Crockett Welcomes Ivey to Council, Fisher to Another Term
By Greg Ritchie
CROCKETT – The Crockett city council met to canvass votes and make the recent election tallies official as a packed room of local residents left many standing outside before the nearly two hour meeting. The council was also set to discuss redistricting some of the precincts and approve a resolution for the city to become “film friendly” to attract studios to film movies and television programs in and around Crockett.
The council members opened the meeting and went over the votes from the recent elections and satisfied they were correct, swore Crockett Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher to a new term. Dennis Ivey was sworn in as councilman for precinct one, with a moment to thank Gene Caldwell for his service and retire his name from the council. Darrell Jones was sworn in to precinct two and the council took their places and got down to the other business at hand.
There was a proposal to engage the services of the Powell Law Group to assist the city in redistricting the precincts to match the changes recently made by Crockett Independent School District. (CISD) This stems from a lawsuit where both CISD and the City of Crockett were forced by the federal government to create voting districts where some were minority-majority and the school’s voting districts must match the city’s in order to reduce voter confusion.
City Administrator John Angerstein told the board CISD has changed their districts to keep in line with the mandates and with the help of the Powell group, but without consulting first with the city. Since CISD had no contested races this time, the city decided to leave the precincts as they were, as the elections were just around the corner.
With the 2020 census information delayed after the pandemic, Angerstein told the council the city has no choice and must adjust their precincts and they must match CISD. He told the council he proposed using the same law firm the school district used since they had already done the work and the study. Acknowledging CISD precincts may also need to change, Mayor Fisher pointed out the city’s precincts only covered Crockett, whereas the school district covered areas outside of the city.
Councilman Ernest Jackson wondered aloud why CISD had not consulted the city beforehand, to which all agreed this would have been best, but due to an oversight, this was not done. Jackson made a motion to approve the proposal, then voted against his motion along with Jones and Councilwoman Marquita Beasley. The mayor, seemingly sensing there was some confusion, asked to confirm the vote, which was the same. Telling the board the city did not have much choice in the matter, Jackson proposed a meeting with CISD before they decided, with the mayor pointing out CISD would probably have to change their voting areas, too, but it was decided to organize a meeting with the schools before deciding on the proposal.
Liza Clark, Executive Director of the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce, presented a proposal to the council to make Crockett “Film Friendly” which would entail inviting studios to think of Crockett as an option for filming television shows and films. She pointed out many other cities in Texas have already implementing the program, where locals are often employed in many aspects of productions, local businesses benefit from an influx of people and even tourism can be helped if people want to come and see where a particular scene was filmed. Clark pointed out studios need all types of locations – picturesque, rural, under-developed and historical – noting several films have been made about Crockett, but filmed elsewhere. The board approved this unanimously.
The council approved $154,000 to make repairs to the city water well at College Hill whose pump failed recently. The pump had held since the 1990’s but had stopped working properly filling the well with debris that must be cleaned out. The work would involve replacing the pump, cleaning the well, removing debris and relining the pump. Angerstein told the council the well provides about 1,500 gallons per minute which could not be replaced for long and the council approved spending the money.
In other business:
- The council approved the renewal of civil rights policies for the city, including fair housing and excessive force policies
- A board of directors was nominated to serve on the “Keep Crockett Beautiful” board
- Invoices from CEIDC (Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation) were approved for payment
- Munsinger was hired to mow the CEIDC properties
- Dates for creating the 2023-2024 city budget were established
- Crockett Police Chief Clayton Smith reported during the month of April CPD had 15 officers, responded to 506 calls, made 48 arrests and worked 6 traffic accidents.
- Crockett Fire Chief Jason Frizzell reported on behalf of CFD for April there were 42 calls received, with one structure fire, one vehicle fire, seven vehicle fires and one vehicle incident including an extraction, among other calls in and around the city.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]