last day to register to vote
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Thursday
(today) is the last day to register to vote in the May 12 election.
Cities and school districts are holding elections for mayor, council seats
The Kemp Independent School District is seeking approval of a $23 million
bond issue to build a new high school and make numerous renovations.
Seven Points is asking voters to consider taking half of the city’s EDC tax
money to fund road maintenance.
Mabank has six candidates vying for two council seats, and Gun Barrel City,
which has been a council member short since early October, is also holding a
approves special-use permit
Harbor Point wins zoning changes
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–After almost nine months of
petitioning the city, Tamarack resident Tina Hamilton has secured a
special-use permit for her animal rescue service.
Tuesday, the Gun Barrel City Council approved a special-use permit process,
which includes getting written approval from every neighbor within 200 feet,
and in this case, limiting the number of dogs on the premises to eight at a
Hamilton had previously presented endorsements from neighbors within 300
feet of her home, from which she operates Happy Tails, a nonprofit animal
During the last several weeks, this issue has split the Tamarack community,
and the council heard objections from several citizens, but no near
Due to the length of time and unresponsiveness of city hall to Hamilton’s
requests and council’s direction, the council waived the $250 permit fee on
a 3-1 vote.
“I’m against waiving fees for any reason,” Councilman Keith Crozier said in
Harbor Point residents won their proposed changes to the zoning code in
In a 3-1 vote, the council repealed part of the zoning code, replacing it
with specifications requested by members of the Harbor Point Property Owners
Association, and okayed by the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Other changes approved included ruling two lots bordering the airport as
unbuildable at the owner’s request, and rezoning three other lots at the
south end of the landing strip for commercial use.
Councilwoman Kathy Cochran objected to a clause that would zone all other
lots in Sections 1 and 2 as residential.
That would include lots across the street from Firstmate, which are
currently unimproved, and which Cochran said should remain unimproved or
unbuildable for air safety reasons.
In other business, the council:
• approved replatting of a 2.65 acre track next to Terry’s Furniture Store
on West Main for Clean Car Wash, formerly known as Wash Zone.
• approved a preliminary and final plat for a CVS Pharmacy next door to
Chili’s on West Main.
• decided to give the city manager search committee first crack at
presenting the council with qualified applicants for the job, and set a
joint workshop for 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, to complete items not addressed
during a previous workshop.
• authorized the city attorney to draft an ordinance prohibiting registered
sex offenders from residing within the city limits.
Bond proposal explained
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–A very detailed explanation
of the school tax system was presented by Kemp Independent School District
Superintendent Dr. Peter Running Monday.
The meeting in the KISD boardroom was one of several public information
meetings being held at various times and places. For information on upcoming
meetings, call the administration office at (903) 498-1312.
Approximately 25 parents and staff were present.
Running said people needed to understand the process before voting on a $23
million bond package for a new high school and renovations to existing
“Our purpose is to arm you with the facts,” he said.
Two separate tax accounts fund school activities. The maintenance and
operation (M&O) and interest and sinking (I&S) funds.
M&O pays salaries, utilities, instructional needs and all day-to-day costs,
I&S takes care of indebtedness. I&S cannot be used for M&O items, but M&O
funds can be transferred to I&S if need be, he explained.
M&O is funded in three portions – state (65 percent), federal (2 percent)
and local (33 percent). The local tax rate is set each year by the board of
Last year, the state ordered tax rates compressed from $1.50 per $100
valuation to $1.33, and then allowed the school districts to add a 4-cent
amount to the $1.33, making it $1.37 per $100 valuation.
The state limits I&S taxes to 50 cents per $100.
Kemp’s current I&S tax rate is 8 cents per $100, because trustees were able
to take some money from the fund balance to pay the difference.
That savings is not there for next year, Running told the audience, adding
the I&S tax rate will go up to 16 cents whether the bond election passes or
Using the average home in Kemp with a $55,208 taxable value, Running gave
examples of the average tax owed.
This year, adding the M&O and the I&S tax, the amount a taxpayer will pay is
Next year, tax law changes result in a tax bill of $794.99, a savings of
Next year, the M&O will drop by 33 cents and the I&S will increase by 32
However, the district will receive extra state money for the ordered
decrease in the M&O amount, explained as a “hold harmless” clause, to insure
school districts receive the same amount under normal circumstances.
The overall tax bill for homeowners will not increase if the bond issue
Many voters are concerned the new high school is being built because of
expected growth, but if the bond issue does not pass, the current
overcrowding problem will not go away.
An independent facilities study listed many current problems facing the
“We are at the one drop of water that will make the glass overflow,” Running
As an example, the high school cafetorium, which feeds three campuses, is so
filled, many students go without eating because there is not enough time for
everybody to be served, he said.
Going campus by campus, the committee results were as follows:
• high school – Overcrowded classrooms, inadequate hallways, overcrowded
cafetorium, shortage of science facilities and inadequate science labs
(state mandate), the over-crowded band hall (three campuses use),
administration space is substandard, allowing no privacy for parent
conferences, 12 different portables in use, and the state mandated perimeter
for security purposes is insufficient.
• junior high – Roof and windows leak and the leaks are hard to find,
library does not meet state standards, computer labs are lacking and several
classrooms do not meet the facility standards set by the state.
In addition, the heating and air conditioning units pose noise problems in
• intermediate – Perimeter security problems, library is extremely
substandard, computer and science facilities are inadequate, there is no
music room, gym shows structural settlement, drainage flows through the
building in heavy rain and it also has HVAC issues.
“The building itself is structurally sound, but the longer repairs are put
off, the worse it will become,” Running explained.
He also pointed out an electrical panel for the whole building was installed
low, near the floor, right beside where janitorial staff empty mop buckets
and drain them.
• primary school – Has persistent roof leaks and structural problems.
Population growth, or the lack of it, was still a concern to some.
“If it never shows up, it will still not alleviate the overcrowding or the
other problems,” Running said.
“That one drop of water is about to overflow,” he said.
Someone mentioned the district is no longer able to attract new families, as
after one look at the aging KISD facilities, they move on to another
Several people spoke up, saying they knew families waiting to see if the
bond issue would pass before deciding to move out of the district.
“We believe growth is on its way. If you look at what is happening (east of
Kemp in Forney and Crandall), the (growth) wave is coming this way,” Running
The current growth rate for the district is 2.78 percent per year, he said.
“That’s the 2.78 drop of water making the glass overflow,” Running said. “If
the enrollment grows as expected, we will need 40 (more) classrooms in 10
Another problem relates to the new state-mandated fourth year of math,
science, social studies and language arts.
“All our rooms are now substandard,” he said.
If the bond issue doesn’t pass, the district will be looking at some drastic
1. To add more and reoccupy portable buildings.
2. Extend the instruction schedule (lengthen school day) or the calendar
(lengthen school year).
3. Construct new classrooms at each campus at a higher cost.
“If we are working at several different construction sites, we won’t get the
‘more bang for the buck’ we need,” he said.
Construction costs are approximately $185 per square foot when working at
different sites, compared to $116 per square foot at one main site, he
That is why the board decided to construct a new high school campus and
repair the others, Running added.
“Our job is not to sit here and try to convince you to go and vote yes,” he
But whether one votes yes or no, “shame on you if you go without all the
facts,” he added.
Snow flurries do not stop egg
Two-year-old Quintin Landrie (left) steps up on the Seven Points fire truck on
display during the Fun Family Easter event sponsored by the city's police
department at Brookshire's Saturday in Seven Points.
Campers and residents (above right) numbering near 100 race to pick up as many plastic
eggs as possible at the annual egg hunt at Purtis Creek State Park Saturday.
Snow flurries made the event a chilly dash.
Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Bundled little ones like these (left) were treated to train rides, bounce houses,
cotton candy and hot dogs at the Christian Life Center in Gun Barrel City
No one was injured when this empty rock hauler negotiated a turn a little
too closely and ended up in the ditch around 6:50 a.m. Monday at the Seven
Points intersection. Ishmael Morales, a Kemp resident, was cited for making
an unsafe turn and arrested for having a “detectable amount of alcohol,” a
Class C misdemeanor, Seven Points Police Officer Brad Hendricks explained.
Morales was taken to the Henderson County jail. Traffic headed west on State
Highway 85 was diverted until nearly 9 a.m. while authorities worked to
remove the 18-wheeler.