Log Cabin obtains deadline
extension to get streets repaired
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–With the help of the Henderson County commissioners and emergency
services coordinator Joy Kimbrough, Log Cabin has been granted a
20-month extension to use federal funds awarded to fix roads damaged by
flooding rain in the summer of 2007.
The deadline to use some $125,000 in federal funds and complete the
repairs was Dec. 31. According to the conditions, any money not expended
on said road work has to be returned.
“I requested a 180-day extension two days ago, and they called me today
and said the city has 20 more months,” Log Cabin mayor Billy Goodwin
said late Thursday. “It was amazing how fast they gave me an answer.”
Goodwin was elected mayor during the Nov. 4 special election and only
learned of the city’s dilemma three weeks ago.
Tuesday, Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall presented the city’s request
for assistance with the special project to fellow commissioners.
They agreed to help the city apply for an extension from the Federal
Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), and also to give special
assistance to get the work done as soon as possible, authorizing up to
$15,000 in county labor costs.
Hall explained that the city has been in turmoil. “During the last two
years, the city has gone through four mayors,” he said.
Goodwin was shocked when he learned of the deadline, he said. “I nearly
fainted,” the 74-year-old said.
Since then, he has been busy talking to those who can help him, and has
found them willing to go all out.
He cited internal strife as being the reason the city hasn’t made any
progress on street repairs.
Goodwin returns to the mayor’s post, having been mayor 10 years ago.
Hall had said the road repairs in Log Cabin will be a priority. With
good weather, he predicted the work could be completed within four
The city will get everyone it can to work on the repairs, including the
city’s water department workers, when their regular duties allow.
Also, two council members are heavy equipment operators and are willing
to volunteer their time and expertise.
Over the last two years, mayors have included Gene Bearden (a current
councilman), Linda Keener (acting in her capacity as mayor pro tem) and
Weldon Wallace, who resigned from the post in August.
“I’m back in it up to my neck,” Goodwin said. “But, we’re going to get
KC delays hiring new post
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–The Kaufman County tax office needs more help. But adding
another paid position to the salary roll met with sharp contention among
Identifying the needed funding, after the fiscal budget approval in late
September, has caused commissioners to delay making a decision.
“There’s no question it’s a new position, but it’s also no question it’s
needed,” county tax assessor/collector Richard Murphy said.
Murphy had made his initial request to hire Phillip O’Steen to
commissioners at their Dec. 1 meeting.
The request was tabled. Commissioners said there were too many
This week, questions resurfaced concerning the availability of the
proposed salary and the creation of a new position in the midst of the
The growth of the county and new election requirements have increased
the work load for the department’s staff, Murphy explained.
In addition to maintaining election equipment, Murphy said other duties
would include overseeing better communications between the tax office
and the appraisal office and handling the alcoholic beverage licensing.
“But the main thing is keeping the election equipment up and running,”
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Deller asked if Murphy had the necessary
funds in his department budget.
“There is $26,000 in his budget,” Judge Wayne Gent said.
“We can’t get that kind of talent for that small amount of money,”
Murphy’s plan was to fund the position using the $26,000 (previously
earmarked for a hire that did not occur) and the funds budgeted for the
next two elections, totaling $34,000, $17,000 for each election.
Since O’Steen would be doing the work required for those elections,
those funds would also be available, he explained.
The possibility of hiring O’Steen for the remainder of the year, using
already budgeted funds was suggested by Assistant District Attorney John
The matter was not worded on the agenda in such a way to allow
commissioners to act, so it was tabled once again.
Gent instructed Murphy to resubmit his request with new wording at the
next regular meeting, Monday, Dec. 29.
In other business, commissioners:
• accepted the auditor’s monthly report for November as presented by
auditor Hal D. Jones.
The report is kept for one week on Gent’s desk.
• accepted a rebate check from Office Depot totaling $4,314.36 as
presented by purchasing agent Jack Sabastian.
• accepted the tax assessor/collector’s report for November.
This early in the year, the tax collection total remains low, Murphy
The amount collected to date in the general fund is $1,349,646, or 5
percent. Road and Bridge received $215,940, or 5 percent.
The balance remaining to be collected for the coming year is $27,618,853
(95 percent), Murphy said.
• opened bids for new trucks to be purchased by various departments. The
awarding of the bids will take place once the bids have been reviewed.
• allowed Precinct 2 to apply for TERP (Texas Emissions Reduction Plan)
The TERP provides a method to get rid of older cars on the highways.
• approved setting the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) at 50 percent for
The TIF project for the city is located inside the Forney city limits.
• approved a request from Embarq to install buried communications drop
wire along County Road 302 in Precinct 2.
• approved budget transfers as presented by Jones.
• paid bills totaling $542,564.47.
3 more shopping days left
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–With the countdown to Christmas in its final hours, the
Cedar Creek Lake Chamber of Commerce and local economic development
corporations remind shoppers that great gifts and bargains can be found
in their own backyard.
“We always encourage the ‘shop local’ philosophy,” Chamber president
JoAnn Hanstrom said. “It’s always important, but it’s particularly
important during these challenging economic times.
“I hope anyone looking for goods and services, ranging from a
last-minute gift to a caterer, will go to www.cedarcreekchamber.com and
click on ‘membership list’ for a categorized directory,” she added. That
is the most convenient way of finding a local business to meet a need.
Gun Barrel City EDC president Steve Webster added that improvements to
the facade and parking lot at the Gun Barrel Village Shopping Center has
not closed down neighboring businesses.
“What pet owner wouldn’t love a gift certificate for pet grooming from
Dora’s, or from Reimer’s fine jewelry store? Even the Tool Place, a few
doors down, has some surprising selections,” Webster said. “There’s
plenty of parking over there, too, just outside the construction zone.”
Gun Barrel City EDC has two signed leases for the shopping center, he
When renovations are completed on the old Winn-Dixie, Beall’s will be
moving in. The new store will double the space of Beall’s current
location, a few doors down.
“Christmas shoppers are bound to get good deals on merchandize Beall’s
doesn’t want to have to move over to the new space,” Webster said.
Taking Beall’s place is a new retailer, Hibbett’s Sports, known for
changing its stock out to match the current sports season’s needs.
“We’re really looking forward to them opening up in Gun Barrel City,”