Officials Recuse Themselves from CEIDC Legal Matters 

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – Despite the ongoing debate about whether to dissolve the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC), the Crockett City Council took up the matter of the organization’s budget for fiscal year 2019 during a meeting of the council held on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

CEIDC Executive Director James Gentry addressed the council and said the council members had a copy of the 2018-2019 draft budget in front of them.

“We are projecting $501,200.16 which is down by 9.5 percent from the previous year but – at the same time – we are 10 percent above what I projected the budget would be for this year. The overall draft of the budget you have, I’ll be presenting to the (CEIDC) board this Thursday (Sept. 13). It reflects roughly a flat budget projection but maybe a one percent increase over last year’s budget,” Gentry said.

“There are a few developments going on,” Gentry continued, “which may impact on this number that I’ll be presenting to the board but as soon as we are able to approve the final budget, I’ll be bringing that before you for final approval.”

The draft budget is projecting a total income of $1,285,000 while total expenses are projected to be $1,188,500 – a difference of $96,500.

A petition was recently circulated to have a measure placed on the November ballot to in an attempt to dissolve the CEIDC. The petition required 361 signatures (10 percent of Crockett’s registered voters) to be placed on the ballot. It received 373.

According to the Texas Government Code, Section 504.351 if 10 percent or more of voters in a municipality sign the petition “… the governing body of the municipality shall order an election on the issue.”

Rather than agree to place the referendum on the ballot, the council failed to pass the measure when a motion to do so died for lack of a second.

As a result, Precinct One Councilman Butch Calvert sued the city of Crockett to have the referendum placed on the ballot.

On Thursday, Sept.13, Calvert confirmed 349thDistrict Court Judge Pam Foster Fletcher and 3rd District Court Judge Mark Calhoon have recused themselves from the legal proceedings. The councilman will be represented by Crockett attorney Lynn Markham.

Also on Thursday, Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein confirmed Crockett City Attorney Bill Pemberton had recused himself, as well. Counsel for the city has not been publicly released as of press time.

The trial, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. will be presided over by 2nd District Court Judge Dwight L. Phifer.

On that same Monday, the Crockett City Council will meet in a called meeting at 1 p.m.

In other matters brought before the council on Sept. 11:

  • Crockett Police Chief David “Buddy” Cross reported the police department received 394 calls for service during the month of August which resulted in 38 arrests. There were 34 traffic citations issued and 102 police reports filed.
  • Crockett Fire Chief Jason Frizzell reported the fire department responded to 78 calls during the month of August. Fifty-five of the calls were in the city limits while 23 were in the county.
  • A resolution and agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TX DOT) for street closures during Christmas in Crockett was approved.
  • A resolution authorizing the submission of a Texas Community Development Block Grant (TCDBG) application to the Texas Department of Agriculture for the Community Enhancement Fund was approved.
  • A citizen participation plan and citizen complaint procedures during the implementation of TCDBG program projects were adopted by the council.
  • An application to the 2018 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Small Community Grant program was approved.
  • The minutes of previous meetings were approved.
  • A reception for first responders in commemoration of the anniversary of 9/11 was held at City Hall after the meeting.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.