Local pastor honored at city council meeting

Image: Greg Richards and Frank Jackson present Ronnie Dabney with framed proclamation 

Greg Richards and Frank Jackson present Ronnie Dabney with framed proclamation  (Alysa Kirton)

The Reverend Ronnie Dabney was honored Monday evening at the monthly meeting of the Italy City Council.

Dabney has been a pastor for 41 years. He spent the past 21 years serving as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Italy.

Greg Richards, council member and member of the First Baptist Church, said there is not a better man. He said, “I am proud to call him my friend, I am proud to call him my pastor.”

Mayor Frank Jackson read a proclamation proclaiming Nov. 14 as Pastor Ronnie Dabney Day.

Following the presentation, Dean Carrell, public works director, and Scott Hoelzle, KSA engineer, addressed the council regarding the ongoing water project.

Hoelzle said a survey has been done locating the best area to locate the second tank.  The second tank will be 54’ in diameter and 30’ tall. He said geotechnical contracts are in place and a site visit with a mechanical engineer is scheduled that will address the water temperature. He said a chemical room will be placed between the new tank and existing tank located at the intersection of Simms Street and SH 77.

Carrell said the hydraulics and dynamics of the site are still being studied.

The current tank holds 200,000 gallons of water and the second tank, a concrete tank, will hold half-a-million gallons.

Carrell said a similar tank was built in Rockwall 30 years ago and is still going strong.

He also sought council approval from the council regarding approval for a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system for the water bond project. Carrell said the electrical system was knocked out by lightning and said the water personnel accumulated more than 300 overtime hours last winter manually working the controls. The council approved the request.

In final steps for the water bond project, Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, said the council needed to pass an ordinance (#11-1114-01) that will no longer provide free water for churches, libraries or senior centers. She said the Texas Attorney General said, in order to qualify for this project, all water fees must be equal and uniform, except for municipal entities. The council approved the ordinance.

The council also approved phase III of the Economic Development Corporation project – the purchase of the Wayne Boze building. The resolution (#R 11-114-01) approves the project cost up to $200,000.

The council approved a resolution (#R 11-114-02) setting the Oncor franchise fee.

They also cast their 27 votes for Johnny Johnson for the Ellis Appraisal District. Bruce Utley made the motion because Johnson was the only candidate who sent the city a resume and letter requesting their vote.

Several people addressed the council with various concerns.

Conrad Kinze addressed the council regarding a damaged washing machine. He brought the machine’s drum to the meeting and showed council members the damaged drum.

Kinze claimed the machine was damaged because of the high levels of chlorine in the water. He said nobody is helping him replace the parts for the washing machine which cost him $780. He said when a seal goes out at the car wash, the owner gets reimbursed. Kinze said he guessed it is because has not lived in Italy all his life and didn’t have the last name of Hyles.

Kinze said the water is undrinkable and said he is either going to have to sell his house and leave Italy or get a permit to drill a well.

Tom Little complained about the lack of code enforcement. He said one house on Poplar Street has high grass and needs immediate attention. Murdock said that property has sold and said the city will get a letter sent to the new owners.

He also grumbled about the ditches on the city’s side of Derrs Chapel Road. He said the ditches are filled with trash and said a lot of traffic from out of town goes up and down that road.

He also asked why the council chose to approve the water project costing residents an additional $22 per month without voter approval.

The mayor said this was something that needed to be done and would cost more in the long run if the city didn’t act soon.

Little also noted that the Italy water is drinkable.

Elmerine Bell praised the Chief of Police for the annual night out. She said the event was one of the best things in the community in a while.

She also questioned why she must call repeatedly to get her recyclables picked up.

Murdock said they have discussed this problem with DCI before and will discuss it with them again.

Bell said DCI gives an annual scholarship to a student who writes a winning essay about creating a “green city.” She asked how DCI can promote “green” if they don’t even pick up the recyclables.

John Droll expressed his concern about the proposed community center. He said that was a “want” not a “need.”

Department reports for October

The Italy Police Department made one felony, four misdemeanor and two traffic warrant arrests. Officers worked a total of 1,422.5 hours.

The animal control officer worked 70 hours, impounded 16 animals and picked up 24 animals. The officer issued six citations and eight warnings.

The code enforcement officer worked 10 hours and sent eight courtesy letters.

The municipal court filed 228 citations from the police department, cleared 12 warrants. They issued 100 collection letters and issued 700 warrants.

Prior to adjournment, council members thanked the members of the community who come to the meetings and express their concern. The mayor said he wished more people would come to the council meetings so they could understand why some things must be done.

Jackson reminded people about the community-wide Thanksgiving lunch Sunday, Nov. 20, at 12:30 p.m. at Stafford Elementary.

The Christmas Festival and Tree Lighting Ceremony, sponsored by the Italy Ministerial Alliance, are set for Dec. 3 and 4.