Sunday, June 20, 2010



  Ticket fees rise with credit card usage
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

PAYNE SPRINGS–Payne Springs is now able to accept payments for citations via a credit or debit card.
In order to cover the costs involved, Tuesday the city council agreed to tack on $4 to the citation fee structure.
Police Chief Tim Meadows also briefed council members on a more efficient way to conduct police and court business by using the Cop-Sync computer system.
Eustace PD has been using the new software for about a month now, Meadows said.
The council was open to the presentation, because the current court software license is coming up for renewal.
The Cop-Sync system ties into the state database, so with the swipe of a drivers licence, the officer is instantly informed whether there are outstanding warrants.
The system also acts as a citation writer, providing a download for the court, negating the need for entering ticket information. Bypassing this step also significantly reduces mistakes.
Meadows liked the feature, which would allow him to see exactly where his officers are in real time, even clocking the speed with which they are traveling and pinpointing other law enforcement positions in the vicinity.
An officer can also use the system to research laws.
“Using Cop-Sync will greatly reduce the time it takes to conduct a traffic stop and get back on patrol,” Meadows said.
An officer can use it to type out reports, negating the need to spend time in the office. These reports can be downloaded to the police department on a drive-by through the department’s router, Meadows explained.
It will track daily activity, call sheets, racial profiling, generate statistics and even track and schedule car maintenance, he added.
Councilwoman Linda Carr deduced from the presentation that the system could allow the city to postpone adding another officer, if it is able to keep officers on the streets more.
The cost to get started is around $12,000, Meadows reported, with $4,300 in annual fees. He also pointed out that since 2004, the city hasn’t purchased any software for the police department.
Each officer using the system would also have to attend a 40-hour course, he added.
Meadows said he can set up a demonstration of Eustace’s set-up for the city judge.
“Lou (the court clerk) absolutely loves it,” he said.
Much of Tuesday’s meeting also discussed the flooding experienced to the homes of many inside the city, most of it due to the county’s inability to maintain the bar ditches.
“My house was on that suffered from flooding. We asked the county four years ago to work on those ditches,” councilman Michael Juica said.
Councilman Michael McDonald read from a prepared statement of the shortcomings in the service the city has or hasn’t received from Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney.
“Payne Springs residents pay $200,000 a year to the county in property taxes, and all we get is unpacked fill in pot holes, and that with the city paying for the material,” McDonald said.
Carr said she would meet with McKinney for an “eye-to-eye” meeting about the city’s roadwork.
Wednesday, council members were to review repaving work on C.R. 2709 (a jig off Crawfish Ranch Road) done by Reneau Paving.
In a special meeting last week, the council awarded the work contract for $6,975, and said they were willing to award work on CR 2529 (Crawfish Ranch Road) for another $5,000 to the same company, if they liked what they saw.
In other business, council members:
• agreed on placing a storage building on the city’s impound lot up to a cost of $1,500.
• assigned committees: Carr – roads, Ida Zimmerer – signs, Michael McDonald – police and Nathan Gilbreath – garage sales/businesses. Juica is focused on finishing the impound lot, for which he is reimbursed $245 for repairs to his tractor during the work.
• agreed to a court collections test, using McDonald’s personal credit card for one month. The test will reveal whether the courts could benefit by having a credit card for specific use.


Council hears how Mabank weathered heavy rains
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Mabank city council members heard how city workers and volunteers kept on task around the clock, regardless of snakes to re-establish water service to residents of the Cedar Creek Country Club June 11.
Utility supervisor Ronnie Tuttle told the council Tuesday during a special meeting that Mabank that the wastewater plant recorded 16 inches of rainfall overnight Thursday, flooding roads and disrupting water service.
The country club had lost a main water line Friday, due to shifting sand in the channel, Tuttle explained. “It had drifted all the way out into the cove.”
He and his crew replaced it with a new caseless pipe that won’t become disconnected under similar circumstances. The former pipe had been there for 30 years, he said.
Divers worked around the clock to install the new piping, he added. They fought against weeds and grass up to eight feet tall, he said.
The work also included a 335-foot bore.
All was going well until about 10 p.m. when the snakes started coming out, he said.
No one was bit however, but the faint-hearted, including the police chief, left the work up to the experts and got out of there.
“I thought I was back in Vietnam,” he added.
By 10:30 a.m. Saturday water service had been restored. Tuttle said he ordered 1,000 feet of the new pipe and plans to make replacements of similar channel piping in August, when chances of inclement weather is reduced.
“They done a heck of a job,” Tuttle said.
“The city employees have had ample opportunities for stepping up to the challenges lately,” Mayor Larry Teague said, recounting the recent tornado and the arts festival. “They are all to be commended.
Fire marshal Mat Ewaskiw noted the smooth cooperation between city workers and fire department volunteers during the crisis.
In other business, council members:
• appointed Jan Groom as Associate Judge for the Municipal Court and witnessed the swearing-in ceremony.
• deemed 102 W. Market St. (the Hyde Building) a dangerous and unsafe building and heard that the demolition should be completed by the end of the week.
• authorized the issuing of permits to Larry Elmore for two 192-sq.-ft. pole signs 700 feet apart along State Highway 198.
• adopted an ordinance for the installaiton of stop signs at the intersection of W. Eubank and 5th Street and at the intersection of 9th and Walnut streets.
• tabled action on two other items.





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