Sunday, April 20, 2008





County okays $6.375M bond issue for road repairs
By Terry Britt
Monitor Staff Writer

CANTON–Van Zandt County Commissioners took a long-awaited step in making county road improvements April 10 by issuing $6.375 million in certificates of obligation.
Of that amount, $6 million is specified for county road repairs and improvements.
Another $250,000 will be used for construction of a county office and court building in Wills Point, and the remainder will cover issuance fees for the 15-year debt package.
Mike Brown of Government Capital Securities told the commissioners the county received a locked-in interest rate of 3.39 percent.
“That was lower than the estimated 3.44 (percent) rate, which saved you another $31,000 in interest,” he said.
Brown later added that the county’s positive factors in its financial data, such as its tax base and low level of current debt, likely contributed to getting the lower financing rate.
Although glad to move forward with the decision, there was a general feeling among commissioners that it would have had a bigger impact if it had been done years ago.
“I wish we could have done this when it was $23 a barrel for (road) oil. It’s up to about $60 now. The budget’s about the same, so (the money) is doing about one-third the work now,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Ricky LaPrade said.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Kelles Miller added he had not seen a comprehensive county road financing package since 1949.
“We could sit here another 20 years and just get deeper in a hole. You’ve got to start somewhere,” Miller said. “You have to have a plan to move on with it or you’ll never get anything created.”
Four citizens from the Elm Grove area in the southwestern corner of the county attended the court session to voice their approval for the action.
David Sutter said he wholeheartedly backed the court’s decision.
“I am delighted to see the progress our county officials have made in addressing this need for making repairs to our deteriorated county road system,” he said, reading written comments to the commissioners.
Andy Flowers added he wanted to see the commissioners plan for future road needs as the county continues to grow in population.
“I almost wished it had been $20 or $25 million, to do all that really needs to be done with all the new growth,” Flowers said.
Flowers urged commissioners to establish a system to count traffic on county roads to determine future repair and improvement needs, and to clean out more ditches along county roads.
“A lot of the road bed is being lost because of water running over it,” he said.
Brown said funds should be available by Wednesday, April 30, following approval by the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
The county will have three years from that date to spend the money, he added.

Hats off to contest winners
Garden club raises $3,675 for pocket park
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–The Mabank Garden Club’s hat contest reaped three times more than expected. And though two entries virtually tied for best hat, the future Mabank pocket park was the big winner.
“Our goal was to raise $1,000, and even then some of our members thought that was optimistic,” Mabank Garden Club president Mary Ann Odom said.
Eight ladies were picked to create hats because they were felt to have a following, Odom told The Monitor.
What was raised was a whopping $3,675!
“It was three times the amount we were hoping for,” Odom said.
The club wasn’t counting on the efforts of two determined women.
Lake resident Cinda Smith, who loves hanging out at the Hydrangea House, garnered large support from family members, who literally stuffed her ballot box with one-dollar votes.
And founding garden club member Opal Toney called all over town on friends and neighbors to support the fund-raiser with votes for her Easter bonnet and was rewarded with the prize and title of “hometown favorite.”
Toney and Smith both brought in about $950 each for the garden club fund-raiser.
The Most Beautiful Hat contest was the brain child of Shannon Henderson of the Hydrangea House.
A tea honoring the participants was held there March 20.
Participants also included Mary Ann Odom, Teddie Harpole, Alene Gibbs, Tonya Roberts, Henderson, Marzette Boehme, Nell Walker and Kathy Cryer.
Gorgeous hats were created in honor of Easter and springtime and were on display throughout March at the coffee house.
Plans for the pocket park, to be located on Market Street in the empty lot are progressing nicely, Odom said. Once the last building is constructed, the garden club hopes to begin its landscaping. “Probably in the fall,” Odom said.
A pocket park is also called a mini park of vest-pocket park, so named for its small space within an urban area.
Although they are too small for physical activities, pocket parks provide residents with greenery, a place to sit outdoors, and, sometimes, a children’s play area. They may be created around a monument, historic marker or art project.
A fine example of one can be seen on the courthouse square in Athens.

Courtesy Photo/Mary Ann Odom
Hydrangea House’s Shannon Henderson presents Home Town Favorite Award
winner Opal Toney with a $100 gift certificate at a Garden Club tea recently.
Toney and Cinda Smith raised nearly $2,000 between them for Mabank’s
pocket park by gleaning the most votes for their decorative hats, displayed
at the coffee house in March. The hat contest raised $3,675.

Voters to meet Mabank school trustee candidates
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–The Mabank Volunteer Fire Department will host a candidate forum for the upcoming May 10 school trustees election.
The forum is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, at the firehouse, 111 E. Mason St. in Mabank.
“We look forward to providing a constructive opportunity in which they can discuss issues facing the school district,” fire chief Ricky Myrick said.
Six candidates are vying for three seats on the school board.
Running for the unexpired Place 3 spot is Paul Edmondson and Tyson Johnson.
Seeking Place 4 is incumbent Mike Cathey and Jeff Gaddis.
Those seeking Place 5 are Todd Grimes and incumbent Scott Tuley.
Written questions have been collected to present to the candidates via e-mail at
Those in attendance will also have an opportunity to pose questions during the forum.
Ronnie Davis of the First State Bank of Mabank will moderate the discussion.
“This is another way to bring the community together as we grow and move into the future,” Myrick said. “We hope everyone will take this chance to hear from the candidates and then vote on May 10.”

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