Commissioners Make Big Declarations for April

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – Houston County Commissioners Court met Tuesday, Mar. 26 to make several proclamations for the month of April and responded to taxpayer questions about county monies used for road repairs. 

The court was joined by representatives of Family Crisis Center of East Texas (FCCET) along with Executive Director Whitney Burran, as the commissioners approved a proclamation declaring April, “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.” 

Burran thanked commissioners for the declaration and invited the public to attend their “Come and Go” breakfast event Wednesday, Apr. 17 at their Crockett Outreach Center, located at 1512 E. Loop 304, Building 200, from 8-10 a.m.

Burran noted around 1,700 victims are serviced in Houston County. The commissioners said this number seemed large and asked if this was normal for a county like ours. Burran answered the large number was a testament to the great working relationship they have with law enforcement and judicial offices in the county, whom she thanked for their cooperation and, “dedication to protecting victims.”

Precinct Two Commissioner Willie Kitchen told the court he was contacted by a large landowner in his precinct asking about road improvement and mentioning the high taxes paid to the county. Kitchen pointed out he looked into not only this specific taxpayer’s situation, but to the taxes paid in general by property owners in the county. He noted many people confuse the amount paid to other entities, such as school districts, with the tax going to the county. 

Houston County Judge Jim Lovell pointed out the county only imposes a 16% tax, while funding 17-18 different departments. Twelve percent of the county is Davy Crockett National Forest, for which the county receives no property tax, at all. 

Precinct Three Commissioner Gene Stokes noted the rising inflation is affecting all aspects of county business, although they are working with the same budget for county activities. Kitchen agreed, saying the county operates more, with much less, than many federal, state or local entities, and could be an example for them to follow. 

April was further designated as, “Fair Housing Month” and “County Government Month,” as the date for the county picnic was set for Friday, April 26. 

In other business, commissioners approved use of hotel occupancy tax (HOT) funds for Piney Woods Fine Arts Association for the “Blackhawk” concert set for Saturday, Apr. 13 at Crockett Civic Center. 

April was also designated as, “Child Awareness Month,” as requested by the Houston County Child Welfare Fund, with Friday, Apr. 5 set for the flag raising ceremony at the steps of the Houston County Courthouse in downtown Crockett.  

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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