Welty joins city council

Chad Welty, associate pastor at the First Baptist Church of Paradise, was appointed Monday night to fill the vacant seat on the Paradise City Council.

Chad Welty

Welty and former council member Chris Harris were the only two nominees for the post, which has been vacant since Bill Schenk opted not to seek re-election in November.

The two candidates responded to several general questions on their backgrounds and skills, put forward by council member Terrie Ward.

Harris said his priorities would be seeing that everyone gets water service, improving the city’s roads and bringing new businesses to town.

“Paradise has a lot to offer, but right now, not many businesses want to come to Paradise,” he said. “We should do everything we can to bring in other businesses and build up the tax base.”

Welty agreed.

“I think providing water, continue exploring options on providing sewer service and making the community more business-friendly would be my priorities,” he said. “Also just listening to the citizens to find what their needs are – like a park – just to make the community a more family-friendly place.”

Harris, who has lived in Paradise 14 years, has been active in coaching youth baseball and serves on the volunteer fire department. He was on the city council for eight years and approached council member Brad Largent about the appointment when the opening came up.

“I’m very familiar with what’s going on in the city,” he said. “Paradise is my home. I want to see good things come to this town.”

Welty said several city council members approached him about seeking the appointment.

“They said there’s a need, an open spot for service here in the community,” he said. “I’ve always thought when a need arises, we ought to be servants to our community. That’s why I showed up here.”

Both men said they would be able to attend meetings on a regular basis, although council member Bob Gayan pointed out that Harris had missed several meetings when he was on the council in the past.

Harris defended his record.

“I’ve sat here when a lot of those seats were empty,” he said. “Things happen. We all have families, people are going to get sick. If you’re going to hold missing a meeting against me, you might want to look to your left and right also.”

When the vote was called, only Largent voted for Harris, while Gayan, Ward and Roy Steel all voted for Welty.

“I’ll do my best to work with you guys and serve the community, until the community decides they don’t want me,” Welty said.

He will be sworn in at the council’s January meeting.

GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS UNDERWAY

The council held a required public hearing on applying for a Community Development Block Grant through the Texas Department of Agriculture.

City Secretary Teresa Moody reviewed the process, but the discussion eventually turned to water service – and whether the residents in the targeted area even want to go on city water.

Past grants in Paradise, totaling just shy of $1 million, have been used for a water well, water lines, planning and water storage. Moody said a water project is the only one likely to fit the city’s needs.

“Out of the remaining areas of town that do not have water service, probably the most likely to be funded is going to be Old Town,” she said. “It’s a low- to moderate-income area, and there are more senior citizens, more houses on that road than any other areas.”

Largent said the city might have a hard time getting residents of that area to connect to the city’s water system.

After a brief discussion, it was decided the city should poll the eight or so residents to determine if they want water service before spending the funds – the grant and whatever matching fund the city would have to come up with – to install the water line.

Moody said the public hearing was only the first step – that it would probably two years or more before the city actually applies for the grant.

“This is something to be thinking about, so if there is something other than that that y’all would like to see pursued, we’re going to need to know that,” she said.

Mayor Sam Starr will appoint a committee to develop a specific project that fits the community’s needs.

OTHER BUSINESS

The council also:

  • appointed Stinnett to do disconnections for late payment as part-time employee of the water department. The late notices will say disconnections will be at 3 p.m., and City Hall will be open until 6. He will be paid an additional $50 for the task.
  • noted that election law training is in January and that Moody will attend a required Public Fund Investment Act training in April for small cities.
  • discussed repairing or replacing a malfunctioning fire hydrant. Moody said one of the contractors who is putting in the Dollar General store specializes in municipal water services and will work on the hydrant while they are in town.

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Meeting Agendas for Saturday, December 13, 2014

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD – The Bridgeport school board next week will discuss textbook adoption and facility renovations, as well as the results of a districtwide soccer questionnaire. Its meeting is 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, at the administration building, 2107 15th Street, and is open to the public.

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS – County Judge J.D. Clark will lead his first county commissioners meeting next week. Commissioners will discuss the process for hiring a new elections administrator, hear county engineer Chad Davis’ recommendation for receiving surplus bridge materials from the Department of Public Safety and will discuss maintenance offered by Tyler Technologies. Clark will also give his recommendation on the makeup of the systems coordinator hiring committee. Clark has also added to the agenda a community forum, in which citizens may share comments or observations related to county business. There is a three-minute time limit, and large groups should designate a spokesperson. The meeting is 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 15, in the third floor conference room of the Wise County Courthouse in Decatur. This is the last regular meeting for 2014.

PARADISE CITY COUNCIL – Next week nominees for the vacant Paradise City Council seat will be interviewed, and one will be selected to serve. The process will occur during the city council’s regular meeting 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, at Paradise City Hall. The council will also conduct a public hearing on the submission of an application to the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program (TxCDBG) in the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Affairs. The council will also discuss hiring Carl Deaton to conduct the city’s annual audit.

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Paradise City Council amends water rules

Paradise’s water billing issues seem to have cleared after the city council opted to change disconnection procedures.

The council met Monday night and voted to extend city office hours on day of disconnection, as well as hiring a contract employee to work two hours a month reconnecting services. The motion passed 2-1, with Brad Largent and Terre Ward voting yes and Bob Gayan voting against. Roy Steel and Bill Schneck were absent.

Water disconnection procedures came under fire at last month’s meeting after community members – and a couple of council members – had their services turned off due to billing issues in September.

Largent and Schneck both had their service disconnected. Largent said he regularly forgets to pay his water bill and needs to be reconnected, but his issue with the city’s procedures boiled down to a delay in reconnection.

“I understand that we have to turn people’s water off. The problem I have – the city has no way to turn people’s water back on until the next day,” Largent said. “I was cut off at 4:15 p.m., and if I had come up here and paid right then, my water would not have turned back on until 4 or 5 p.m. the next day.

“Twenty-four hours for someone to go without water is a long time when you have kids. I have a major problems with us turning off someone’s water and not being able to turn it back on. That’s huge.”

Largent said several Paradise citizens voiced the same concerns, including three who were at the October meeting. He said the problem is affecting several in the community, and that is why he pushed for changes.

“I wasn’t responding for myself,” he said. “It wasn’t a personal thing. Whenever people have to wait 24 hours to have services turned back on, it’s ridiculous.”

According to city records, disconnections have been an ongoing issue for several of the water department’s about 200 customers.

In a 10-month period from January to October 2014, the water department cut services to an average of about six customers – 3 percent of its customers – each month. About 4.5 percent of the city’s water customers have had services terminated more than once in that 10-month period, and 1 percent have had water shut off three times in 10 months.

The department cut no services to any customers in January or September. The absence of disconnections in September was directly related to the fact that billing materials were not delivered on time in August.

Then came October.

In the first week of October, water service was shut off to 18 customers in one day. For 16, it was restored the same day; another customer got water turned back on the following week. Of the 18 cutoffs in October, 17 were due to lack of payment. That represented 9 percent of the department’s total customers.

Disconnections

Before changing the disconnect procedure, city staff explored what nearby communities’ practices are.

ALVORD

The city charges a 10 percent late fee for delinquent bills. The late fee is waived if the due date occurs on a weekend the bill is paid. Disconnection notices are mailed the following Monday and disconnections are completed during the last week of the month, but not on Friday.

It costs $35, plus the outstanding bill amount, to reconnect services. If the customer has made all payments by 5 p.m., water is turned on that day. If not, water is turned on the following day.

BRIDGEPORT

A 5 percent late fee is charged and added to the delinquent bills the day after the due date. Disconnection date varies, depending on when the initial bills are mailed. Billing is done near the first of each month. A disconnection notice is mailed, and customers have until 6 p.m. on the day of disconnection to pay before services are interrupted.

Reconnection costs $15, which is added to the outstanding bill. If payment is received by 6 p.m., the water is turned back on immediately. If it comes in after 6 p.m., services are restored the next day.

CHICO

A 10 percent late fee is assessed the day following the bill’s due date. If no payment – or payment arrangement with partial payment – has been rendered after 60 days, services are disconnected on the 61st day without further notice.

A $50 reconnection fee is charged and must be paid along with the original bill before services are returned. If all payments are made before 3 p.m., services are restored that day. If not, services are turned on the following day.

DECATUR

Bills are past due after the 15th of the month and a 10 percent late fee is assessed beginning the next day. Customers are allowed to be past due for two months before the disconnection process begins. Disconnected customers are charged a $50 fee.

Customers can be charged an additional $100 fee to reconnect water services, but this is not being currently enforced, according to staff reports.

Prior to the Monday night meeting, Paradise mailed out water bills on the first of each month, and payment was required by the 15th. After the 15th, a $5 late fee was charged and payment was then required by the end of the month or services were shut off.

Disconnection procedures are carried out after the first of the month. If payment was made, water could then be turned back on the following day after 3 p.m.

The reason for the 24-hour delay is that the city does not employ water service personnel, but only has a contract water district employee who serves Paradise 16 hours a month. If that contractor works more than 16 hours or after 4 p.m., the city is billed $52 per hour for a minimum of two hours.

The city does have the ability to charge a $60 reconnect fee, but has chosen to waive that fee in most instances.

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Paradise City Council to interview prospective members

The Paradise City Council is seeking a fifth member to replace Bill Schneck.

Schneck opted not to seek reelection, and no one stepped forward to seek the seat, leaving the council a person short.

The procedure is to appoint a person from the community. Paradise has now instituted an interview process at the urging of Terre Ward.

“I think we should have a chance to know who will be on the council,” Ward said. “Granted, I know I was appointed and I respect that, but I think if vacancies are filled we should be able to ask some questions. ‘Why do you actually want to do this?’ ‘Why are you interested?’ We should and the citizens should have the opportunity to hear why.”

Council members Brad Largent and Bob Gayan agreed.

Anyone interested in the office should be present at the Dec. 15 meeting and ready to answer questions.

Some sample questions include:

  • What are some of your previous volunteer experiences and leadership roles?
  • What appeals to you about board service as a volunteer activity?
  • What skills, resources, and expertise do you have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of this organization?
  • Do you have any worries about joining?
  • What role do you see yourself playing on the board?
  • What professional or personal constraints on your time or service might you anticipate?
  • Are there any areas where you might see a conflict of interest?
  • Is there a special project or goal you would like to see the city work toward?

OTHER BUSINESS

The rest of the council’s agenda include:

  • naming Ward as the city’s new Mayor Pro Tem
  • considering changing the meeting date back Thursday. The council decided to keep it on Mondays
  • approving by a 2-1 margin a contract renewal for road repair with Wise County, with Largent voting against.

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Paradise City Council addresses billing concerns

The Paradise City Council approved three motions Monday night that were later nullified after council members consulted with City Attorney Walt Leonard.

The motions made were in response to public outcry over a recent disruption in water service. In September, water services were disconnected for 26 people following non-payment. Some of the citizens affected complained their bills had not arrived on time.

Currently, Paradise mails out water utility bills on the first of each month and payment is required by the 15th. After the 15th, a late fee is charged and payment is then required by the end of the month or water services are shut off.

According to the city, materials required for the billing process were not delivered to the city secretary Teresa Moody on time and bills were sent on the 15th. Late fees were waived but final payment was still required by the end of the month.

Several complained their water was shut off without enough notification and couldn’t be turn back on for 24 hours. The current process for shutting off water is to do so at the end of the city’s business day. It can turned back on the next day after 3 p.m.

The reason for the 24-hour delay is that the city does not employ water service personnel, but instead shares one part-time person through an agreement with the Walnut Creek Special Utility District.

In response to these complaints, councilmen Brad Largent and Bill Schneck suggested adjusting the time of cutoff and adding a part-time employee to return services immediately upon payment. They also suggested the city send out a final letter informing customers their services would be stopped for non-payment.

Paradise accepts payment via check, money order or online debit.

Motions to enact those changes were made and voted on, but since they were not specifically on the agenda, they were later invalidated. November’s agenda will have a properly worded item to allow the council to discuss and vote.

Other business:

  • The council approved street closures for a church-sponsored fall festival this Sunday and PISD’s annual Jingle Run Dec. 7.
  • Paradise city staff was authorized to negotiate a right-of-way agreement for construction of Dollar General.
  • The renewal of the road repair interlocal agreement with Wise County was tabled, citing needed clarification on whether any services will be rendered by the county.
  • The council also tabled any discussion on altering what day it meets. Steel suggested the meeting return to Thursday nights. Council meetings were changed to Monday nights to accommodate Schneck’s schedule, but he plans to leave the council at the end of the year.
  • The council requested information on possibly hiring a code enforcement officer or police officer. The council wanted to understand what cost they would incur and whether a court would be needed to enforce the officer’s actions.

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Meeting Previews for Saturday, October 18, 2014

BOYD

BOYD ISD – The Boyd School Board meets 6:30 p.m. Monday and plans to discuss approving a Boyd High School field trip to the FFA National Convention in Louisville Kentucky as well as construction plans for a show animal project facility. The board will also consider softball field renovations.

BRIDGEPORT

LICENSING LIQUOR – The Bridgeport City Council will discuss adding alcohol beverage licenses and fees to the city’s code of ordinances at its meeting Tuesday night. It will also discuss fiscal year 2013-14 budget adjustments; award a city landscaping bid to either All Wise Garden Butch Haas, or Cut and Grow; and consider a proposal for a real estate broker to sell Rutherford Ranch. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 900 Thompson St. and is open to the public.

SOCCER, ANYONE? – The Bridgeport School Board will discuss adding a soccer program to the high school at its meeting Monday night. The board will also hear reports on the dual-language program and the district’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) score. It will also continue earlier discussions about possible facility renovations. These include Bull Memorial Stadium and baseball dugout renovations, as well as the building of an agriculture science barn. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at 2107 15th St. and is open to the public.

PARADISE

PARADISE COUNCIL – The Paradise City Council meets 6 p.m. Monday to discuss street closures for the Jingle Run and a church-sponsored autumn event. The council will also decide whether or not to purchase a building and discuss road repair and the Wise County Appraisal District’s contract for billing and collection services.

PISD MEETING – The Paradise School Board will meet 6:30 p.m. Monday and plans to set a date to canvass the Nov. 4 election results and for the employee appreciation dinner. The board will also consider the district’s contract with Wise County Appraisal District for collections.

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Paradise City Council adopts budget, tax rate

Paradise property owners won’t see an increase in city taxes this year. The city council Monday night voted to stay with a tax rate of 33.9 cents per $100 valuation.

That means homeowners with a house worth $100,000 can expect to pay $339 in city taxes. The only reason that would go up would be if someone added to the value of their property.

The council also adopted its 2014-15 budget of $220,360.

The new budget raises about $20,000 more than the prior year. Nearly half of the new revenue comes from new property added to the city tax rolls this year.

The council held a public hearing prior to considering the budget and tax rate, but no one attended. In fact, only three of the five council members – Bob Gayan, Roy Steel and Terre Ward – made up the meeting’s quorum. Brad Largent and Bill Schneck were absent.

A previously called November election for Largent’s and Schneck’s seats was canceled, as no one filed to run against Largent or to fill Schneck’s spot. Schneck didn’t refile but will continue to serve until after a new council member is appointed by the council in November.

This is the second time the Paradise City Council has had to cancel a called election. No seats have been contested since 2012, when Gayan retained his position on the council against Chris Hill, Largent went unchallenged and Schneck took Place 1.

OTHER BUSINESS

  • The council approved a 1.9 percent rate hike for Progressive Waste Solutions.
  • The city renewed its animal control contract with Wise County.
  • The city discussed updating its emergency response protocol to include what to do in case of a bomb threat in Paradise ISD. A recent threat at the junior high campus prompted an evacuation of the school and a search by law enforcement.

While parents and legal guardians were informed, city residents living near the school were unaware of the threat.

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Paradise City Council election in the air

Paradise City Council places 1, 2 and 3 are up for grabs this year, but only two incumbents have filed and no challengers.

Bob Gayan and Brad Largent filed for re-election, but Bill Schneck did not. The filing deadline was 5 p.m. Monday, but people can still file as a write-in candidate through 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22.

Monday evening, the council called the Nov. 4 election and agreed to partner with Wise County to hold the voting. If no one else files, the election will be canceled, and Schneck’s seat will be filled by appointment. Gayan and Largent would be automatically re-elected.

The council also agreed to assist the Paradise Youth Recreation Association, PYRA, with refurbishing and upgrading the city’s ballfield restrooms.

The council committed about $3,900 – 75 percent of the $5,200 cost quoted by PYRA leader Jodi Messenger. The organization leased the ballfields and took over maintenance in 2012. Messenger said the association didn’t have enough money to do all the work needed. She said the money raised would go to mostly pay for new, higher-quality fixtures.

Other business:

  • Council members agreed to extend a service agreement with AriCanopy and Sky Beam for three more years.
  • The council moved about $90,000 into CDs.

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Paradise agenda item raises a stink

The City of Paradise has a smelly situation to deal with.

At the council meeting Monday, City Secretary Teresa Moody will talk to the council about an odor problem at City Hall.

Also during the meeting, James Armstrong will share with the concil his plans for the 102 N. Oak property, and Randy Lanier will give a presentation on AFLAC.

The council will also schedule a budget workshop.

As the planning and zoning comission, city officials will consider the replat of the Methodist church.

In routine business, the council will consider meeting minutes and financials reports and hear an update from the building and water departments and economic development corp.

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Paradise City Council to hear updates on sewer, store

During a relatively short agenda for its meeting Monday, the Paradise City Council will receive a couple of important updates.

City officials are scheduled to hear about progress on a sewer system and on work to expand a road to accommodate an anticipated Dollar General.

The council will also consider remodeling the city’s storage area.

They will also consider minutes, a financial report and reports from the economic development corp., the planning and zoning commission, the building department, the water department and code enforcement.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall. It is open to the public.

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Council to consider rates, contract

Topping a short agenda for Monday’s Paradise City Council meeting is consideration of an increase in the rate the city charges telecommunications providers for right-of-way access in the city.

The Public Utility Commission adjusts the rate for inflation every year. Last year, the city of Paradise opted not to raise the rates. This year, the PUC is allowing cities to raise the rate by .78 percent due to inflation – but again, the council can choose to retain the old rate.

If the council approves, the rates would increase from .15 cents to .24 for residential customers; from .36 cents to .45 for non-residential; and from .55 cents to .68 for point-to-point customers.

City officials will also:

  • consider extending a contract with USW Utility Group for water services;
  • as the planning and zoning commission, consider variance requests by Rusty Mann;
  • hear from Linda Turpin about a lack of supervision during fundraisers on Main Street;
  • proclaim May 9 as Butterfield Stage Days Karl Klement RAM PRCA Rodeo Pink Night and recognize April as National Safe Digging Month; and
  • consider the March meeting minutes and financial reports.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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Paradise City Council OKs Little Library

When school libraries close for the summer, students in Paradise have no public access to books.

That may soon change.

At the Paradise City Council meeting Monday, Paradise Intermediate School librarian Terri Gilley talked to council members about establishing a Little Free Library at City Hall.

Little Free Library is an organization that promotes reading among people of all ages by encouraging community members to purchase or build a small ‘library’ or book receptacle to put outside a public building or home.

Anyone from the neighborhood and town can come by and drop off old or gently used books. In turn, anyone can come pick one up.

According to City Secretary Teresa Moody, having garnered the council’s approval, Gilley is to fill out the required paperwork and will then look for someone to build the “little library.”

She hopes it’s up by summertime.

IN OTHER NEWS

Also during the one-hour meeting, the council:

  • approved applying to the state grant cycle for assistance in repairing roads. “On some roads, any work that’s been done has been patching a patch that was patched on top of another patch,” Moody said. “We’ll need to tear up the road and start from scratch.”
  • heard an update from Paradise Youth and Recreation Association President Jamie Cook on improvements made to Leone Park.

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Council hears positive audit report

The financial situation in Paradise is a little like the city’s name implies.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Carl Deaton, an independent auditor, presented a “very good” audit report to the council.

“Every year we’re in better shape,” said city secretary Teresa Moody. “We have enough funds to cover two-and-a-half years’ worth of expenses. We’re doing really good.”

Later in the meeting, the council discussed investing some of those funds into certificates of deposit but opted to hold off on that until a certain project is completed.

City officials plan to expand a road adjacent to the property where a Dollar General is expected to be established.

“They want to wait until we have a better idea of what that’s going to cost us,” Moody said. “We’ve had some people say they don’t feel it’s the city’s responsibility to expand the road, but really it is in the city’s interest to do it. We can get more property tax, it adds a water customer and it will generate sales tax.”

The council also:

  • raised its water tap installation fees. Cost to put in a 1-inch meter increased to $1,400 from $850, and the 2-inch $2,500 from $1,750. “The last one we did, we lost quite a bit of money because the materials cost so much,” Moody said.
  • reported that a leak in front of the intermediate school had been fixed. “Initially we thought it was packing that needed to be tightened, but it turned out being valves that had gone bad,” Moody said. “So it was a little more of an issue, but it’s been fixed.”
  • learned city staff had received a list of the customers hooked up to the school’s sewer system so the city could start billing them. “The reason the school asked us to take over them is if (the customers) don’t pay, we can cut off the water. The school has no way to do it,” Moody said. “Some have not paid in three or four years.”
  • heard no new information on a city sewer system, but officials hope to receive an update at next month’s meeting.

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Paradise City Council to hear audit report

Carl Deaton, an independent auditor, will present the annual audit report to the Paradise City Council Monday.

The report will cover fiscal year 2013, which ended Sept. 30.

Also at the meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, the council will hear a billing update on customers on the school’s sewer system and consider changing water tap installation fees.

During the secretarial portion of the meeting, councilmembers will consider investing excess funds.

In routine business, the council will approve financials and hear reports from the Economic Development Corp., the planning and zoning commission and the building and water departments.

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Paradise city council declares 2014 ‘year of the Bible’

Paradise residents are encouraged to read their Bibles – not at the prompting of a local pastor but rather city officials.

At its meeting Monday, the city council unanimously declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible” at the request of resident Jan Pierce.

Pierce referred to the document as a “recommendation,” rather than a proclamation.

“(This) will recommend that the people of Paradise, Texas, study the teachings of the Holy Bible not only for personal growth in the knowledge of right and wrong, but also learn to apply principles of good governance for their local government, whether in the house, school house, church house or city hall house,” Pierce said. “Nothing denotes the establishment of religion but rather the free exercise of it, according to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Modeled after the proclamation made recently by Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden, the document adopted by the Paradise council reads:

“Throughout the history of the United States, one of the most important influences that has shaped our country into a distinctive nation, none may have been more profound or enduring than the Bible …

“Our nation was not founded on any particular religious faith, nor is it mandated by any Government in the United States that any individual should observe a particular religion; however, the fiber of our Founding Fathers and the people that have made up our nation, from all walks of life, have expressed their deeply held Christian beliefs …”

The “recommendation” went on to quote several key historical figures such as John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Francis Scott Key, who penned the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

The document continues, “Today our country, states, cities and towns are faced with many challenges beyond our own abilities but require wisdom, grace and compassion from God … ”

It ends by “encouraging all residents in their own way to examine the principles and teachings found in the Bible so that our Republic is sustained by good government.”

As in Flower Mound, the proclamation generated a mixed response, and several expressed their opinions on the Messenger’s Facebook page.

“I hope that all Wise County councils will follow suit,” wrote Mary Haynie. “Many of the county’s schools and teams have religious values, and this will only instill in them that they do have a right to stand up for what they believe.”

Others disagreed.

“You cannot ignore the separation of church and state, regardless if you believe the moral fibers of your religion will encompass overall good, when instilled upon all,” Leddy Foster wrote. “To do so is ignorance at its finest, and to back intolerance. We the people, must respect all rights of others, especially as a governing body. How anyone can support this is beyond my comprehension.”

SEWER SYSTEM IDEA “ALIVE”

Although there was no progress to report on a future water system, city officials assured the council that the idea is “very much alive.”

“Don’t let this thing die,” said building inspector Jerald Stinnett. “It is a beating to try to design water wells in the city that follow the rules on setbacks on property.”

However, city secretary Teresa Moody added that the city had hit a road bump.

“It may not be dead, but it’s unfunded,” she said. “We’ve been told we don’t have the money to put in a system through town.”

But officials say they are “still looking into” their options.

“We need it bad,” Councilman Roy Steel said.

IN OTHER NEWS

During the meeting, the council also:

  • learned that Dollar General officials have “signed the contract” to bring the variety store to town.
  • saw a sample of the green banners that are to be hung down Main Street and around the schools, courtesy of the Economic Development Corp.
  • approved the December meeting minutes and financial report.

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Steel is mayor pro tem

For the second consecutive year, the Paradise City Council appointed Roy Steel as mayor pro tem.

The item was one of four motions made during the council’s short meeting Monday.

Council members approved a contract with Wise County Appraisal District for the assessing and collecting of property taxes. They also OK’d the November meeting minutes and financial reports.

The council’s next meeting is 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, at City Hall.

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Sewer system tops discussion

Sewer system issues comprised a bulk of the Paradise City Council meeting Monday, but little was changed.

The council met in executive session for two matters – to talk to their utility attorney and to discuss the acquisition of real property. Neither drew any action in open session.

However, the council did approve an access easement for Paradise ISD water lines. The agreement must be approved by the school district before it is official. It gives city officials a legal right to access water meters.

Officials also OK’d the changes to the agreement with the school district for the collection of sewer fees. The document was approved at the council’s last meeting and forwarded to school district officials for their approval.

The council didn’t take any action on the development of a contract with PISD to provide wastewater treatment services for district buildings and related facilities.

“We’re still trying to work with the school,” city secretary Teresa Moody said. “We’re to the point where we’re trying to determine what we’re willing to do and what we expect them to do, and then start negotiating.”

The council also:

  • temporarily added $500 to water tap installation fees. Next month, the council will look at a permanent fee change.
  • opted not to make any changes to the policy in place for animal control services. Citizens must go through City Hall to have animals picked up by Wise County Animal Control. City staff calls animal control for animals that are menacing, making threats or destroying property. The shelter charges $50 for each animal that is picked up.
  • hired Hankins, Powers, Eastup, Deaton and Tonn to conduct the annual audit for $7,500 and Texas Tank Services to conduct the water tower inspection for $289.
  • granted the EDC permission to paint the fire hydrants silver with green caps and tops “to promote school spirit.”
  • issued a mobile food vendor permit for a food trailer on Texas 114.
  • approved a $68,936.61 budget for the Economic Development Corp.
  • approved the October financial report and meeting minutes.

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City, school district continue sewer talk

In the wake of voters’ rejection of a school bond that would have allowed Paradise ISD to update its wastewater plant, Paradise city officials will continue talking with school district officials on what to do about wastewater.

At its meeting Monday, the council will outline a proposed contract with the school district to provide wastewater treatment services to district buildings and facilities.

As one step in that direction, the council will consider approving access easement agreements for PISD water lines.

Council members will also hear an update on an agreement with the school district regarding the collection of sewer fees.

Halfway through the agenda, the council is scheduled to meet in closed session with its attorney.

During the open portion of the meeting, the council will also:

  • select a firm to conduct the city’s annual audit and another to inspect the water tower;
  • discuss fees for animal control services, mobile food vendor permits and water-tap installation;
  • hear from the Paradise Historical Society regarding a historical marker;
  • review the EDC’s budget;
  • consider purchasing a lighted sign for the school zone; and
  • permit the EDC to paint fire hydrants.

The meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, is open to the public.

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