Questions Still Linger
By Will Johnson
CROCKETT – The city of Crockett is in a quandary over the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC).
Over the last few weeks, a petition was generated to force a vote on the fate of the CEIDC. The Texas Government Code Section 504.351 states 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.”
During the Monday, Aug. 13 meeting of the Crockett City Council, City Administrator John Angerstein said the petition received 373 signatures which was greater than the 10 percent threshold of 361.
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.
Angerstein was contacted on Friday, Aug. 17 and said because the council did not call for the election, the next steps would be external.
“I have heard this has been filed with the district clerk (Carolyn Raines) and I’m sure there are other processes where a judge will call for an election or a suit will be filed against the city calling for an election,” he said.
The city administrator explained this was new ground for all parties involved “… and we will have to rely on the state for a lot on this.”
Monday, Aug. 20 is a deadline for the measure to be put on the ballot, if the city council reversed course.
“If the city council advised me they were ready to pass this and it was on the agenda, council could still pass the resolution and call for the election. To my knowledge, this would take away any actions by the state or if there is a pending suit or court order, we would be able to avoid that,” Angerstein said.
However, he added, the item was not on this Monday’s council agenda and said “… if it goes past the Aug. 20n deadline and falls into the court’s hands, they are not held to the same standards the city of Crockett would be. A judge could call the election a month before, as long as we still have time to order our ballots and go through the process of putting together clerks and election judges.”
Councilman Butch Calvert filed a complaint against the city after the measure was voted down by the council.
“Carolyn Raines called me this morning and stated they had worked with the Secretary of State and I should go there and pay the filing fee.”
“The papers will be printed and picked up today,” he said. “They will be delivered to the city administrator at City Hall either today (Friday, Aug. 17) or Monday, depending on how busy the sheriff’s department is.”
From there, Calvert explained the city will have 20 days to respond.
“After the city responds, we will know more,” Calvert said.
In response to the news the city would be served with the complaint/lawsuit Crockett City Councilmember Marquita Beasley issued the following statement.
“It is just heartbreaking that we are at a time where city officials which include the mayor, city administrator and the city council as well don’t work with their economic development board to come up with solutions for our city,” Beasley stated.
“I’ll be the first to admit,” she continued, “before I was a council member I couldn’t make meetings the way I wanted, due to working strictly the night shift. I’m still in the learning process myself, but I do know that things will get accomplished if everyone was to work together.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org