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March 2, 2021 - On March 1, 2021 in a Special Meeting the members of the Timpson City Council voted, upon my recommendation, to close the City of Timpson Police Department. The vote passed 3 for and 1 against, with one council member absent. Following the vote to close the department the council voted on the Reduction in Force for the last remaining police department employee, Chief of Police Kent Graham, effective March 4, 2021. This vote passed 4 voting to RIF Chief Graham and none opposed.

As mayor I am responsible for the City’s financial recommendations and budget. In September the budget was presented and passed for one officer to remain on staff with the understanding that close attention would be paid as the fiscal year progressed to the overall general fund’s financial stability.

After 4 months, 1/3 of the fiscal year, the general fund only showed an increase of slightly over $2200. Prior P/L statements for the first four months of prior fiscal years have varied in their fund increase but none have been this low. For the same period last fiscal year, the fund increase was approximately $35,000.

With the department closure there will not be a city employed police officer on duty. This does not mean there will not be law enforcement in the City of Timpson! Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the office of Shelby County Constable will be apprised of the closure and the SCSO will be dispatching officers when 9-1-1 is called. Timpson has three highways within the city limits and we will be notifying DPS that the city department has closed. I’m sure they will step up traffic enforcement to ensure our highways are safe. The city council will look into mutual aid agreements with the SCSO and the office of Constable as well as getting bids from private companies that offer contracted security officers for special events, holidays, and/or watchmen.

I value the opinions of citizens and our business owners. Like most of you, I valued having our own Police Department and felt that it was within our budget each year. Many factors effect a city’s budget, but none have had the impact COVID-19 have. In addition to our municipal court revenue being impacted, sales tax and property tax have both seen a decline, more than likely due to higher unemployment and less spendable income. The City of Timpson has a sound financial base and should weather through this downturn if we make sound financial decisions. With so many other “general fund” needs: road work, sidewalks, right of way maintenance, support toward the TVFD and general operations of City Hall I felt it was prudent to alleviate the strain on the General Fund budget by immediately eliminating the payroll and operations of the Timpson Police Department which is estimated at approximately $100,000 per year.

Thank you,
Mayor Debra Smith

Related Article:
Timpson City Council Votes 3-1 to Dissolve PD

March 1, 2021 - Closure of the Timpson Police Department has been up for discussion by the Timpson City Council on several occasions and a final decision was made Monday, March 1, 2021 to dissolve the department.

Teri Alexander, councilwoman, moved to dissolve and close the city of Timpson police department, and authorize the mayor to execute any necessary documentations. 

The motion by Alexander was seconded by Charleston Johnson, councilman, and was followed by no discussion. 

In the vote Alexander, Johnson, and councilman Kenneth Walker all voted for the closure while Kyle Allen, mayor pro-tem, voted against the closure. The motion carried.

The city's attorney advised the action would be effective immediately.

Alexander then moved, "I make a motion that we should break [employment] the city of Timpson [with] Chief of Police Kent Graham through a reduction in force due to budgetary constraints as outlined in the profit and loss statements in January 31, 2021 and the closing of the police department and the term of his employment will end effective March 4, 2021."

The motion carried.

Mayor Debra Smith stated the city would meet with TCOLE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement).

The meeting was then adjourned.

Upon exiting the building following the meeting, some council members were requesting of the mayor keys to the police department and also gained access to one of the patrol units

February 27, 2021 - With the enormous impact the Winter Storm has had on water systems in Shelby County and surrounding areas, Shelby County Today will keep this list of active boil water notices current for a quick check for viewers to see if their area is still under an active notice.

ALL boil water notices issued due to the Winter Storm has been rescinded.

Rescinded boil water notices (no longer require boiling)

February 27, 2021 - Shelby County Livestock Sale is underway at the John D. Windham Civic Center on Saturday, February 27th. The show was held earlier in the day where exhibitors demonstrated the results of their hard work and dedication to their animal projects.

Grand Champion Steer - Kayson Pledger (Timpson FFA), bought by Hawkeye Hunting Club for $11,000.
Grand Champion Swine - Irelynn Clouse (Joaquin FFA), bought by Shelby Savings Bank and General Shelters for $3,500
Grand Champion Goat - Avery Metcalf (Timpson FFA), bought by Farmers State Bank for $3,000
Grand Champion Lamb - Jairo Blanco (Joaquin FFA), bought by State Representative Chris Paddie for $3,000

Reserve Grand Steer - Cassie Nutt (Shelby Co. 4-H), bought by Despino Tire for $3,500
Reserve Grand Swine - Alexis Clouse (Joaquin FFA), bought by Farmers State Bank for $2,000 
Reserve Grand Goat - Alyssa Cummings (Joaquin FFA), bought by Center Livestock for $2,000 
Reserve Grand Lamb - Clayton Hinton (Shelbyville FFA), bought by Borders Poultry Supply for $2,750

3rd Place Steer - Wesley Wages (Center FFA), bought for $2,500
3rd Place Swine - Stormie Meyers (Joaquin FFA), bought for $1,999
3rd Place Goat - Keelie McDonald (Timpson FFA), bought for $1,999
3rd Place Lamb - Kenzie Walton (Timpson FFA), bought for $2,000

4th Place Steer - Ethan Wood (Joaquin FFA), bought for $3,499
4th Place Swine - Jayden Cater (Joaquin FFA), bought for $1,500
4th Place Goat - Ashlynn McNutt (Timpson FFA), bought for $1,900
4th Place Lamb - Landree Jousan (Shelby Co. 4-H), bought for $2,600

5th Place Steer - Conner Nutt (Shelby Co. 4-H), bought for $2,000
5th Place Swine - Kaylee Oliver (Joaquin FFA), bought for $1,700 
5th Place Goat - Naomie Meyers (Joaquin FFA), bought for $1,700
5th Place Lamb - Catherine Searcy (Timpson FFA), bought for $1,500

6th Place Steer - Kayden Nutt (Shelby Co. 4-H), bought for $1,750
6th Place Swine - Mason Hughes (Joaquin FFA), bought for $1,600
6th Place Goat - Emmalee Richardson (Timpson FFA), bought for $1,700
6th Place Lamb - Jacie Lee (Center FFA), bought for $1,600

7th Place Steer - Braxton Weir (Joaquin FFA), bought for $1,750
7th Place Swine - Logan Williams (Shelbyville FFA), bought for $1,700
7th Place Goat - Hannah Wages (Center FFA), bought for $1,999
7th Place Lamb - Cara Searcy (Timpson FFA), bought for $1,600

8th Place Steer - McKayla Huss (Timpson FFA), bought for $3,499
8th Place Swine - Logan Meyer (Center FFA), bought for $1,999
8th Place Goat - Kayla White (Shelbyville FFA), bought for $1,750
8th Place Lamb - Abby Messer (Shelby Co. 4-H), bought for $2,749

Check back as results will be updated as the sale continues.

February 26, 2021 - The Timpson City Council met on Monday, February 22, and named Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong to administer two projects for the city. City workers were also commended for their efforts during the recent ice storm.

During the meeting council members were asked if they had anything to report. Tiffany Collins, council woman, stated the kitchen sink at SoSo Park needs to be repaired because it has a leak. Kenneth Walker, councilman, said he looked at the floor level and concrete level of the slab for the Justice of the Peace office located at Austin and Bremond Street. His concern is if the sidewalk is brought to the same level, water could potentially run into the building.

Mayor Debra Smith said all of the sidewalks have to be built with a 1% grade from the building out to give the sidewalk a slight slope away from the structure.

Walker said another issue he looked at was on 3rd Street regarding the replacement of a culvert. He suggested leaving the culvert until someone has a concern over it, because there are alternate routes to take.

Smith said it may have to be addressed due to drainage, but she doesn't have any plans on it at the  time of the meeting.

Teri Alexander, council woman, commended the city workers for their work involving the recent ice storm.

"I just want to say kudos for our workers for what they did this past week," said Alexander.

Smith remarked the Timpson Area Chamber of Commerce isn't meeting, because the Timpson Library remains closed. She said the Chamber has been in contact with Google Maps and Microsoft Maps, because of an issue with truckers being directed to travel FM 1970 and bypass Timpson which appears to have an economic impact on some businesses.

She stated County Judge Allison Harbison is also writing letters to reach out to both companies.

City Secretary Misty Burgess reported three candidate packets were submitted for the General Election as February 11th. Those submitted were by Kyle Allen, incumbent council member; Tiffany Collins, incumbent council member; and Charleston Johnson, incumbent council member. February 16 was the last day to file a declaration of write-in candidacy none was received, and as a result there will not be an election held on May 1, 2021. 

An ordinance will need to be signed at the March Council Meeting declaring the election canceled.

During the meeting the council considered renewing the city lawncare contract with Lawn Commanders, at the rate of $1,775 a month. The current contract with Lawn Commanders is up in April and the owner is willing to sign a two-year contract at that rate.

Councilman Allen moved to sign the contract with Lawn Commanders for a two-year contract at $1,775 a month; however, there wasn't a second to his motion and it failed.

Councilwoman Tiffany Collins asked where the idea of a two-year contract originated, because if the city were to have a problem with their services after six months they wouldn't be able to get out of the contract.

Collins said she would second the motion for a one-year contract, and mayor Smith said she would have Burgess reach out to him to see if he would consider a one-year contract.

"When I was talking with him, I put it in there I said, 'if you want to we can put it in there for a two-year contract,' that wasn't something he asked for," said Burgess. "We just did that with the cemetery, Mark's Lawn, and we did it with Lily Sanitation."

Councilman Kenneth Walker said the city doesn't have a need for a lawn service running a mower 12 months out of the year.

"In the past the city employees have done it without an issue, they took care of the work. They swapped out mowing, we've got the equipment my understanding is, that's my thoughts," said Walker.

Smith remarked the council would just have to deal with it in March.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:53pm.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Consent agenda items:
A. Minutes from the Regular Meeting held on Jan. 19, 2021
B. Financial Statement for the month of January 2021
C. Accounts Payable – January 2021

2. Resolution 20210216-03 designating Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong for the 2021-2022 Texas Community Development Fund application and project implementation administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

3. Resolution 20210216-04 designating Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong for the 2021 Downtown Revitalization Program/Main Street Fund application and project implementation administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

4. Adjourn at 5:53pm.

Update 6:26pm: Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard was updated at 3:10pm with today's numbers. The active cases remained at 89; however, an additional death was reported for a total of 55. This makes three days in a row of increases to the death count. Since the beginning of 2021, 15 new deaths have been reported for Shelby County.

The number of total probable cases reduced by 1 for a new total of 657. Case reductions have occurred before when cases are discovered to belong to a different county of residence. There was no explanation as to why the decrease.

The state did notate that 1 of 5 of Shelby County's new confirmed cases is an older confirmed case reported by a lab.

February 26th (3:10pm) Numbers:
Total Confirmed Cases - 871 (5 new cases)
Total Probable Cases - 657 (1 removed)
Total Fatalities - 55 (1 new)
Total Estimated Active Cases - 89
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,384 (3 new)


February 26, 2021 - The Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard reports 89 active cases as of Thursday, February 25, 2021 and two new deaths. This is the 3rd death reported from COVID-19 over the past two days.

Of the 3 new active cases, 2 were new confirmed cases and 1 was a new probable case. The dashboard also shows a total of 7 additional recoveries which continues to help lower the number of active cases.

February 25th (3:00pm) Numbers:
Total Confirmed Cases - 866 (2 new cases)
Total Probable Cases - 658 (1 new case)
Total Fatalities - 54 (2 new)
Total Estimated Active Cases - 89
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,381 (7 new)

February 25, 2021 - Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), with the assistance of the Texas Military Department, launched a call center to assist Texans, who have limited or no internet access, with completing the State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT). Texans can call 844-844-3089 between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM seven days a week to submit their disaster damage information. This call center is specifically for Texans who are unable to submit information through the online iSTAT tool.

If needed, a state emergency management professional will visit impacted homes to collect photos and documentation of damage for the validation process.

Texans are urged to fill out the iSTAT, either online or over the phone if internet access is limited, to help the state identify damages across Texas and help emergency management officials gain an understanding of damages that occurred during the recent severe winter weather event. This data is also needed to provide information to FEMA and highlight the need for federal disaster assistance for individuals.

"The information gleaned from the iSTAT will help us advocate for the support and assistance our communities need to recover from the winter storm," said Governor Abbott. "This call center is available to help Texans without internet access complete this crucial survey." 

Visit http://damage.tdem.texas.gov to fill out the iSTAT.

Possum Trot pallet all gone.

February 25, 2021 - City of Huxley has two pallets of bottled drinking water available for distribution to the Huxley community starting today (February 25) until gone.

One pallet at City Hall and one pallet at Possum Trot.

Limit one per household please.

February 25, 2021 - Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative has officially restored power to all known outages following the winter storm. We appreciate everyone's patience and kindness shown during this challenging time. At the peak, DETEC reported over 23,000 outages.

After damages were assessed, we predicted restoration to possibly take 3 weeks. In just 10 days, DETEC crews, our fellow cooperative friends and contractors surpassed this goal. Hard, physical labor and mental determination are to contribute to this success.

Today we tip our hats to the hard-working lineman and operations staff that got the job done once again.

 

February 25, 2021 - The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at a residence on East Saddle Street in Joaquin on February 23, 2021. Per Shelby County Sheriff Kevin W. Windham, the search warrant was a result of several reports of drug activity in the area.

During the search, officers located 19 grams of methamphetamines and a small amount of marijuana. Items were also recovered from the scene that are used for the packaging and reselling of illegal narcotics.

Arrested on scene was Justin Carl Haessly, 33, of Joaquin. Hassley was charged with POCS PG 1 >=4G<200G (F-2) and POM (M-B). Haessly remains in the Shelby County jail on bonds totaling $3,500.

The SCSO would like to extend thanks to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Constable Pct. 3, Roy Cheatwood, Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office and K-9 Unit for their assistance.

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