Tenaha Council Appoints Director of Public Works, Adopts New Ordinances

July 22, 2015 - The Tenaha City Council appointed Stacy Cranford Director of Public Works at their meeting on Monday, July 20, 2015. They also approved two new ordinances relating to truck traffic in the city and dogs and cats.

Cranford has been working for the City of Tenaha as a contractor to bring the water department into good standing with the state. He will receive the same income from the city, but now carries the title as an employee of the city. Following executive session, a motion was carried to give Cranford the title.

A motion was carried to approve two ordinances the city was considering involving dogs and cats and truck traffic. The ordinances were created by attorney Stephen Shires and were presented at a previous meeting. Before approving the ordinances Natalie Harris, Mayor Pro Tem, made some inquiries about the dog and cat ordinance. She wanted to know, once passed by the council, who would be enforcing the ordinance.

"We get to a certain point and we can't go anywhere else, but with this ordinance in place at least maybe these people would take notice," stated Claudine Howard, councilwoman. "Because, I had a personal thing that happened yesterday. We have dogs in our neighborhood that chases cars, bicycles and motorcycles."

Claudine Howard, councilwoman, and Natalie Harris, Mayor Pro Tem, deliberated about the dog/cat ordinance which was up for consideration.Howard stated she has talked with the owners a couple of times and they were going to keep them restrained, but she says this hasn't happened. Her son was riding down her road, which is a gravel road, and she says the neighbor's dog attacked him.

"The dog had his leg, he lost his bike and it's probably going to cost $3,000 to have it fixed, an estimate," said Howard. "So, this has got to be handled. What if that had been a child on a bicycle? Once a dog gets in this frenzy and that kid starts tearing away and screaming and hollering, that dog just by nature is going to go after them again."

Harris stated she had no issue with passing the ordinances, and reiterated she wanted to know who is going to enforce them.

"I do agree with you Natalie 100%, but at the same time it's really, as far as being able to enforce them, it's almost more of a county issue than it is a city issue," said councilman Tommy Rinkle.

Howard said all of the cities in the county are having the same problem, "Center is having the same problem, they have nowhere to take these animals, but at least they have an ordinance." She continued by saying if an ordinance had been in place when her son was attacked and he had been a child, the owners could have been fined.

"I probably shouldn't say this, I'm just saying it though, I mean honestly. I think what the ordinance does do if that dog creates danger, if he poses a danger, I think that it gives us the ability to kill him if that's what we have to do," said Rinkle. "That might be hard and cold, but honestly that dog's lucky I wasn't the one on that motorcycle."

Both ordinances can be seen at the following links: Dog and Cat Ordinance, Truck Ordinance.

During Department Head reports, it was reported the city marshal's office issued 128 citations, and had 12 calls for service. The Municipal Court report, as given by Judge Jenny Hicks, shows the court collected a total of $22,087.67 with the city keeping $13,625.70 and $8,461.96 being remitted to the state.

Cranford stated the new tractor has been acquired and they are training staff on its operation. Approval from the state is expected on the water department's pH levels. He also explained a sewer inspection went well. Rinkle stated he heard the water bill for Tenaha ISD was "huge" recently and Cranford explained his theory on why the water bill was high.

"I don't think the school water meter has been being read properly, they've been for years and years not paying much of a bill. Now that I've taught them how to read a compound meter correctly and add the usage together, they had an exorbitant usage," said Cranford.

Cranford stated it is very lengthy process to track down water problems in the city and some major problems they have discovered involve Pilgrim's Pride, "They've got 3-4 meters sitting out there and nobody ever knew which meter to read, and we had to come in and calibrate those meters and found out they've had a well tied in, a well's been running through a meter, one meter's not even registering, it's a mess."

Pilgrim's Pride is working with the city in installing a back flow preventer in a correct place and a new meter is being installed. Cranford says he has expected for years a lot of water usage has been going to Pilgrim's Pride,"They've been getting free water, a lot of free water."

According to Cranford, the Pilgrim's Pride plant manager told him their well has been down for a year and although not a lot of city water usage registered, it's the only other place from where they were getting water. Rinkle stated Tenaha ISD and Pilgrim's Pride have the ability to help solve a lot of the financial problems of the city.

Cranford stated Pilgrim's Pride has a land farming permit to dispose of their waste water and this may be something which helps the city financially. A representative of the company contacted Cransford and informed him there are plans to put in a $2 million plant to dispose of their water, which it would be their preference to invest the money in the city instead of having to build a plant that would require an operator.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Tenaha residents Thelma Moore and Eva Thompson expressed displeasure at their recent water bills being higher with claims city employees were not reading meters as they argued the meters are never uncovered.

Approved items on the agenda:

   1. Previous meeting minutes.
   2. June financial statements.
   3. Audit as presented by Norman White, CPA.
   4. Truck/Dog and Cat Ordinances.
   5. Stacy Cranford Contract Renewal, and named Director of Public Works.