News

The story headline links to a better view of the story and share features.

June 25, 2019 - The Center City council discussed the Streetscape Project Monday, June 24, 2019 and Chad Nehring, City Manager, stated Bob Staehs, Project Manager, and White Oak Studios have worked diligently with the lone bidder to refine some of the specifications and materials to present the council with a revised cost estimate.

The only bid received was from the Fain Group, Inc. and was corrected to $4,904,320 and with alterations to date the total has been reduced by $1,035,152 to a new amount of $3,869,168.

Nehring advised the council if they were to approve the bid to make the motion contingent on the approval of the TxDOT Municipal Use agreement and Maintenance agreement. 

"We had expected that those weren't going to require additional approval. TxDOT advised us last week that before construction started they wanted a specific approval of those two agreements," said Nehring.

He said that holdup is waiting on their evaluation and recommendation on the intersections and traffic signals they should issue. Nehring was optimistic those two agreements should be available at the next council meeting to allow for construction to proceed.

"The majority of the changes were in the actual specification for the light poles not necessarily a change in quality, size or even appearance. Purely a vendor change that allowed for I'm assuming ready built and in stock fixtures as opposed to having to be custom made for this job. That was in excess of $3-hundred-some-odd-thousand in and of itself," said Nehring.

Nehring described several other material items that have changed, but should not be a reduction in quality.

Howell Howard, Councilman, asked if the traffic lights are state expense. Nehring said what was originally stated by TxDOT four years ago was the city would purchase the poles and TxDOT would install and continue to maintain the new lights. They, however, are taking a different position now and should there be poles installed, maintenance will be something TxDOT may expect the city to handle.

At this time there is still the potential the recent study will allow for the lights to be removed.

Collard asked if the beginning of the project was being pushed back each time it isn't approved at a meeting and Staehs said plans have been to start after the What-A-Melon Festival, July 15.

"It depends upon what TxDOT comes up with. We did hire a traffic engineer out of Tyler to do the study and they have completed their report. I received it today, so it will go to TxDOT tomorrow," said Staehs.

A motion carried to approve the bid with change order #1 subject to final decision by TxDOT on traffic signals.

Ballard Street soccer field electric improvements were discussed in the meeting a motion carried to White Electric with a total bid of $81,770.

It was recommended to the council to purchase two additional InCode modules for Project Accounting and Human Resources. Project Accounting could potentially allow the city to better track costs associated with large projects across multiple accounts, multiple vendors, and multiple fiscal years. 

The Human Resources module could allow city staff to continue to move away from paper files, provide tools to set up alerts for when employees need evaluations or licenses expire. The total projected cost through Tyler Technologies of these modules is $15,681.

A motion carried to purchase the modules.

Because the Center Housing Authority was established under the City of Center, federal regulations allow them to request and allow the council to grant a waiver to their payment in lieu of taxes. 

Under the federal system since they get grant subsidies and assistance to operate a competitive housing rental operation, they are exempt but they are required to pay in lieu of taxes what otherwise would be taxed on a private operation unless the city grants that waiver. Those dollars are supposed to be used for the improvement of the facility and dedicated for that purpose.

Randy Collard, councilman, asked if there is any oversight of how the funds are used for the facility. Nehring stated there used to be a report given every couple of years; however, there have been three different directors in the last few years.

A motion carried to approve Resolution 2019-9 - Waiver of Payment in Lieu of Taxes with the addition of discussed oversight.

The council approved the employee health insurance annual rate following discussion.

"We actually have had several years of no rate reduction and no large claims. Finally our premiums are going to catch up to some of that recent claims history," said Nehring. "We're seeing a 3% reduction in the employee part of the equation."

A motion carried to approve the employee health insurance annual rate.

David Masterson has recently been painting retaining walls in Center. The original agreed upon amount for the walls which have been completed on Hurst Street and those at Tenaha and Timpson Streets was $1,500. Masterson determined to complete the project an additional $1,500 would be necessary.

A motion carried by the council to approve the additional $1,500.

The Center Rotary Club has requested temporary road closures for their upcoming 5K run. The closures will be from 6am to 9am Saturday, July 13. Barricades will be needed on Tenaha Street and Cora Street as well as Logansport Street at Kennedy Street. 

The inside lane will also need to be blocked around the square. A police officer has also been requested to direct traffic at the intersection of Logansport and Porter Street.

A motion carried to approve the proposed route as well as the requests.

The Center Police Department has requested to add Timothy Magness as a reserve officer. He graduated from East Texas Police Academy on May 31, 2019. The addition of Magness gives the police department five reserve officers.

A motion carried to approve Magness.

During the items of interest portion of the meeting following the action items, Nehring shared an alert from Keri Shofner, Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator.

Texas Department on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) contacted her about Buddin Dam on property belonging to Galal Mahesh just off Pine Street near Austin Street in Center. The TCEQ dam specialist stated the threat level of the dam breaking has been raised to high. TCEQ reported being unable to reach Mahesh and the situation has been turned over to the Texas Attorney General's office.

The main concern is for residents down river should the dam break. According to the report, from TCEQ the most recent inspection revealed seven new residences have been built downstream from the dam. Due to the risk to the seven homes the threat level was raised.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:

1.  Minutes of the June 10, 2019 meeting.
2. Ordinance 2019-08 - 401 MLK Dr (SCAD ID 20876).
3. Ordinance 2019-10 - 521 Shelbyville St (SCAD ID 20405)
4. Resolution 2019-8 Adopting Budget Calendar for FY 2020
5. Resolution 2019-9 - Waiver of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT)
6. Bid for Streetscape Project with change order #1 subject to final decision by TxDOT on traffic signals.
7. Surplus equipment bids awarded.
8. Ballard Street soccer field electric improvements with a total bid of $81,770.
9. Contract for Parks Master Plan Update.
10. Human Resources and Project Accounting modules through Tyler Technologies at a cost of $15,681.
11. Employee health insurance annual rate.
12. Additional $1,500 to be paid to David Masterson for retaining wall murals.
13. What-A-Melon Crawl 5K route and barricades.
14. Addition of Timothy Magness as a reserve officer with the Center Police Department.
15. Adjournment.

June 24, 2019 - The recent Center City Council meeting held on June 10, 2019 was well attended by community members seeking to share their concerns over heavily littered areas in Center and desires over park improvements.

Alex Cloudy and Jeremy Smalls addressed the council over what they feel are needs in Perry Sampson Park. Cloudy gave his top five smallest concerns for the park and they included the need of lighting, water fountains, hydrants for hose connections, electrical sockets, and a pavilion to cover the basketball court.

Smalls said he has been in contact with area businesses to help fund the needs of the park and possible sponsors such as Tyson Foods. 

"We are active in our search for others to meet the proposed $75,000 that you guys have set out for that," said Smalls.

Smalls remarked on the availability of the Texas Parks and Recreation grants and asked if the city has attempted to be awarded any of those funds. Mayor David Chadwick said the application has been entered three times and in the coming fall that opportunity will become available once again.

He explained it has been necessary for the applications to have a theme in the past such as bike trails, or sidewalks. According to Chad Nehring, City Manager, the city has applied twice with Community Development Block Grant and once with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

"We will look for bids on those as we traditionally do and that is the purpose of the $75,000 that we've set aside, because we want to match that," said Chadwick.

Smalls inquired about a construction committee or assembling team, and Chadwick said it's a little premature at this time to establish either. 

"Your committee informing your ideas has been very valuable and that is essential that we have an understanding of what is wanted, what is needed and where our direction will be going in solving what we all want," said Chadwick.

He continued by stating, "You need to understand a little something about me, if it's not good, if it's not the best that we can do, then we'll be against it. So we're looking for the best we can put in that area. We're looking for it to be comparable to any of the other parks that we have."

Mayor Chadwick encouraged Smalls and Cloudy to meet with Nehring and Chadwick in a more of a committee environment to reach the desired results of all involved.

Delbert Jackson was next to address the council on his concerns involving illegal dumping of trash in the community where Noble Street in Center meets County Road 2050 in the county at the overpass of Loop 500.

"It's easily accessible from the Loop, so it's easy for someone to just drive off the Loop and just drop it there and keep moving," said Jackson.

He remarked that problem didn't exist at that location before Loop 500. Jackson also mentioned a need of ditches to be dug out at Florence Street. Chad Nehring stated the ditches have been dug out in the last couple of months.

"As you're aware the dumping is an issue that is not isolated to one spot. It's a most disgusting part of our habits as a community," said Chadwick. "I'll tell you very frankly we have been known to go to dumping sites and look through the bags and find a name on an envelope."

Terry Scull, Council Member, inquired who owns the property in question and mentioned a lot of times property owners do bear some responsibility.

Thomas Burrows was the next speaker to address the council. His first concern was in relation to Campbell Estates, about which he said he has spoken to someone at the city since 2003. 

"There's abandoned vehicles, there's piles of trash around the dumpster. I would hope that we would have code enforcement on this if we're going to run a subdivision," said Burrows. 

Burrows said he filed a code enforcement violation with city website and did not get a response, he also said he reached out to the code enforcement office as well as City Manager Nehring and didn't receive a response from either individual.

"I want to be fair neighbor you at least responded to me and talked about this issue," said Burrows. 

Burrows remarked the old McClendon house site at the intersection of Shelbyville and Center Street was in need of cleaning. 

"Maybe you guys can ignore the vehicles, maybe even ignore the trash that has rats in it, but the fire time there's a major fire in this area and somebody dies the lawyers are going to swarm like buzzards," said Burrows.

Burrows gave the council until the 1st of August to clean up the area, and mentioned to Jackson to tell him what area he was talking about and he would write the check. 

Chadwick thanked Burrows and remarked he was addressing issues the city deals with every day. 

"As you know we are dealing with private land owners and we have to respect them. Some of the things that we have to deal with is sometimes, instead of being able to address a problem by standards that we want we have to do it by elimination of the problem," said Chadwick.

Regarding the Campbell property, Chadwick clarified that is private property with their own roads and would not be acceptable to the city.

"We deal with them on a regular basis and we send out citations," said Chadwick.

Burrows responded, "Mr. Campbell is welcome to call 911 when I send my people to clean that up and escort me off the property, but I will clean it up." 

Nehring updated the council on the bid received for the Streetscape project in the city.  He explained the original bid was extremely excessive and above the original estimate of $3.8 million at $5.1 million.

"They had a multiplication quantity error that immediately reduced over $200,000 of that cost and they also had a supplier vendor error that they had transposed into their bid, so immediately in writing we were able to produce an additional $288,000 that was a calculation error from a vendor," said Nehring.

After correcting the previously mentioned errors, Nehring said the actual bid is at $4.6 million for the project which originally was estimated at $3.8 million. Nehring also said $150,000 of that total cost was utility related and will be carried by the city utility fund.

In reviewing the project with the design team, several alternate material options are being considered. Nehring remarked there is the potential for a $600,000 depending on the contractor is agreeable to contractural term of value engineering the bid.

There is also the potential for disposal of materials being handled partly by the city, reducing the cost potentially by $40,000.

Mayor Chadwick postponed the vote until the meeting of June 24, 2019.

The Center Fire Department has been in need of a replacement grass truck since one of theirs burned earlier. 

A brand new model would cost $90,000 and a replacement truck was located by the fire department which would cost $25,000 total. With the $11,564 in insurance money from the burned truck the city was asked to contribute $13,436 to the purchase of the replacement vehicle.

In addition to the departments need for a grass truck, a side boom cutter and mini excavator were added to the total for budget adjustment.

A motion carried and the budget adjustment was approved.

Kevin Sage is a new reserve police officer Chief Jim Albers requested be approved. Sage was a May 23, 2019 graduate of Angelina Police Academy. The addition of Sage would give the police department four reserve officers.

A motion carried to approve his appointment.

A motion carried to re-approve the appointment of Josh McAdams, John Howard and Ward Herndon to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:

1. May 28, 2019 Regular Meeting Minutes.
2. Accept winning bids submitted by the Baker Group and adopt the ordinance 2019-06 authorizing issuance of certificates of obligation.
3. Ordinance 2019-07 Residential Building Permit fees.
4. Budget adjustment for partial purchase of fire truck, side boom cutter and mini excavator.
5. Appointment of Kevin Sage as new Center PD reserve officer.
6. Planning and Zoning Commission re-appointment of Josh McAdams, John Howard and Ward Herndon.

June 24, 2019 - The Shelby County Constable Precinct 3 office is seeking the assistance of the public in locating a wanted individual.

William Thomas Smith, 38, of Logansport, LA is being sought for theft of a firearm, state jail felony.

Smith is a white male 5’6”, 155 lbs, with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call Shelby County Constable Precinct 3 Roy Cheatwood at 936-572-0384 or your local law enforcement agency.

If anyone is found to be hindering the apprehension, harboring or concealing, providing or aiding with any means of avoiding arrest or effecting escape, or warns Smith of impending discovery or apprehension, will be arrested and charged in accordance to Penal Code 38.05 Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution, a Felony 3 offense.

 

June 24, 2019 - The Shelby County Sheriff's Department has released information on a shooting suspect arrested May 17, 2019 following requests made by Shelby County Today.

Texas Department of Public Safety State Troopers assisted Sheriff's Department Deputies Lt. Del Birdwell, Tanner Peace and Jimmy Wagstaff in locating the alleged weapon involved and the suspect. The suspect was also arrested and released on the same day of the incident from Center PD Jail on unrelated charges.

According to the Shelby County Sheriff's Department press release on Friday, May 17, 2019, deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence in the 1100 block of County Road 4350 to speak with two complainants in reference to gunshots.

The complainants stated an individual pulled into a residence, pointed a long-barrel rifle at them and fired four shots into the air. The individual then fled the scene.

The suspect was identified as Ruben Camarillo Estrada, 25, of Center. Estrada was located a short time later on County Road 4294. 

Deputies performed a gun residue test on Estrada’s hands and gun powder residue was found on the right hand of the suspect. The rifle was also recovered nearby.

Estrada was arrested and booked into the Shelby County jail for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (F-2) $30,000 bond; Violation of Probation: OC: Resisting Arrest (M-A); Violation of Probation: OC: Evading Arrest (M-A) and the subject has a hold by the Immigration Customs Enforcement Agency.

Update: Monday, June 24th, Tiffany Campos was safely located.


June 24, 2019 -  The family of Tiffany Campos is seeking help to find her. Tiffany is 16 years old, 4’11, and 98 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Last seen wearing a teal and white tie dyed shirt with the words “Kinda Don’t Care” and black nike basketball shorts. She was last seen Saturday, June 22nd around 5:00pm, Kennedy St. in Center. If you have any information about her whereabouts please contact her mother, Jennifer Lopez at (936)-332-7534, Alyssa Campos at (936)-488-9214, father, Alberto Campos at (936)-488-9274, the Center Police Department (936)-598-2788, or your local law enforcement agency.

Penal code Sec. 25.06 Harboring Runaway Child (a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly harbors a child : (1) Is younger than 18 years of age An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

June 18, 2019 - The signal lights will remain in flashing mode for 30 days beginning June 17, as TxDOT conducts a traffic study of whether or not the signals are still needed. At the request of the city, TxDOT are conducting a traffic study to determine whether the lights on the Center downtown square are still needed. This is part of the city’s beautification project on the square. At the end of 30 days, TxDOT traffic engineers will determine whether the signals are still warranted or if stop signs will work more efficiently for downtown traffic needs.

June 20, 2019 - The Shelby County Commissioners renewed the county insurance plan during their recent meeting Wednesday, June 19, 2019.

Clint Porterfield, Shelby County Auditor, described for the commissioners the changes occurring with county health insurance.

"We have a 4% increase in Shelby County's renewal rate. Overall, I will tell you, that's about a $33,000 increase in our health insurance cost countywide for the next year," said Porterfield.

Porterfield said in the previous year it was a 7% increase, and the health insurance pool actually has done better.

"They're anticipating hopefully it'll be steady next year," said Porterfield.

He outlined the new rates for the county with the employee only rate for the county having previously been $656 a month and increasing to $682. Porterfield stated there are no changes to the plan, or to the waiting period for getting on the plan. Everything else remains the same from the previous year.

A motion carried to approve the renewal of the Texas Association of Counties group health insurance for the 2020 plan year.

Roscoe McSwain, Precinct 1 Commissioner, explained he has a residual balance of $100,000 for a Cat loader 926M and for Precinct 2 to make a final lease payment after refinancing the remaining balance of his Cat maintainer.

"I've been leasing a 140M Road Grader for $15,000 a year and I've decided that I'm going to pay the $15,000, it's due now and then I'm gonna purchase a machine," said Jimmy Lout, Precinct 2 Commissioner.

Lout stated the machine he is purchasing will be financed at a 3.65 interest rate and he'll be putting $50,000 down on the purchase. After that he will be making payments of over $58,000 a year for three years.

"I called one of the local banks here and theirs was higher," said Lout. 

Roscoe McSwain, Precinct 1 Commissioner, said the Cat loader is turning three years old July 4.

"My final lease payment's $18,000, that's not in my budget. I will be taking $100,000 out of my fixed assets to pay off the remaining balance," said McSwain.

That way, he explained, there won't be any need to refinance.

A motion carried to move forward with those contracts.

The commissioners were scheduled to consider sealed bids relating to remodeling of the Juvenile Probation building on Nacogdoches Street in Center.

Charles Barr, Precinct 3 Commissioner, and Tom Bellmyer, Precinct 4, Commissioner, met with two contractors planning to bid on the project and Barr stated they spent around three hours touring the location to go over the needs of the building.

Both of ther contractors needed additional time to put together their figures on the proposed job.

The project would make the building so it can accomadate the Juvenile Probation Department and the office of Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1.

To allow additional time for the current bidders and to allow time for additional prospective bidders to submit, a motion carried to extend the bidding for an additional week.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:42am.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:

1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Renewal of the Texas Association of Counties group health insurance for the 2020 plan year.
3. Pct. 1 Commissioner to payoff Cat loader 926M, and Pct. 2 to make final lease payment and to refinance remaining balance on Cat Maintainer.
4. Extend the time to accept sealed bids by one week for remodeling the Juvenile Probation building.
5. Adjourn at 9:42am

June 20, 2019 - The water on N.E.W. WSC no longer requires boiling.

On June 17, 2019, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required the N.E.W. Water Supply, #2030034, to issue a Boil Water Notice to inform customers, individuals or employees that due to conditions which occurred recently in the public water system, the water from this public water system was required to be boiled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

N.E.W. Water Supply has taken the necessary corrective actions to restore the quality of the water distributed by this public water system used for drinking water or human consumption purposes. We have also provided TCEQ with laboratory test results that indicate that the water no longer requires boiling prior to use as of June 20, 2019

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact the office: 220 West Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas. 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp 936-201-5001. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

If a customer, individual or employee wishes to contact the executive director, please call (512)239-4691.


June 17, 2019 - Due to a break in the line at Plant 1, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required the N.E.W. Water Supply Corporation PWS #2030034 to notify all customers on FM 711, CR 203, CR 205, CR 223, Fountain Town, and Harmony Communities. Customers are to boil their water prior to consumption (eg., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc). Children, seniors and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all customers should follow these directions.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.

In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the pub lic water system officials will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, the public water system will issue a notice to customers that rescinds the boil water notice in a manner similar to this notice.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received the notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, or businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact N.E.W. Water Supply Corporation at 220 W. Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas, 75972, or call 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp at 936-201-5001.


June 6, 2019 - The water on N.E.W. WSC no longer requires boiling.

On June 1, 2019, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required the N.E.W. Water Supply, #2030034, to issue a Boil Water Notice to inform customers, individuals or employees that due to conditions which occurred recently in the public water system, the water from this public water system was required to be boiled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

N.E.W. Water Supply has taken the necessary corrective actions to restore the quality of the water distributed by this public water system used for drinking water or human consumption purposes. We have also provided TCEQ with laboratory test results that indicate that the water no longer requires boiling prior to use as of June 6, 2019

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact the office: 220 West Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas. 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp 936-201-5001. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

If a customer, individual or employee wishes to contact the executive director, please call (512)239-4691.


June 3, 2019 - Due to an electrical problem at Plant 1, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required the N.E.W. Water Supply Corporation PWS #2030034 to notify all customers on FM 711, Kellyville, Fountain Town, and Harmony Communities. Customers are to boil their water prior to consumption (eg., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc). Children, seniors and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all customers should follow these directions.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.

In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the pub lic water system officials will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, the public water system will issue a notice to customers that rescinds the boil water notice in a manner similar to this notice.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received the notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, or businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact N.E.W. Water Supply Corporation at 220 W. Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas, 75972, or call 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp at 936-201-5001.

June 19, 2019 - Update (5pm): FM 1970 North near US 84 in Shelby County is now open to traffic after a truck overturned earlier. Drive safely.


June 19, 2019 - TxDOT advises FM 1970 North near US 84 in Shelby County is closed after a truck overturned. Hazmat crews are on the scene. Prepare for delays. Scene should be cleared in about an hour when truck is uprighted.

 

June 19, 2019 - Significant weather advisory for De Soto and Northwestern Red River Parishes...Southeastern Panola...Northeastern Nacogdoches and Shelby Counties until 8am CDT.

At 7:14am CDT, Doppler radar was tracking strong thunderstorms along a line extending from near Stonewall to near Tenaha to near Garrison. Movement was east southeast at 35 mph.

Strong winds between 40 and 50 mph will be possible with these storms.

Locations impacted include: Center, Mansfield, Stonewall, Logansport, Tenaha, Timpson, Garrison, Joaquin, Neuville, Shelbyville, Huxley, South Mansfield, Hall Summit, Keachi, Grand Cane, Longstreet, Stanley, Keat Chie, Carmel and Jericho.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Frequent cloud to ground lightning is occurring with these storms. Lightning can strike 10 miles away from a thunderstorm. Seek a safe shelter inside a building or vehicle.

Pages