2016 – News & Events Archives
As we begin a New Year, let’s give thanks for all the good we have had in the past year and look forward to the upcoming year with high expectations!
Our Second Annual Boat Parade was a huge success! Thanks to all of the participants, the folks behind the scenes and all of the folks who came to see it!
This month, before our City Council meeting, we are hosting a Pot Luck Dinner to express our appreciation to our Law Enforcement here in Tyler County. We will be recognizing DPS, Tyler County Sheriff’s Department, our Constable and the Woodville Police Department for all that they do to keep our County safe. We ask that all of you come out to show your appreciation and bring your favorite dish. The dinner will begin at 5 PM.
The re-caulking of the Charmaine Dam spillway finally got finished! (I am sure Rusty is thrilled!) A new product was used and now we watch and see how it holds up. It is more expensive and more complicated to apply but the hope is that it will last much longer. Thanks, Rusty, for your patience and perseverance!
The big news is our endeavor to work out the details of a sale/transfer of the Community Center to the City. The council and the IPOIA are working together to determine what and how this would need to be done, looking at what best serves the Community of Ivanhoe. The proposal will be presented at the January IPOIA meeting and will be voted upon at the Annual IPOIA meeting in February. It has been discovered that the Community Center is the largest financial burden the IPOIA has and if it is owned by the City, the cost is much less because the City does not pay taxes and the insurance that the City has through the Texas Municipal League is not only much less expensive, it would cover all of the community groups that meet in the Center. Funding possibilities are being explored and will be discussed at the upcoming meetings of both the City Council and the IPOIA.
Please plan on joining us at our upcoming meetings: IPOIA, Jan. 9th; and City Council Jan. 14th.
See you there!
Thus far, the 2016 winter is shaping up to be like 2015, with 1 to 3 inch rains in a 1 to 2 hour timeframe. It has resulted in more damage to our dirt streets as we wait for the FEMA paperwork to be processed on the city flood disaster recovery assistance going back to May of 2015. We are expecting the logjam at FEMA created by other disasters in the state to clear in February so the contractor can commence work. The actual work will likely take a couple of years since the city will be responsible for 25% of the cost.
Our Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project to provide an all-weather surfaced street on the section of Durwood Dr. from Camelot South to Kings Forest Circle is getting closer to actual construction with each day that brings us to warmer (and hopefully) drier weather. That project will have to be completed and paperwork finished by October per CDBG guidelines.
Grant assistance from the US Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development program is being sought for the proposed City Hall/office complex at the Community Center. The application also includes a request for funds to acquire equipment for street work. A response from the USDA on the cities application is expected in early spring.
The city’s request to Texas Dept. of Transportation (TxDOT) for lowering the speed limit on Hwy 69/287 from 75 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour was approved by the Texas Transportation Commission in Austin. The approval of the request is likely due to the large amount of support from multiple state & local elected officials, school districts and others. The lowered speed limit includes the portion of Hwy 69/287 from the north edge of the city by the Kera and Las Brisas Ranch boundaries to the existing 60 MPH speed limit in Hillister on the South end. The Transportation Commission approved lowering the speed limit from 75 mile per hour to 65 miles per hour that stretch of Hwy69/287 from the north boundary of the city to the existing 60 MPH speed limit zone near Childress Monuments and the Deerwood Subdivision. The City of Ivanhoe was not involved in that portion of the TxDOT decision.
Having a lower speed limit around the sole entrance and exit for the City will provide some measure of safety for school buses and emergency service vehicles turning into & out of Ivanhoe. It will also give our elderly residents a longer “reaction-time frame” when turning across traffic from both directions. The lower speed limit is also a pre-requisite for development in the commercial zoned area bordering Hwy 69/287.
On that subject, Dollar General has expressed very high likelihood of building a store at the entrance when the speed limit is reduced, and dependent on negotiations with the property owner of the commercial property. Also, a permit application for Longhorn Liquor is expected within the next few weeks for construction beside the Timberlakes/Rawson/Ivanhoe Real Estate office at the entrance.
Our Supervisor of Dams continues monitoring the dams, and as part of the on-going repair process has been keeping the level of Lake Charmaine just below spillway level. Chance Construction completed the re-caulking of the spillway the second week of February and the lake is being allowed to fill completely. Further minor repairs are anticipated on the dam structure/substructure in the coming months; none of which are expected to impact the lake level. Lake Galahad was lowered for a brief period of time to allow re-caulking of an expansion joint, and sealing cracks at the ends of the spillway weir (berm). The work was completed in conjunction with the Lake Charmaine Dam work, and the lake is well on the way to being full again.
Spring is filled with activities in and around Ivanhoe. If you plan to burn leaves and limbs and/or other wood products which is allowed by city ordinance, please keep the piles small and avoid burning when there is a breeze. Household garbage, plastic and related items are not acceptable for outdoor burning in Ivanhoe. Have a safe and enjoyable start to spring.
April 28, 2016 Town Hall Meeting Summary
On Thursday, April 28, 2016, at his request, our Chief Appraiser, David Luther came to Ivanhoe to explain the appraisal process and how that was going to affect us this year. The presentation was very informative and the question and answer portion allowed clarification of issues many of us had.
Ivanhoe had not been re-appraised since the lakes were down so the time had come for us to be re-appraised.
Last year some property values were re-adjusted but it was only those who had added some sort of improvement since the last appraisal. For example, an addition to the home or a garage added.
This year they will be adjusting the entire community which includes the increased land value, so everyone should notice a difference in their appraised value. It gets confusing so this is the reason Mr. Luther suggested coming here to Ivanhoe to talk about the process.
One thing that is very important that he explained to us last night was the process for contesting the value placed on your home. The notices will be sent out to us sometime before the end of May. We have 30 days after they are mailed to contest the value. You can do this by calling the appraisal office or sending in the form attached to the notice. Since there could be a large number of requests, it could take some time for them to get back with you but the important thing is to get your request in before the deadline so that you will be in line to be heard as soon as possible.
Most issues are settled by talking to the appraisers, but if there is still disagreement, the next step is to go before the Appraisal Review Board. This is a group of our peers consisting of a representative from each of the different entities in the county. Mr. Luther told us that of all the folks who contested their values last year, only one ended up going before the review board.
We sincerely appreciate Mr. Luther’s willingness to come and talk to us and sincerely thank him for offering to come again AFTER the notices are received to answer questions we have at that time. We will more than likely take him up on that offer.
The next thing on the agenda was the transfer ownership of the Community Center and the surrounding grounds to the City and it was decided to move forward with the transfer working out the details with the IPOIA and the attorneys.
OFFICIALLY CALLED EMERGENCY
Wednesday, April 27, the City of Ivanhoe experienced its first officially called emergency since we incorporated.
We received a call from Constable Dale Freeman at 8:52 AM informing us that the Judge had officially called the emergency and that Dale was acting Emergency Management Coordinator for the event and that the emergency command center was open and operating in Woodville.
Folks around Ivanhoe were already out on the streets reporting fallen trees and the Fire Department was removing the trees from roadways as quickly as they could. Neighbors also were out assisting with the tree removal.
Many fallen trees affected power lines and had to be removed by Sam Houston Electric. They reported having close to 20,000 customers without electricity as a result of this storm.
Power was lost in most of the city. Our generator came on immediately powering the Community Center and the office so our Command Center was operational. A special thanks to our IPOIA for getting the generator serviced and operational.
Neighbors in need of electricity for things such as breathing treatments were able to come to the Community Center for power. We kept the Community Center open for those in need of assistance until the emergency was officially over on Thursday morning.
Bottled water was brought from the Command Center in Woodville for those who were in need of drinking water. Many folks in Ivanhoe have wells and in the event of a power loss do not have water unless they have a functioning generator.
The water shortage experienced by the customers of Monarch was caused by their generators not functioning properly. There were no breaks in the water lines. After Hurricane Rita, our Fire Chief, John Paul Feeley, acquired a grant for generators not only for the Community Center but also for the water company. Their generators had not been maintained and therefore their customers experienced low water pressure/no water. We have sent a letter to Monarch requesting them to make sure that these generators be serviced and maintained in working condition, especially since we are coming into hurricane season.
A Special Thanks to all those who helped during our storm event!
Chief James Harmon and the entire Ivanhoe Volunteer Fire Department not only were they out there cutting trees away from roads, they volunteered to take shifts, keeping the Community Center open around the clock.
Big Thicket National Park Service
Neighbor, Friend and Constable, Dale Freeman, Karen & Ron Sikora, Gay Lynn & Danny Muzny, James Landry, Lloyd Omsberg, Jana O’Neal, Patsy Sterlise, Tommy, Patsy and Beth Morris, Rowland & Jackie Priddy, Debbie Peterson and of course, C.D. Woodrome!
Judge Blanchette asked us to notify everyone that there will be no assistance for the removal of downed trees. Although there was extensive damage here in Tyler County from the storm, there was not enough to declare a disaster, therefore there will be no assistance from FEMA or any other public entity for the removal of tree debris.
Please be aware that you are responsible for the safe and timely removal of debris on your property.
While burning is allowed in Ivanhoe, be sure that any burning be done safely and under constant supervision. Never leave a fire unattended!!
City Hall Facility Update
A special meeting was called on Saturday, April 23 to meet with Ken Austin, Ivanhoe property owner and builder, and his contractor regarding the proposed build out of the porch at the Community Center. His company had given us the lowest bid for the construction. Mr. Austin agreed to furnish us with a final bid.
Council members Tommy Morris & Chuck Vonderlin along with Mayor Bennett were asked to meet with the representatives of the IPOIA to discuss the terms of the property transfer/sale and report back to Council at the Town Hall Meeting April 28.
At the Town Hall Meeting, by unanimous vote, it was decided that we would move forward with the property transfer, working out the details with the IPOIA and the attorneys.
Any further action will be discussed at the next regular Council Meeting May 19.
Another month gone by and we are into the beginning of summer. Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial beginning of the summer season went very well. The weather was good and Fire Dept. Fish Fry and the Civic Club Bake Sale were both successes.
The recent rains have definitely taken their toll on our community. We have had to have the Timberlakes work crew busy preparing Durwood for the work that is to begin the 13th of June. This of course, has left the everyday pot-hole patching and other road work on hold. The rain is only making the situation worse.
Council decided to do some major work on 28th St, some on 27th, and some on Lakewood. This is to be done by Kirkpatrick Construction. They were to have begun Tuesday, May 31st, after the Memorial Day weekend and with the rain that we are experiencing now through the weekend, they decided to wait until there was at least a week of dry weather predicted.
As of this writing we are under flash flood warnings and there are still concerns about upstream dams.
There will probably be a need to redo some of the prep work that was done on Durwood as a result of the heavy rain and we have had major damage to other roads. The extent of the damage has not yet been determined.
Speaking of roads and roadwork, yet another new FEMA rep came this week and finally PWs (Project Worksheets) were signed and hopefully repairs from damage one year ago will begin shortly. With all of the delays, etc. we have had, we are almost afraid to say they are about to begin.
Coming up in a month is our Second Annual Golf Cart Parade. We will gather at the Community Center at 2:00 and the parade will begin at 2:30. Please bring your registration form all filled out. You can pick them up in the office. That will prevent delays in getting started. We had great fun last year and know that this one will be even bigger and better.
As always, I would like to encourage all off you to participate in our Community Activities. We have a Special City Council Meeting Monday the 6th at 10 AM, and our regular Council Meeting Thursday the 9th at 6:30 PM. Agendas are posted. Saturday the 11th is breakfast and IPOIA meeting. Please join us.
Hope to see you soon.
Cathy Bennett, Mayor
Honorable City Council
City of Ivanhoe, Texas
Members of the City Council:
Here is the link to our Proposed Budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2016 and ending Sept. 30, 2017.
The proposed budget, which is based on the rollback tax rate of .76245, shows an increase in projected income due in part to the recent partial re-appraisal of properties within the City and the decision to implement the rollback rate which is 8% above the effective rate of .70597. The rollback rate is still .05516 less than last year’s rate of .81763.
With the additional cost of having a City Marshal along with the need for special road projects and the increase in material and labor costs, it will provide some of the additional funds necessary to cover the expense.
An estimated $45,000 of unspent funds at the end of FY-2016 will go to fund reserve to cover remaining expenses authorized during FY-2016 and to bridge the gap in ad valorem tax income during the first quarter of FY-2017.
The increase and decrease in line items in the fiscal year 2016 budget.
The line item with the most significant increase is the Street Maintenance ($74,102). This is the line item with the highest cost and with the age of our roads we are seeing the increased cost of maintenance. This will also give us more leeway for our 25% of the cost of the FEMA work which is hopefully going to be happening soon.
Other line items which are increasing significantly are Security and Security Vehicle. We will be hiring a City Marshal and since he will be providing his own vehicle, we will be reimbursing his vehicle expense.
Security and road repair have always been the two main concerns of our citizens and we feel that these increases address these two areas.
The next highest increase was in Code Enforcement and Municipal Court due to the increased activity in this area. Accounting fees have increased due to the anticipation of the additional auditing of our Disaster Relief Fund. Tax collection and appraisal fees have increased to cover increasing costs.
Other line item increases are: public notices in anticipation of increase in number of notices to be published, Telephone to cover the cost of an additional line for the City Marshal office, City Property Maintenance increased by $2,000 to cover the cost of maintaining the Generator, etc., Council and Appointments, and other insignificant increases due to increased costs.
The most significant decrease is in Dams. Since the spillways have been caulked, the most costly expense anticipated for the upcoming year is the re-caulking of the remainder of Charmaine and Galahad dams.
The other line item which will be eliminated is the cost of Civic Center rent due to the property having been deeded to the City.
We will be experiencing a significant increase in our General Sales Tax with the opening of Longhorn Liquor Store.
Review: Our primary goals for fiscal year 2016 were (Note results in parenthesis):
1) Improve our city streets (Major work done on 27th and 28th St)
2) Pursue application for and appointment of City Marshal to enforce our City Ordinances. (Should be done by end of fiscal year)
3) Codify City Ordinances. (In process)
4) Further support our Code Enforcement Program. (Program up and running)
5) Continue to work closely with our County Sheriff and our deputies to improve security in Ivanhoe. (We have had a very healthy working relationship)
6) Study Economic Development and create a Comprehensive Plan based on realistic goals. (We have entered into an agreement with A&M to develop a plan)
7) Do necessary maintenance of our dams. (Work is being done to fill voids)
8) Continue Ivanhoe Clean-up Campaign in order to improve the appearance of our City.
9) Work closely with FEMA on our Disaster Relief Project. (This is ongoing to no fault of our own.)
10) Begin and complete the Durwood CDBG Grant Project. (Finished!)
11) Pursue additional income sources for our city. (We finally have our first business within the City Limits.)
During fiscal year 2017, our primary goals will be to:
1) Continue to pursue additional income sources for our city.
2) Improve our city streets
3) Further support our Code Enforcement Program.
4) Support our City Marshal.
5) Perform necessary maintenance of our dams.
6) Work closely with FEMA on our Disaster Relief Project.
7) Work with the County and Texas A & M to develop a comprehensive plan for our City.
8) Promote our City, not only within the County, at the level of the Chamber and beyond.
Cathy Bennett, Mayor
CITY OF IVANHOE, TEXAS
CIUDAD de IVANHOE, TEXAS
ORDER OF ELECTION FOR MUNICIPALITY
ORDEN DE ELLECCION PARA MUNICIPO
A special election is hereby ordered to be held on November 8, 2016 from 7 AM to 7 PM at the Hillister Baptist Church, FM 1013 East, Hillister, TX. for the purpose of:
Voting “FOR” or “AGAINST”
“The adoption of a local sales and use tax in the City of Ivanhoe at the rate of one and one fourth of one percent (1 ¼%).”
Por la presente se ordena que se llevara a cabo una elelccion el 8, Noviembre, 2016 entre las 7 de la manana y las 7 la tarde, de Hillister Iglesia Baptista, FM 1013 Este, Hillister, TX. con el proposito de:
“La autorizar de impuestos locales sobre la venta y uso en la Ciudad de Ivanhoe a la tasa de uno y un cuarto del uno porciento (1 ¼%).”
Due to the heavy rainfall, Rusty had to open the lake valves to prevent possible flooding. He keeps a close eye on the forecast and is out there in all kinds of weather. THANKS RUSTY!
The needed caulking was done on both Charmaine and Galahad Dams and holes were drilled on Galahad to determine if we had a void. Fortunately, no significant voids were found.
The City of Ivanhoe finally has a City Marshal. By now, probably everyone knows that Terry Riley was sworn in on November 23rd! He will officially be on duty as of the 6th of December. We will be discussing procedure, etc. at our upcoming Council meeting and we will be emailing info and posting it on our website. Congratulations to Terry Riley and to Ivanhoe!
Also sworn in November were our new City Council members, Chuck Vonderlin and Mark Peterson and myself as Mayor. Judge Judith Haney conducted the swearing in.
After the swearing in we unveiled the beautiful sculpture which stands in front of the City Hall. Johnny Harris of Quality Trees donated the gorgeous cedar log and Shirley Henderson, local resident and artist extraordinaire gave her time and talent. Be sure and take a close look at the detail. Thank you Shirley Henderson and Quality Trees!
Next, a huge THANKS goes out to Judge Haney for her guidance and hard work in getting our Municipal Court up and functioning. Now that we have a City Marshal we will definitely be needing our Municipal Court.
Our Tyler County/City of Ivanhoe project with Texas Target Communities Program at Texas A & M for the development of a comprehensive plan is another exciting thing that is happening in our City. We are currently working on a Vision and Goals and Objectives based on that Vision. A progress report on that project will be given by Council Member David Herrington at our upcoming Council Meeting.
Something else that is in the works is the installation of a tower to provide unlimited high-speed internet to our residents. Update on the progress will be provided at Council Meeting.
In conclusion, as we enjoy this wonderful Holiday Season let us give thanks for the many blessings that we have!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!