Crockett Council Works on Support for First Responders

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT –  The Crockett City Council held a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Sep.5 to deal with city budgets, changes to liquor laws and trying to find funds to support local police and fire services. 

In the public comments portion, former city councilman Gene Caldwell addressed councilman Darrell Jones (who was absent) about allegations Jones verbally assaulted Caldwell’s wife after the previous council meeting. The two men were often at odds with each other when serving together on the council, then ran against each other for the position of Precinct Two. 

Gene Caldwell addressed the city council.

The Messenger reported on the reports of heated exchanges outside city hall after the previous meeting. Caldwell called on Jones to resign after his supposed harsh comments to Caldwell’s wife, saying if Jones did not resign, Caldwell would take the matter up with the Crockett Police Department. (CPD) Another citizen claimed to have also heard the comments. Jones, contacted by The Messenger, denied the allegations. 

The city had previously voted to pass on a 3% increase in trash disposal costs. The council needed to uphold this vote as their pending budget was built with this increase being paid by the city residents and the motion was approved. 

Crockett Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher was nominated to serve another year as the city’s representative to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) which was also approved. 

The city received two sealed bids from vendors looking to sell the city the gasoline and diesel fuel the city uses each year. Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein told the council the city spends about $185,000 a year on fuel between city vehicles, mowers and all other vehicles. For cost reasons and for some of the extra services provided, Angerstein recommended the city continue to support a local business, Crockett Farm and Fuel who won the bid to continue to provide the city’s fuel. 

The council addresses city ordinance 13-1 and 13-2, amending them to allow hotels and private clubs to provide mixed beverages to customers. during extended hours, until 2 a.m. The state is who regulates the licensing and rules, but the city wanted to be aligned with state regulations. CPD Chief Clayton Smith spoke in favor of the ordinances from the standpoint of law enforcement, saying it would be beneficial to have the state and local laws to be in line. The council approved both amendments. 

Decisions regarding Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation were approved by the city council. The Messenger will include a full report on the latest developments regarding CEIDC and threatened legal actions in our Sunday edition. 

Crockett Fire Department (CFD) Chief Jason Frizzell informed the council the CFD ladder truck will need as much as $100,000 to refurbish the vehicle, noting it has been in service aready 20 years. To replace the truck brand new would cost $1.3 million. Frizzell said it would be taxpayer money well spent to get an estimate to fully refurbish the truck, which might make it last another 20 or more years. A refurbishment could cost as much as $700,000, depending on an inspection of what would need to be repaired. 

Councilman Jackson told the council the city will need this equipment more and more as time goes on, with Dennis Ivey pointing out the cost of the refurbishment over the number of extra years the city could get out of the vehicle would be a small price to pay. The council voted to give Frizzell authorization to seek proposals for a refurbishment. 

CPD Chief Clayton Smith gave an update on some of the vehicles already approved and purchased which continue on backorder. Smith gave the council an honest and raw update. 

“We spend more time in the shop than in the street,” Smith said. “One particular unit within a 14-day period drove 252 hours. That’s over 18 hours a day. The vehicles we have that are running are not getting much rest.”

Smith asked the council to be able to find costs to purchase two more vehicles and having city mechanics “kit” the vehicles to be ready for service, thereby saving the city money. The council approved unanimously. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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