Commissioners Support Local Events, Deal With Crockett Parking

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – Houston County Commissioners Court met Tuesday, Jan. 9 to deal with personnel issues and to approve use of county funds to promote several upcoming events. The commissioners also voted to set aside funds to make roof repairs at the old bank building, recently acquired by the county and deal with parking overflows on the Crockett square. 

The court reluctantly accepted the retirement letter from Tena Smith from the county tax assessor/collector’s office, thanking Laronica Wooten Smith and the county for her over 16 years in service, but announcing her last day would be Jan. 31. Laronica Smith said Tena Smith was a “wonderful person” the office would miss. 

The court recently closed on the property adjacent to the downtown Crockett county offices, known as the old Sunflower bank building, and set aside $75,000 to repair leaks in the roof so the county can begin the process of relocating some county offices to the new facility. Houston County Judge Jim Lovell reminded the court the county had also acquired the parking areas behind the bank for county employees, although he acknowledged some employees were still parking in open spaces in the Crockett square, which is already at capacity. 

The court addressed county vehicles temporarily parking in unauthorized spaces while going inside to take tools or for other reasons, with Lovell informing the commissioners the county had received complaints from pedestrians who were not able to see around the vehicles and walk safely. Precinct Two Commissioners Willie Kitchen saying county employees should use the parking area the county had paid for and not contribute to an already clogged square. 

“We need to do our part, too,” Kitchen said. 

Lovell informed the court they would soon have a visit from Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein to address parking in downtown, making sure there were plenty of places for county and city employees, and allowing tourists and residents to find parking when visiting downtown Crockett. 

The court approved Latexo High School Sophomore Marisol Tovar as a volunteer at the county attorney’s office until next summer, as the high schooler had requested to work in the office and learn about its operations. The court approved with an impressed Lovell saying, “Good for her!”

The court approved hotel-occupancy-tax (HOT) funds for several upcoming events including the Camp Street Blues Jam Mar. 8-10, Nitty-Gritty Chopper City event at Salmon Lake Park Mar. 22-24 and the Unity in the Community Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Parade set for Jan 15.

In other business, the court approved an advanced funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for updates to railroad crossings on CR 2121 in Latexo and CR 3450 in Lovelady. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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