Thursday, July 26, 2007







 Mabank ISD lowers tax rate
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–The total proposed tax rate for Mabank Independent School District is lower than last year’s rate.
Assistant superintendent of Business Scott Adams told MISD trustees the new rate is $1.365 per $100 valuation.
The rate for 2007 was $1.674 per $100 valuation, a reduction of just under 31 cents (30.9), Adams said.
This amount results in a tax reduction of $309 on a $100,000 home, he explained.
The proposed rate includes $1.04 for maintenance and operation (M&O) and interest and 32.5 cents for sinking fund (I&S) for a total of $1.365.
The $1.04 M&O tax will generate approximately $8.7 million in revenue for the district.
Trustees set a public meeting for the 2007-08 budget and proposed tax rate for Monday, Aug. 27.
In other business, trustees:
• heard the monthly report from Richard Crump, Claycomb Architects, on the progress of the new high school.
Crump said punch lists and inspections were being completed, owner training was completed and MISD is installing furniture, equipment and waxing the floors.
For August, he said the remaining punch list will be completed, the final closeout documents will be presented and the final pay application will be processed.
Crump also reported on the junior high (old high school) renovations.
Those included preparation for painting, installation of new door frames, removal of flooring, installed concession plumbing and demolition of wall facia and soffit panels.
August will find workers busy preparing walls for finishes, installing new walls, painting, and installing exterior canopies.
The junior high project is scheduled for completion by the end of February, 2008.
• approved TASB (Local) Policy Update 80, second reading.
• elected trustees Dean Fannin as delegate and Darrell Kinnard as alternate delegate for the 2007 TASB/TASA convention.
• approved year one of a three-year student insurance program with Robert Bice Agency.
• heard MISD received a superior rating in the preliminary First Rating of the Financial Integrity System of Texas.
• denied a Level III complaint.
• heard open house for the MISD Early Childhood Program is set for 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, at Central Elementary.
• heard the dedication of the new high school is at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5. Staff members will be placed at key locations to help those taking self-guided tours of the new facility.
• heard the new teacher luncheon is set for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, in the new high school cafeteria.
• heard TASB/TASA convention is set for Friday through Sunday, Sept. 28-30, in Dallas.

Minimum wage gets boost over 3 years
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–A 70-cent per hour increase that took effect Tuesday will provide minimum wage earners a $28 per week increase in their paycheck for a 40 hour week.
For some it means extra gas money, for others more money for food, utilities or bills.
The increase is the first of three installments to be added each July 24 for 2007, 08 and 09.
Each increase is 70 cents per hour, reaching $7.25 per hour in 2009.
One of every six U.S. workers earning minimum wage lives in Texas.
Most of the workers are 20 years or older and employed full time, staff with the Center for Public Policy in Austin reported.
Texas has the most number of workers affected by the pay hike as 1.8 million Texans will receive the increase.
Sometimes workers are forced to quit low-paying jobs because the salary is not sufficient to provide for the minimum living needs of a house or apartment, food, clothing and a car.
The low pay does not provide for car repairs, phone service, owning a computer or having a credit card.
The answer to who is earning minimum wage is provided by the Economic Policy Institute.
The answers are sometimes expected and sometimes surprising
For instance, it is no surprise that 59 percent of the minimum wage earners are women, while 41 percent are men.
By ethnicity, almost 61 percent are white, 16 percent black, 18 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent Asian.
While 21 percent of those aged 16 to 19 earn minimum wage, of those aged 20 and over 79 percent receive minimum wage.
By occupation, 37 percent in service industries are paid minimum wage.
The employment rate is below 5 percent which is pushing wages up in some instances, according to economic and finance experts.
While some businesses offer $8 or $9 an hour, the wages are still not enough to live on.
Central Dallas Ministries, a community development and social justice organization established what they refer to as an “organizational minimum wage” of $10 per hour early this year.
“It’s kind of a moral requisite. We don’t think anybody should be working for less than $10 an hour,” Larry James, the organization’s president said.

Hayes Carll performs at Gaters
Special to The Monitor
GUN BARREL CITY–Gaters Music Hall in Gun Barrel City is hosting famed Texas/Arkansas songwriter and performer Hayes Carll in a concert Saturday, July 28.
Doors open at 7 p.m. with the Dollar Short Band and Whiskey Meyers opening for him. For ticket information, call (903) 880-9960.
Carll is, by his own admission, a bit of a gambler.
Whether he’s facing an intimate room or a packed dance hall of noisy, potentially hostile patrons hungry for the headlines, it’s always the same.
Shambling more than walking on stage like a guy who’s just woken from a restless sleep with a horrible hangover, you think, “This guy is a mess,” admits friend Ray Wylie Hubbard, a bit of a hustler of a troubadour himself.
That’s when he shows his hand, and you find you’ve been hustled because he’s always very much in control, even though sometimes he doesn’t give that appearance.
“He walks on to that stage and just owns it – like it’s his time, his stage, and he has total control and keeps your attention his whole set. I admire that,” Hubbard said.
To Carll’s credit is the acclaimed album Little Rock with such songs as “Wish I hadn’t Stayed So Long,” “Long Way Home” and “Rivertown,” co-written with Guy Clark, the dean of Texas songwriters.
Flowers and Liquor, an album of songs reflecting Carll’s whisky-soaked days, just out of college was influenced by his living among “rednecks and outlaws” that populated Crystal Beach.
“When you’re young, it’s hard to think of original ideas other than loneliness, alcohol and sex,” Carll says of his debut album. His deadpan self-deprecating reply makes his stage banter as entertaining as his songs.
After the release of ‘Flowers and Liquor on Compadre Records, Carll became the opening act of choice for any number of Lone Star legends. That exposure has since made him a rising marquee name in his own right in Texas and beyond.
“It’s up and down (financially), and it’s not always an easy life,” he admits of the singer-songwriter game. “But in the big picture, I can’t complain. I know that most of the people I meet would rather have my job than theirs – and I’d rather have my job than theirs, too.
“I’m doing what I never thought I’d be able to do, but always wanted to do, you know? I’m living that dream”.

Water-borne concert
Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Fair weather and lake-full of boaters helped make the first free concert on the lake a success Saturday. A group of business owners and entertainer Dino Perelli launched the inaugural event with plans for annual concerts. About 60 boats and 400 people enjoyed a variety of musical renditions by Perelli, A.J. and The Bad Cats, and Stagecoach karaoke. Sponsors included Sharp Construction, B&B Foundation, CTX Mortgage, Complete Fitness, El Jacalito, Westside Hardware, Excite and Cedar Creek Lake