EUSTACE–Eustace City Council met Jan. 6 and held discussion on the Waste Connections CPI trash increase for city trash services. Waste Connections uses the Dallas Metroplex CPI Index to cost out services. They are trying to keep costs low but operating costs, labor and fuel prices are all up causing a rate increase of 5.94 percent. This increase will cost an average $13 per home for trash service. Council members voted in favor of the increase due to the last increase was three years previous. This increase will go into effect with the next billing cycle in February.
Mayor Dustin Shelton’s commented on smaller maintenance issues around the city such as how the city is waiting on the tornado siren stand pipe bracket. Shelton expressed gratitude and appreciation to City Secretary Sandy Lane, the Eustace Fire Department and numerous volunteers for their excellent participation in the annual Christmas on the Square event. A well attended event provided a great time for all and thanks were expressed to the volunteers and sponsors PD Truck Parts, Mystic Wash, Eustace TigerMart, Eustace Sonic, TJ the DJ and Santa Clause, to name a few.
Department reports included with the monthly balances of accounts, as well as the first half of the cash influx from the Coronavirus Relief Funds. The city received $124,363.00 and is discussing ideas regarding the application of the funds to the betterment of Eustace. Additionally, Lane discussed the seats of Council Members Randy Johnson, Adrian Parham and Chuck Powers who are up for election this year. Lane stated that the election packets will be ready in City Hall beginning Jan. 10.
Wastewater/Water Supervisor Jack Lochabay reported on water department statistics stating water losses are within standards. This year, the water department is evaluating the wells for rehabilitation and lighting in the facility for safety. Adding to the reports, Police Chief Dan Huckabee advised the criminal statistics for the city. Huckabee stated that the city had 17 arrests, two crashes and other citations. Mayor Shelton expressed extreme gratitude and satisfaction at the job being performed by Chief Huckabee, as well as the cooperation with Henderson County and Texas Department of Public Safety regarding an incident that occured Dec. 23, 2021, regarding a running suspect and the subsequent arrest assisted by Osa, the K-9 officer in Eustace.
Further to these reports by the police department and the water department, issue was also taken regarding Animal Control. Chief Huckabee stated, “We spend a lot of time and effort in service to animals. Eustace’s procedures for holding dogs, feeding them and safety for the people involved need to be addressed.” The Chief is working with Athens, Tool and the Stray Dogs Group to assist with these situations. The council is looking into charging a contractual rate for dog pickup and care.
In other business, council members:
• Heard final discussion and vote regarding the purchase and sale of city vehicles. Motion was made to purchase a 2007 Chevy Tahoe from PD Truck Parts with $4,000 and trade of older city equipment, such as two Chevy pickups, one Ford Truck and two welders. Council unanimously approved the motion which will provide a newer truck for Animal Control.
• Heard the city plans to buy new security cameras, DVD for recording and audio capabilities for the police station and city hall outside areas. Issue and purchase is currently tabled pending the receipt of more quotes for premier systems which are expandable for more cameras and technology.
• Heard an amended burn ordinance will be sent to the city’s lawyer and coming in February. Council advises citizens to be mindful of Burn Ban conditions.