support from neighboring towns) that would support annual events.
It also suggested keeping the committee active to help design a long-term plan for promotion of tourism in the area. Committee members Sue Cardin, Elian Haan and Eric Foster were led by chairmen Paul Eaton and Linda Rankin.
The PowerPoint presentation identified three possible sites, each of which requiring road construction, which was factored into the price of building a center. These included
• behind the La Quinta hotel at Heritage Cove,
• city-owned acreage north of Municipal Drive,
• property east of Chili’s and Auto Zone on State Highway 334.
A fourth site near the bridge to Payne Springs on State Highway 198 was disqualified after contacting the owners.
An analysis of the varying types of event centers were studied. Committee members considered their strengths and weaknesses for the likely market areas – from regional weddings, reunions, celebrations, trade shows, meetings, entertainment venues and local events.
The committee aimed at designing a facility with the greatest chance of being able to support its operations, by targeting meetings and exhibits and ballroom events. The recommended design calls for a rectangular building on a flat polished concrete floor, as giving the most flexibility.
When gathering cost estimates on such a building, the committee went with a two-phased construction schedule to include 80,100 total square feet. Cost estimates came in between $125 and $200 per square foot, or between $10 million and $16 million.
Marketing effort
Rankin pointed out that during construction, a professional destination marketing effort would need to be funded and in place, naming the minimum cost at $750,000 a year.
Woods disagreed, saying a start-up marketing cost would likely be no more than $200,000 a year, to include one professional and a working budget.
The report emphasized that the strongest reason the city is not ready for a civic center is it doesn’t have a destination marketing organization.
“The competition for tourism funds usually lead to organization ‘separation’ and mistrust, so joint efforts to co-promote organization value to all constituencies should be pursued,” Rankin stressed. Annual funds from the hotel/motel tax, averaging $31,370 is not enough to operate a marketing body and sustain the operation of a civic facility, she said.
Other obstacles include:
• investment in new roads,
• low median household income qualifies the city for governmental grants of only 15 percent of the total project cost,
• no airport to fly-in convention attendees, limiting exhibitions to smaller trade shows and events,
• most event planners have a negative or neutral impression of the city, as there is little in the way of entertainment or attractions other than the lake, which is seen as a positive but not enough to make the city a prime destination. Traditional attractions include nightclubs, restaurants, shopping centers, museums, etc.
• low population base, and lack of skilled employees,
• limited corporate base to pull in business meetings.
Looking at taxes
Though property tax exemptions are possible, since the city is a Home Rule government. Everyone the committee checked with strongly advised against using them, due to complications, which include property value declines, difficulties in removing them, collection efforts are stymied and various other legal costs involved. Already nearly $55 million in property value is tax exempt.
In order to raise $1 million in property tax revenue, the rate would have to be set at around 25 cents per $100, totalling $250 per year on a property valued at $100,000.
The City of Mabank collects 46 cents per $100 for city and utility.
The full report is available from Rankin and the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

Johnson honored with Tyler ceremony
Monitor Staff Reports
TYLER–According to an article in the Tyler Morning Telegraph Tuesday, Tim Johnson’s first official act as the city’s fire department chief was to name his replacement by promoting Tim McCawley to district chief, Stuart Weatherford to captain and Brent Hail to driver engineer.
Johnson replaces Neal Franklin, who retired after 23 years to work for East Texas Medical Center.
Looking forward, Johnson said that while the fire department could improve, he was very happy with it.
City manager Mark McDaniel remarked during the ceremony that although it may be unusual to hire a new chief from within the department, the city of Tyler did so because it was satisfied with the direction of the department and wanted someone who was already familiar with what could be improved, the Telegraph reported.
Early in the process, McDaniel said he didn’t know whether that was possible.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to (hire someone from within the department),” McDaniel was quoted as saying. But when the applications started coming in, he saw that there were some very qualified people, he said.
After visiting all of Tyler’s fire stations to see what qualities firefighters wanted to see in a chief, McDaniel said “it all added up to T.J.”
Johnson responded with a thankful heart to all the positive influences and experiences that helped lead him to this day.
“There are so many people, all my life – teachers, friends, employees of the fire department, a lot of good people helped shape and mold me into who I am, and I’m so grateful for that,” he was quoted as saying.
One of the strongest influences was the father he lost to cancer when he was 7 years old. That’s part of the reason why being promoted is so meaningful, Johnson said.
“It means a lot to me. My daddy was a Dallas firefighter, so I grew up with it on my mind,” he told the Telegraph.

Rep. Gooden appointed to Appropriations Committee
Special to The Monitor
AUSTIN–State Rep. Lance Gooden was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee –the powerful budget-writing body of the House of Representatives.
Now that Speaker of the House Joe Straus released committee assignments for the 82nd Legislature, members of the House can begin meeting in committees and working on legislation.
“It is a great honor to be appointed to serve on the Appropriations Committee,” Gooden said.
“I am prepared to make the tough decisions for Texas as we face a $27 billion budget shortfall. Balancing the budget without raising taxes will be difficult, but I was sent here by the people of District 4 to do just that,” Gooden stated.
“I have promised to fight to protect our tax dollars, work to minimize the negative impact of budget cuts in our community, and I am eager to have an active role in the budgeting process. The budget is the most serious issue this session, and being on this committee gives District 4 the influence it deserves,” he added.
Gooden, one of only five freshmen appointed to the 27-member Appropriations Committee, was also named to the House County Affairs and the House Administration committees.
Gooden and the other members of the Appropriations Committee began work on the budget immediately, meeting Wednesday afternoon just hours after being appointed.
On Thursday the committee will get an early start, even though the House is not meeting in regular session the remainder of the week.
Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts of Waxahachie will be leading the committee for the second consecutive session.
“It is an honor to be chosen to serve on Appropriations at any point in a legislator’s career,” Pitts said.
“Rep. Gooden’s appointment as a freshman is reflective of the dedication he has exhibited since his election, and the confidence that Speaker Straus has in his ability to serve his district and all of Texas,” Pitts said.

Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake

We have many animals at the
Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake
in Seven Points
in dire need of a good home.
Please call or stop by the Humane Society today
and rescue one of these forgotten animals.
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake
is located on
10220 County Road 2403 in Seven Points.
For more information, please call
(903) 432-3422 after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

For further information visit our website at




Copyright © 2011, MediaOne, L.L.C.