Thursday, July 10, 2008





City to charge $600 for clean-ups
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Mabank City Council members sharply hiked fees and fines related to code enforcement actions, including mowing and cleaning up properties within the city.
“Our prices are exorbitant, because we don’t want to do it,” mayor Larry Teague noted during the council’s regular session July 1.
Code enforcement officer Mat Ewaskiw told the council the escalating cost of diesel fuel is forcing the city to make it very expensive for a property owner to clean up a vacant lot.
“The city used to mow for people at a reasonable rate,” Ewaskiw said. “Now, if the city has to mow the lot, this is what they’ll be charged.”
If the city uses its bat-wing mower (the city’s largest) on a property, it will cost $500 per hour, with a one-hour minimum, plus the $100 administration fee the city will charge to send out a bill.
A tractor-drawn brush-hog mower or riding mower will carry a $300 minimum charge, and the city will charge a minimum of $200 for a push mower or string trimmer.
Clean-up labor will be billed at $100/hour per employee, with a one-hour minimum.
During the discussion, the council noted a proposed $1,000 fee for the demolishing of an unsafe structure should be changed to a $1,000 minimum, as trash dumpsters now cost the city at least $375 per day each.
The council increased the code enforcement fine from a maximum of $200 to $500, as allowed by state law.
Both the fee hike and fine increase went into effect immediately on the council’s action.
In related actions, the council declared two structures, located at 814 S. Sutton and 202 Grant, to be dangerous buildings, and authorized demolishing both structures.
Both property owners have agreed with the city’s plan to raze the buildings, Ewaskiw said.
In other business, the council:
• held two public hearings and approved a performance agreement with the Economic Development Corporation to provide a downtown lot as the home of a new business.
Salon Euphoria, now located in Gun Barrel City, is planning to build a new brick building on a now-vacant Market Street lot, EDC executive director Scott Confer explained.
The previous structure on the lot was among four historic buildings destroyed by a July 31, 2006, fire, and the lot was purchased by the EDC for $15,000 afterward, Confer said.
Under terms of the performance agreement, Imelda Gonzalez, doing business as (dba) Salon Euphoria, has 60 days to close an agreement with the First National Bank of Kemp for an estimated $152,000 to construct a brick-and-glass building on the lot.
“The building would be similar to McAfee Insurance(’s new office),” Confer said.
The current Gun Barrel City location offers room for four beauty stylist stations, while the proposed building would provide room for 10 stations, plus tanning and massage facilities, he added.
Council members approved the EDC agreement 3-1, with councilman Mitch Odom opposing.
• asked city administrator Louann Confer to draft a resolution for area legislators, requesting a change in state law to allow general law cities, such as Mabank, to pass ordinances naming specific breeds of dogs as dangerous animals.
Current ordinances don’t allow the city to declare an animal dangerous until it has already attacked a person.
• asked Confer to draft a resolution for area legislators, asking for the law to be changed to allow general law cities to draft ordinances further restricting where sex offenders may reside.
• authorized a change in financial administrators to Debra Davis (Edward Jones of Mabank) for the city’s retirement system, and agreed to raise the city’s match from 3 percent of employee salary to 6 percent.

Celebrating the 232nd birthday
of the U.S.A.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Skies around Cedar Creek Lake were lit up with fireworks this past Fourth
of July weekend. Gun Barrel City and Seven Points Fire Department hosted
shows at sunset and some residents staged their own fireworks at their homes.
This photograph was taken during the fireworks staged by Linda and Bud Henry
at their Key Ranch Road home Saturday.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
The family of Bob and Jane Jezierski don patriotic wigs to show their national
spirit during the Enchanted Oaks’ annual July 4 parade Friday. See Sunday’s
issue of The Monitor for more scenes from this year’s parade.

Log Cabin reloads
New police chief and officer hired
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

LOG CABIN–Without a police force since mid-June, Log Cabin has reloaded its police department with a new police chief and patrolman.
In a special meeting July 3, the Log Cabin City Council unanimously approved the hiring of Cody Speak as a patrol sergeant.
Speak comes to the city from the Malakoff Police Department, where he’s served for one year.
Log Cabin lost its police chief, Chris Smoot, and his two officers when Smoot resigned June 19.
Smoot wished to return to his hometown and his officers were serving at his request.
The loss of the three officers left the city of Log Cabin with no police force.
Becky Baskin was hired as chief June 27. Previously, she served Caney City as a police officer.
“We’re starting fresh,” Baskins commented, explaining the city has approximately 20 cases to be submitted to the Henderson County District Attorney’s office.
Two cases have already been dropped because it didn’t make it into the DA’s office in time, she said. These involved burglary suspects who are now back on the streets, she said.
“But I’m going to resubmit the files, and they’ll go to the TDC (Texas Department of Criminal Justice),” she said.
The council agreed to let both Baskins and Speak take a police vehicle home, to keep them from being vandalized and to allow the officers a faster response time.

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