New road opens
Mabank finishes new thoroughfare from Post
Office to 9th Street to Business 175
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–Members of the Mabank City Council approved the placement
of stop and speed limit signs on a new roadway connecting E.L.
Groom Parkway with the Ninth Street extension.
Posting the signs was expected to begin Wednesday, May 9, and
take two days to complete.
A four-way stop is planned, where Walnut Street intersects with
Ninth and Greer Road in addition to four more stop signs, where
Andrew and E.L. Groom meet the new thoroughfare.
Four posted speed limit signs will say 30 mph and four curve
arrows will indicate major bends along the mile long corridor.
“This is going to become a very busy thoroughfare,” streets
supervisor Ronnie Tuttle said.
Once the signs are up , the road can be opened to traffic.
Tuttle also said he plans two coats of hot oil and gravel for
He expects the road to open early this week.
Also on Monday, possible names for the new road were discussed.
Since much of the right away was donated by the Wilson family,
councilwoman Shannon Steakley felt Wilson Way was an appropriate
Another suggested name is Betty Wilson Street. City staff are to
check with 9-1-1 addressing on both names, and the name proposal
is to be discussed at the next meeting.
The council also adopted two ordinances, one pertaining to
peddlers, solicitors and vendors and the other approving
municipal court fee to transport those picked up on Class C
warrants in other counties.
Police chief Kyle McAfee said the counties have turned over all
transports back to the city where the warrant originated. The
change took effect in February. Suspects must be picked up
within 24 hours.
State law allows up to $25 for this fee and the council
unanimously approved it to defray the transportation costs.
Vendors and peddlers will not only have to gain a permit to
operate within the city, new fees are also being applied.
A permit for 72 hours costs $25 for each solicitor in the event.
A 30-day permit costs $50 and an annual permit is $200.
Exemptions apply for locally-based non-profits and vendors
associated with a special event approved by the city council
The solicitor must apply for the permit by providing the city
with state-issued identification, state tax certificate, contact
information, goods or services to be sold, detailed location
description, written permission from the property holder and
possibly vehicular information, period of time business will be
Penalties if convicted of the misdemeanor charge is a fine
between $100 and $300 for each offense per day.
In other business, council members:
• denied the rate increase sought by Atmos Energies. The city is
negotiating along with 441 other cities on an adjusted rate
increase. Atmos has filed a rate case to increase rates
system-wide by nearly $50 million.
• amended the budget as requested by Tuttle and the city
secretary to accommodate the purchase of a one-ton gas-powered
truck with extended cab and utility bed and a 93-horsepower John
Deere Tractor with front-end loader through the Buy Board; also
to meet an increase in health and general liability insurance
premiums, as well as the final payment to IESI for trash
Fairy Gonzalez reported that the costs for the city to haul its
own garbage, something it started Jan. 1, has saved the city
• noted four expressions of appreciation to the city’s police
department. One came from the Forney Police Department for help
rendered during the April 3 tornado; another noted the above and
beyond assistance given to a family from Oklahoma who found
themselves in dire need; a third included a check for $100 from
the Friends of Tri-County Library and the last one thanked
police for rendering aid when their vehicle was broken down on
the side of the road.
“I appreciate Kyle McAfee for his demeanor and example he sets
for the entire department,” councilman Tim Johnson said.
City closes police department
In a sudden move, Kemp dismisses its officers
to keep city solvent
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–As of Wednesday morning, the city of Kemp no longer had a
police department, and in approximately 30 days, the municipal
judge will also be let go.
The action was taken in order to save money the city needs to
remain financially solvent due to its “ serious budget
constraints,” Mayor Donald Kile explained.
The city council meeting was held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, an hour
earlier than normal. Even though it was posted on the agenda the
required 72 hours prior to the meeting, many citizens straggled
in late, including former councilman Todd Weber and the city’s
attorney Terry Welch.
Welch said he had not received a call notifying him of the
change in meeting time.
Barely 30 minutes into Tuesday’s council meeting, the members
went into a closed session that lasted more than two hours.
Upon returning to open session, council members voted
unanimously to immediately disband its police department.
The police department consists of the chief, Richard Clemmo,
four “regular” and 10 “reserve officers,” charged with the
safety of its approximately 1,200 residents and those who live
in the surrounding area.
All the officers lost their jobs.
“We know this is a very tough situation for several of our city
employees and we terribly regret that these actions had to be
taken, but the city’s financial situation has deteriorated to
such an extent that immediate measures were necessary,” Kile
“We hope they understand the reasons for this action and will be
supportive even though they are directly impacted by these
actions,” he added.
Another person directly impacted by Tuesday’s decision is Regina
Kiser, Kemp’s municipal judge.
She will remain employed for 30 more days, until Friday, June 8,
to give her time to clear up her current caseload.
A second action taken involved the ongoing negotiations with
West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District (WCCMUD).
The council authorized the mayor and city administrator, Charles
Fenner, to work on an agreement by which WCCMUD could take over
the day-to-day operations of the Kemp Municipal Water System.
“While we the lawyers and financial specialists will get
together ... I am confident an agreement will be reached that is
acceptable to both the city and the WCCMUD directors,” Kile
Fenner said the next few weeks may seem somewhat odd and said,
“I hope citizens understand and trust that we are working
diligently to address the matters as quickly as possible.”
And as a final comment, Kile added, “We did what we had to do.”
The county will provide law enforcement for the city, Kile said.
Kaufman County sheriff David Byrnes sent a news release
addressing the issue.
“I would like the citizens of Kemp to know that the Sheriff’s
Office will continue to answer calls in the city of Kemp,” he
Citizens of Kemp are advised to call 9-1-1, and their call will
be handled in a timely manner. For a non emergency they can call
(972) 932-4337, and they will be routed to the appropriate
department, Byrnes explained.
Clemmo said Tuesday’s council action “came out of nowhere.”
“There was no discussion with department heads and it has left
four full time officers without jobs. They could have let us
know this was in the works,” he explained.
His employee budget for the year was $180,000, of which about
seven months have already passed, Clemmo said.
Clemmo told The Monitor, that he and Sgt. (John) Law worked the
remainder of Tuesday night until 8 a.m. Wednesday morning to
prepare the station to be left in a safe condition.
Clemmo said he has been fielding calls from citizens trying to
make sense of the action.
“The support from the community toward me has been wonderful. It
has been that way the entire time I have been working for Kemp,”
“It’s been a pleasure to serve my home community in this
capacity and it is regrettable the city is in such a state that
our services had to be terminated,” Clemmo said.
In other business, council members:
• heard a complaint from the Rev. Juwan Seigle, Pastor of Oak
Grove Baptist Church.
Seigle recalled the details of the night he was arrested for an
incident involving a “defective tail light.”
He asked that something be done (to correct the policy that
allows the actions).
• heard Diana Clemmo, speaking for the Becker–Jiba (Water
company) and turned down suggested negotiations between Kemp and
“We will help if needed,” she concluded.
• denied a proposed rate hike by Atmos Energy.
Other cities served by the company have also turned down the
hike and have asked Kemp to do the same, Kile said.