Cumby to hold May election

  • The city of Cumby sign Staff photo by Taylor Nye
    The city of Cumby sign Staff photo by Taylor Nye

City tables handbook, audit, annexation


City Government

CUMBY — The City of Cumby received updates regarding maintenance and water meters during the regular Oct. 8 meeting of the city council and decided on a special election in May, among other business.

After opening at 6:30 p.m. and an invocation by alder Monty Lackey, Cumby police officer Zack Steward delivered the monthly police report.

According to Steward, 369 calls were serviced, 173 traffic warnings were given and 285 traffic citations were issued. There were no crashes, one incident report, nine offense reports and nine arrests.

One arrest was made for possession of a controlled substance and one was made for felony possession of a firearm. One was made for no driver’s license and one was made for driving while license invalid.

Mayor pro-tempore Doug Sim-merman read the monthly maintenance report, which had 30 work orders completed for the month of September. Twenty-five water meters were serviced, and one meter was installed. Three potholes were filled and two water leaks were repaired. A leaking pipe in the water pump house was also repaired as was the vent on the 100,000-gallon ground storage tank.

Cumby volunteer fire member David Weather-bee presented the fire department report. During the month of September there were nine calls for service. Two of those were within the city and the remaining seven were within the county fire district. There were additionally two motor vehicle accidents and two investigations. The total man hours in service, Weatherbee said, was 12.63.

Weatherbee reminded the community of the upcoming Saturday, Oct. 12 Blackjack Grove motorcycle ride and invited them to “come out and look at all the bikes.”

The council then unanimously approved the consent agenda, which consisted of a Sept. 3 public hearing, a Sept. 10 regular meeting and a Sept. 21 special session.

During the announcements, alder Julie Morris read a letter from resident Steven King thanking the city employees Kelsie Thomas, Trevor Kemp and Aaron Reynolds for their installation of his water service.

Citizen and mayoral candidate Ryan Horne thanked the fire department, maintenance department and Steward for their work supervising the Cumby High community clean up during the tear-down of the abandoned home on the corner of Donelton Street.

“There was some very hazardous material out there and they kept our students safe,” Horne said.

Discussion of old business centered around adoption of a City of Cumby employee manual, which appeared on the regular September city council agenda but had not yet been decided.

The last update of the document was in approximately 2015, city employees told the News-Telegram.

Lackey stated he was “personally still looking at [it]” and “had some things [he] would like to think about.”

The council tabled a decision until a later, undetermined date.

In new business, the council and citizens heard a presentation from Ben Jarrett of RG3 water meter company.

RG3 was the company that managed the city’s transition in 2015 from manually reading water meters to reading through radio signal, Jarrett said.

“We want people to be metered for every drop and be documented for that,” Jarrett said.

During the period of 2015 to mid-2019, the city and RG3 struggled to work together on the meters, Jarrett said, largely due to communication issues and lack of training on how to correctly read the meters. Jarrett attributed this to new and changing technology.

According to Jarrett, for the past five months dating back to May 2019, the city has been able to read its meters with 100% accuracy, and since at least the summer of this year, citizens can expect their readings to accurately reflect their water usage.

In other new business, the council accepted a resignation letter from the previous temporary appointment of Audri Mayo to the position of Alderman Place 2 on Sept. 21. In her resignation letter, Mayo stated she would still like to run for office in the future.

The council unanimously voted to hold a special election on May 2, 2020 to fill the open position left by Mayo’s resignation. The council resolved to ask the city of Sulphur Springs to borrow their electronic voting machines, provided Sulphur Springs did not have a May election of their own.

The council then discussed undergoing an audit of their 2018-2019 finances by Chris Turner. Citizen Kyle Pettit asked if the city had received more than one quote, and Sim-merman stated they had not. Pettit asked if Turner was the same individual they had contracted for last year’s audit, and Sim-merman stated Turner was. The council tabled the decision about an audit until a later, undetermined date.

The meeting was opened up to a public hearing about the possible annexation of a property owned by Texas Ranchitos, LLC.

According to Simmer-man, who had talked to the attorney for the owner of the Ranchitos property, the owner had at one time expressed he desired the city to provide the properties with city infrastructure including water and sewer.

“I informed the Ranchito attorney that we’ll give you water gladly, we’ll give you sewer gladly, but you’re going to have to be annexed,” city attorney Edgar J. Garrett said. “You need to pay city taxes and support the fire department and support the police department.”

“I talked to him last week to let him know it [annexation] was on the agenda,” Simmerman noted. “I think there was a little bit of a language barrier. … He said he told people they’re buying property where there wouldn’t be any restrictions.”

Although there is no building code in Hopkins County, annexation into Cumby does come with building restrictions, according to Cumby city code.

“I’m not too sure where we’re going with this right now,” Simmer-man said. “I thought he was all for this, … but then he starts crawfishing.”

The council decided to table the item until a later, undetermined date.

Council adjourned open session and convened into executive session at 8:37 p.m. to discuss possible litigation in regards to substandard buildings.