Election deadline nearing

City Council will meet for Monday in regular session at City Hall.

Nearly 100 residents were cut-off from the city water supply last week, with some arguing they hadn't received any notice prior to the disconnect.

Monday's City Council work-session, beginning at 3:30 p.m., will include discussions on utility billing in the city. The council's regular session includes council's votes on the rezoning of residential properties to accommodate retail businesses.

Water bills for December were unexpectedly high, after a computer outage in the city's billing department prevented crews from checking water meters. With no accurate billing available, residents didn't know they were in arrears while they continued to receive water.

Mayor Steve Presley, and District 2 Councilman Mitchell Jordan told the Herald-Press last week an ongoing lack of communication between the city and its residents was partly to blame for the problem.

District 5 Council-member Dana Goolsby took to social media to help residents who had received unusually high bills, or had lost water entirely.

Goolsby agreed lack of communication was a problem.

“I believe communication on the part of the city would have detoured a lot of this,” she said.

City trash pick-up, which is billed monthly with water, changes this month from a twice-a-week pick-up to once. That change also will be discussed during the work-session.

Curbside recycling in the city has stopped; residents must use vendor-supplied, 96-gallon cans for their trash, rather than leaving bags on the curb.

Residents will save nearly $5 a month on trash collection, with monthly bills dropping from $19.64 to $14.85.

Council-members also will vote on whether to rezone properties at Ben Milam Road and West Oak Street from residential to commercial.

The West Oak Street property is zoned for mobile homes. Developers have requested the change to commercial/light-industrial to build a CEFCO gas station and convenience store.

Based in Temple, Texas, CEFOCO operates nearly 250 stores in six states.

Local developer Randy Shaver has requested the zone change at Ben Milam road to build a retail shopping center on the site.

Palestine's Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved both zoning changes.

Last week the commission unanimously denied developers' requests to rezone properties on South Loop 256 from residential to commercial, because of the negative impact the businesses would have on the adjoining residential neighborhoods.

In closed session, council-members, along with City Manager Leslie Cloer, and interim City Attorney Jeff Herrington, will discuss two of the court cases facing the city: Union Pacific Railroad's suit to invalidate its contract with Palestine, and Michael Ivy's American with Disabilities Act suit, stemming from the Palestine Athletic Complex's non-compliance with ADA standards.

Work session begins at 3:30 p.m., and the regular council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. Both are in council chambers at City Hall and are open to the public.

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