City prepares for annual Christmas festival

Image: Shawn Martin promoted to Corporal by Italy Police Chief Diron Hill at Italy City Council meeting

Shawn Martin promoted to Corporal by Italy Police Chief Diron Hill at Italy City Council meeting (Alysa Kirton)

The City of Italy is still seeking donations and volunteers for its Fifth Annual Christmas Festival and Parade scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1, according to Mayor Frank Jackson. He made the announcement at the city council’s monthly meeting held Monday evening in council chambers.

The mayor said the parade begins at 10 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. Vendors will be located at the pavilion, across from city hall, and at the Boze Community Center.

The following day, the Italy Ministerial Alliance will host a tree lighting ceremony at the pavilion followed by a service at Central Baptist Church, 113 S. Ward.

Dennis Perkins Jr., council member, also noted the Thanksgiving barbeque luncheon scheduled Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Italy High School dome. The luncheon is open to the public.

During the regular agenda items, Mike Hyles brought photographs showing how difficult it is to back out of his driveway when people are parked on the street in the 400 block of Clark Street. The council suggested the police chief and the public works director decide where “no parking” signs should be located to alleviate this problem.

Joan Grabowski addressed the council about the length of time it took the city to repair a water leak. Although the leak has been repaired, she wanted to bring the incident up to the council.

Dean Carrell, public works director, said he had already discussed the incident with Grabowski and had apologized for the length of time it took to make the repair. He pointed out to council members that the city crew responds to an average of 712 work orders per month. Carrell said he did a brief survey about work orders in nearby communities. The work orders in these communities, he said, averaged about 100 to 150 per month. He said that if you push five guys this much, there are going to be mistakes. He said some items need immediate attention and others can wait. Again, he apologized to Grabowski.

The council also unanimously approved the sale of railroad right-of-way property near Forreston to Mark Walker who owns surrounding property. The council unanimously approved the sale as long as property owners with driveways along the area have access to SH 77. Sale price for the property is appraised at $2,500.

Council members authorized Carrell sell the old water meters to a firm that refurbishes old water meters for $2,075. Carrell said the money will go toward the Mayor’s Christmas for the Kids. The motion passed unanimously.

The final item during the regular session was the approval of Ordinance No. 12-1112-01, relative to substandard building codes. Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, said the updates to this ordinance stems from a recent Texas Supreme Court ruling regarding substandard building codes.

During department reports, Police Chief Diron Hill said the department was called to service 250 times and made five arrests during the month of October. Officers worked a total of 1,679 hours. He said the code enforcement officer received 27 calls and animal control officer was called to service 23 times. The animal control officer picked up two animals and wrote two citations.

Hill also introduced Shawn Martin who was promoted to corporal, a new position that was included in the current budget year.

Hill also said a reserve officer was almost run over when he was throwing out spikes in an attempt to stop a suspect fleeing from authorities. He said the suspect crossed three lanes of traffic as he neared the officer. He said the suspect narrowly missed the officer. The suspect, Hill said, has been charged with attempted capital murder.

Carrell said he has ordered several signs, including new stop signs, for several locations around town.

Murdock said the new pavilion should be completed by Thanksgiving. She said they are waiting on the contractors to complete the building permits for the new Taco Bell and Family Dollar Store to proceed. She noted that Ronda Cockerham will graduate from the Texas Municipal League in January.

The council also approved minutes from the previous meeting, earned compensatory time and bills.

Mayor Pro Tem Rodney Guthrie was not present at the meeting.