Italy City Council approves purchase of equipment for streets

In the regular meeting Monday night, the Italy City Council voted to purchase equipment for the Public Works Department to use for street repairs. They also approved a Resolution to borrow the money for the equipment from Government Capital.

“The equipment is not for doing a new road like the county does,” said Dean Carrell, Public Works Director. “It is to maintain a road. We would use it to fix pot holes and repair streets.”

City Administrator Teri Murdock stated that the payment for the cost of the equipment over seven years would be a little over $11,000 per year. Carrell said that the main thing is where the money is coming from. He said the first payment would not be due for another year.

“The payments will come from the sales tax,” Murdock said. “It will not cost the taxpayers.”

Upon the recommendation of Murdock, the Council also voted to spend $40,000 to $45,000 for Ellis County Pct. 3 to resurface Harpold Street and Harris Street. Harris Street would be completed in two phases; from Hardeman to Dilworth and Hardeman to Hwy 77. Because of the CBDG grant, the area from Hardeman to Hwy 77 will be resurfaced after the new water lines have been installed.

The First Baptist Church requested the City allow them to remove the sidewalk in front of the old parsonage on Clark Street. The Council approved the request.

The Community Action Committee asked the Council to allow them to keep a separate accounting for the different activities they are in charge of. Ronda Cockerham explained that donations come in for the different activities and need to be spent for the activities they are donated for. She stated that if someone donates money for the Mayor’s Easter Egg Hunt, for example, the money should only be spent for that activity. She requested that donations be rolled over from year to year. The Council approved the request.

The Council approved an Agreement Respecting Forfeited Contraband with Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson and authorized Chief Diron Hill to sign the agreement.

“The funds will go to the County Treasurer and will be dispersed to us at a later date,” said Hill. “Right now it is the other way around.”

A new warning siren is ready to be installed, but a location needed to be decided on. The City could have a new pole installed at a cost of $4,100 or use the existing tower at no cost. Murdock stated that she had spoken with Carrell and Don Chambers and was told the existing tower would work. She also said they would need Jimmy Weaver to install a new breaker. The Council voted to have the new siren installed on the existing tower.

The following reports were given:

Police Department – Chief Diron Hill reported that for the last 2 ½ months his department only had 4 full time officers and they had done a very good job. He reported that crime was down 50% for March. He said that 2 new officers have been hired and are in training.

Public Works – Dean Carrell reported his department had completed 498 work orders in March. He stated they had 6 major water main breaks and the new system had kept up. He said that the chloramine was doing its job and that it would take a couple more months for the chloramine to be stable.

“The water has gotten a lot better,” said Councilman Frank Jackson. “It tastes much better now.”

Municipal Court – During the warrant roundup last month, 150 warrants were cleared and $40,917 was collected.

Administration – Teri Murdock said that the home grant was being reviewed and the CDBG was progressing well. She said that sales tax for February was up 15.84%, down 7.23% in March and up 1.73% for April. Sales tax is up 5.89% for the year. She told the council that the DCI contract expires in September and should be reviewed. Murdock stated she is researching ways for people to pay water bills and court fines online through She said it would be at no cost or liability to the City.

Mayor Hobbs stated that there was a new wrecker service in town and wanted the council to consider them on our rotation.

“Big Daddy’s is a new wrecker here and I think we should consider them for rotation with the City,” Hobbs said.

Chief Hill explained that there were not enough tows for 3 companies at this time.

Hobbs stated he thought the City should use local towing companies instead of Paul Martin.

“Paul Martin has proven they can do the job,” Hill stated. “We have had no problem with either Harris or Martin. I find no justification to use another wrecker service or take tows away from them.”

Frank Jackson explained it was not in the council members’ hands to make the decision. He stated that the decision was up to the Police Chief.

Hobbs told Hill he thought he was closing the door to free enterprise for a local business. He asked the council to take necessary action to put Big Daddy’s Wrecker Service on the towing rotation. The item died for lack of a motion.

After an executive session, the council took no action regarding real property. They voted to pay Datamatic Ltd. $720.00 and asked Murdock to search for a new company.