Sunday, Nov. 12, 2006



  Budget vote questioned
City’s attorney asked to review council’s action
on proposed FY 2007 budget

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Legal counsel is looking into whether last month’s vote to pass the budget was legal or not.
The only problem with that is the action to hire the city’s new legal counsel, Andy Messer of Frisco, may also have been a vote short of legal, according to the city charter.
Gun Barrel City’s charter, following the pattern set by Robert’s Rules of Order, requires a two-thirds majority vote of the full council to pass a city budget, or to hire an attorney to represent it.
This is sometimes referred to as a super majority.
At question is whether the council seat recently vacated by James Jacobs still counts as part of the full five-member council, and whether the mayor is allowed to break a 2-2 tie when it comes to the budget and choosing an attorney.
A two-thirds vote of a five-member council means four votes. A two-thirds majority of four members would be three.
The charter says the mayor can break a tie, but if you include the mayor as one of the people voting, then the number of the council goes back to five – which is still a vote short, because two-thirds of five is still four.
To be on the safe side, the city has been operating from last year’s budget, last month’s 3-2 approval of the fiscal year 2007 budget notwithstanding.
A memo to council members from city secretary Christy Eckerman reminded them that Jacob’s vacancy must be filled within 30 days of the acceptance of his resignation, by another two-thirds vote, excluding the mayor.
During the past few months, the council has been split 2-2 on most issues. Naming a replacement will require cooperation, Eckerman pointed out in her memo.
Calls to the city on how the city was faring under last year’s budget went unanswered by presstime Thursday.
Primarily, a written city budget allows citizens to know just how their money is being spent, councilwoman Kathy Cochran said.
The quandary over the budget may continue even after someone has been chosen to replace Jacobs, as long as two people vote against its adoption.
Filling Jacob’s seat tops the council’s Nov. 14 agenda.
To date, Cochran and Patsy Black have opposed adopting the FY 2007 budget, because they say the street department needs a boost.
They propose adding $175,000 for streets, which they say the city can afford.
Councilmen Marty Goss and Keith Crozier oppose the additional expenditure, because, they say, the streets can be maintained with a slightly smaller allocation than last year’s $981,412.
Goss and Crozier favor $948,094 for streets.
That would leave adequate funding available for the city to continue its research into adding a water and wastewater department.
Street superintendent Mike Horton reported at the Oct. 24 council meeting his department reconstructed 9.2 lane miles in FY 2006, and planned to do work on nearly 14 lane miles in the coming year.
It was noted streets have suffered badly during the last two years’ drought, with cracks and deterioration appearing on many roads. The rising cost of road material was also noted.
During a budget workshop, Horton also expressed the desire for another dump truck, estimated at $95,000.
However, Horton accepted the $948,094 allocation.
Goss maintains that if adding a water department is proven to be feasible, the city should move forward on it, so it can control its future development.

Helpful lake-area Santas prepare to aid needy during holidays
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–It’s that time of year again. The holidays are on the way, and many local organizations and volunteers are making plans to aid the needy.
Donations are currently being accepted by the Family Resource Center for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The new FRC building will not be finished by the holidays, so volunteers and organizations were asked to pitch in.
Approximately 45 people, representing organizations and individuals, showed up for an organizational meeting Thursday.
Those who were unable to attend may contact the FRC at (903) 887-4711.
Applications from those needing holiday assistance will be accepted beginning Monday, Nov. 27, through Friday, Dec. 15.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
A meeting at Brawner Hall Thursday drew approximately 45 people representing organizations and individuals willing to lend a hand to the Family Resource Center’s efforts to aid the needy during the upcoming holidays. Pictured are (from left) James Moore, Family Resource Center director Toni Muirhead, Debbie Tarno, Tina Maddox, Deann Hillhouse and Winnie Branham.

Lions warn of tele-scammers
Special to the Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club does not solicit donations by telephone.
Several citizens have reported receiving calls asking for monetary donations.
“We (the Lions Club) don’t do that, and as far as I know, we never will,” treasurer Phil Rogers said.
Citizens who receive such calls should treat them as any other scam call – hang up and call the police.

Living long and loving it

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Members of the Living Long and Loving It social club for seniors enjoy a potluck buffet Thursday at the First Baptist Church of Mabank. They celebrate one another’s birthdays and anniversaries, share each others burdens through prayer and enjoy a lot of fun and laughter each second Thursday. Those marking birthdays in November were Billie Moseley, 85 (front right), Maxine Davis, 83, and Mildred Killian, 85.