Paris City Council gets heads-up on dilapidated structures that the city’s Building and Standards Commission wants to come down

 By CHARLES RICHARDS

www.eParisExtra.com

The Paris City Council now gets a report monthly on the status of structures that the code enforcement staff has marked as dilapidated.

Included in the council members’ packet for Thursday night’s meeting, were the following properties that the city’s Building and Standards Commission has given owners of the following properties 30 days to take down:

 

  • 510 E. Neagle SE
  • 1046 6TH St. SE
  • 1036 6th St. SE
  • 840 Hearon St.
  • 1214 W. Kaufman St.
  • 1626 W. Austin St.
  • 1207 Shiloh St.
  • 503 W. Washington St.
  • 501 6th St. NE
  • 1125 Mockingbird
  • 737 14th St. NW

The commission has given the owner of the following property 90 days to have the structure demolished:

  • 505 16th St. NE

The Building and Standards Commission has issued the following orders with respect to properties, mostly in the downtown area, that are alleged to be dilapidated and in need of repair or demolition. Also given is the deadline, and any repair, if any, that has occurred:

  • 260 S. Main: Under an order to turn in a report from a structural engineer by March 28. No compliance to this date.
  • 33 E. Plaza: Ordered to repair awning by March 28. Compliance on April 12.
  • 347 Bonham: Ordered to turn in a report from a structural engineer by March 28. Work now in progress.
  • 365 Bonham St.: Told to replace falling and missing bricks by April 20. Job completed on March 12.
  • 310 Grand St.: Ordered to remove awning by March 28. Compliance noted on March 12.
  • 107 Grand St.: Ordered to repair awning by March 28. No compliance to this date.
  • Old Belk’s Building: Given until March 28 to remove deteriorated portions of awning. Repair completed on March 12.
  • 134 1st St. SW: Given until March 28 to repair and secure structure. Work is in progress.
  • 266-270 1st St. SW: Given until April 12 to submit a plan of repair. Plan submitted.
  • 37 Clarksville St.: Given until March 28 to repair and secure structure. Work in progress.
  • 508 Church St.: Letter sent about garage that a tree had fallen on. Garage was repaired on April 12.

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Minutes of recent meetings of City of Paris boards and commissions:

Here are highlights from various City of Paris commissions minutes that routinely come before the city council and are approved without discussion during the “consent agenda” portion of the meeting:

Airport Advisory Board (Thursday, April 19, 2012):

Status of Airport Improvements: airport director Shawn Napier said Blue Bay construction has started the project at the airport. TxDOT aviation has informed the city that hangar grants are no longer a 75/25 grant match; they are now a 90/10 grant match. To take advantage of these grants, the air side must be completed. Napier will be getting with Sandra Braden to review what is left to complete on the air side so the city can look at applying for grant monies the following year. There will be money left over that can be used for additional repair items, and board members were asked to get a list of such items to Napier or airport manager Jerry Richey.

There was a discussion, but no action, on the findings of a subcommittee regarding an open house/fly-in at the airport.

Airport Manager’s Report: Richey said the taxi ways would be completed for Phase 1 and 2 by late April, and that runway 324 would be closed to allow repair on it. That should take a couple of weeks. Richey also said work was continuing on trying to complete two water leaks, and it was uncertain why those continue. He said if the problem can’t be fixed, “we may want to look into changing contractors.” Napier said the entire pipe could be rusted and might have to be replaced. Dr. Fred Williams asked if the water faucet at the west hangar is working yet; Richey said he would find out and report back.

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Paris Public Library Advisory Board (Wednesday, April 18, 2012):

Under the guidance of chairman Linda Vaniver, the board examined and approved the updated “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” policy and request form.

The budget and statistical reports were presented. It was reported that the budget is on track, with half the funds expended through the first six months of the fiscal year.

The board was told the new public access computer tables have been installed. The young adult collection of fiction, mystery, and science fiction have been separated from the adult collection and are now shelved in the section close to the adult mysteries. The summer reading program starts June 1 at 11 a.m. and will be held on  Tuesdays and Fridays.

Library director Priscilla McAnally said she will ask for some increases in the next budget. Because of the loss of “Loan Star Library Funds,” postage costs will increase. Utility prices are ioncreasing, necessitating increases there. The materials collection is aging, so an additional $20,000 will be requested for that. An additional $4,000 will be requested for repair of building and grounds. An increase also will be requested in order to replace the public copier, which is “quite old.” The total budget request increase anticipated is $29,950.

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Building and Standards Commission (Monday, April 16, 2012):

The committee had a list of structures for possible repair or demolition, but it was discovered that the date for the required listing of the meeting in the newspaper had been listed as Feb. 20, 2012, rather than April 16, 2012. The board asked assistant city attorney John Lestock, who was present at the meeting, if it was legal to take any action during this meeting on the properties, and he said it would not be legal. The committee asked code enforcement supervisor Robert Talley to re-post the properties with the correct date for the next meeting.

Harper Holland was present to update the commission on property owned by We Reit, LLC, at 266-270 1st St. SW, which is a building across the street north from the farmer’s market and the skateboarding park. Holland said the plan is to gut the inside of the building, whose roof has caved in, but leave the outside walls standing. The company has several other projects going on, but will get to this one. In the meantime, the building would be secured so outsiders could not get it. The repair is to come later and will be handled through the city’s permit department.

The commission studied a spreadsheet showing possible substandard structures that have been looked at, along with the progress on them to date.

Talley had pictures of several downtown roof tops. He said city fire marshal Dale Maberry took the photos after a recent rain to show that very little water was standing on the roof tops. Commission chairman Don Wilson wanted to know if Talley was still going to start a systematic check of the downtown buildings. Wilson said he would like to have proof the inspections had begun.

Future agenda items:

1)   All properties listed on this agenda need to be put on the next regularly scheduled meeting.

2)   The committee would like an updated report on how many downtown buildings had been spected and how many were leaking.

3)   A system needs to be established on getting the downtown buildings inspected.

4)   The report needs to state if anyone refused to allow the city onto the property, and what process was taken to get access to the buiding.

5)   5. Cherry Street Manor needs to be on the agenda for the regular May meeting.

Wilson said he wants to put more focus on saving buildings. He said the commission needs to have a backlog of demolitions. Talley said 20 to 30 homes are on the list for demolition, but the city stopped demolishing structures last summer after the state supreme court’s decision in Stewart vs. Dallas. Commission member Johnny Norris asked if there are structures that can be saved. He said if a property is open to the public, it should be taken care of first. Talley said more than 400 structures have been taken down in the past few years. Commission member Zach Saffle asked about the time frame for getting the 20 to 40 dilapidated houses demolished. Talley said demolitions would start again in May, and that depending on the weather up to 25 could be taken down in one month. Saffle said he didn’t want the city to lose focus of getting rid of dilapidated houses. Wilson said downtown structures needed to be evaluated over the next 30 days. Talley told the commission that eventually a process will be formed for downtown businesses.

 

PEDC calls special meeting at Love Civic Center on Tuesday to address final report of the Paris Diversity Initiative

The final report of the Paris Diversity Initiative will be be delivered Tuesday at Love Civic Center at a special meeting of the Paris Economic Development Corporation.

The “Paris Leadership Summit” will begin at 8:30 a.m. and continue until 1 p.m.

In a statement, the PEDC said the Paris Diversity Initiative will give its final report and address the issues and opportunities identified in the report.

 

Gilbert to address Paris City Council tonight on PEDC’s accomplishments over past 17 years

Paris Economic Development Corporation executive director Steve Gilbert (right) will make a report at tonight’s Paris City Council meeting on the PEDC’s accomplishments over the past 17 years. Also in the picture are assistant executive director Shannon Barrentine and PEDC president Pike Burkhart. (www.eParisExtra.com Photo by Charles Richards)

By CHARLES RICHARDS

www.eParisExtra.com

Steve Gilbert, executive director of the Paris Economic Development Corp., will appear before the Paris City Council tonight to give “more than a rebuttal” to Mayor AJ Hashmi’s criticism in April of the PEDC’s accomplishments.

R3bi director Fred Green

Fred Green, director of the Red River Region Business Incubator (R3bi), who frequently sits in on PEDC meetings, sent out an e-mail inviting businessmen and other community leaders to be at tonight’s presentation of the PEDC’s activities and accomplishments since 1995.

“This is more than a rebuttal of the mayor’s statements,” Green said in the email. “It is a complete analysis of the PEDC from someone who has only been there for two of the 17 years and has looked objectively at the history. Hope to see you there.”

The PEDC posted a notice saying a quorum of the board’s five members could be at tonight’s meeting.

Gilbert’s presentation is scheduled as item No. 18 on a 34-item agenda, but the first nine items generally take only a few minutes.

However, one of the early items is reception and deliberation on reports and/or minutes from various boards, commissions, and committees – one of which is the PEDC’s minutes of April 26, pertaining to a meeting the mayor attended.

The minutes reflect that the board convened into executive session at 3:01 p.m. and came out at 3:31 p.m., adding: “There was no action as a result of executive session discussion.”

Mayor AJ Hashmi

Hashmi says he brought an economic development matter before the PEDC during that executive session, on which a consensus was indeed reached.

Hashmi said he would point out that the action in executive session should have been ratified in open session as required by the Texas Open Meetings Act.

At the city council’s April 9 meeting, in a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation, Hashmi said the PEDC hasn’t shown much of a return on the quarter-cent sales tax that funds it. He asked what the PEDC had accomplished with the $17 million in revenues since 1993.

“Looking at our success rate of jobs vs. dollars spent, we fall very short. We need to re-look and decide if the present PEDC way of doing business is the best way. So far, we really have not done a great job at what the PEDC came into existence for,” Hashmi said.

“I do not know what is the best solution,” the mayor said. “I just know the PEDC has not achieved all of its goals as initially set. My recommendation is to seriously look into the viability of this organization as a source of spending tax dollars that belong to the residents.”

Hashmi said a member of the PEDC board told him the PEDC “does not trust the city.”

Gilbert — along with PEDC members Bruce Carr and Doug Wehrman and assistant executive director Shannon Barrentine — attended that meeting. Gilbert declined comment that night, telling the council he would respond with a presentation at a later meeting.

That response will come tonight.

Bruce Carr

Using words like “ignorance” and “arrogance,” PEDC president Pike Burkhart fired back at Hashmi at the PEDC’s meeting the next day.

“Beware of the well-intentioned, but misguided, economic development ideas of Mayor Hashmi and his back seat economic advisor ‘experts’ who are giving him poor and divisive advice,” Burkhart said.

“There is a reason why the community wisely separated the economic development responsibilities from the direct supervision of the mayor and city manager. Mayor Hashmi’s economic development ‘plans’ are a perfect example why,” Burkhart said.

Burkhart went on:

“Mayor Hashmi is a bright physician, but he is no guru of economic development. The economic development ideas he posited last night at the City Council meeting show his ignorance of economic development, his lack of respect for the hard work of the community in putting together the first PEDC Sustainable Strategic Plan and his arrogance in not participating in the plan’s formation.”

 

Doug Wehrman

Wehrman and Carr immediately distanced themselves from Burkhart’s remarks.

Wehrman said he admired Burkhart’s opinion, but didn’t necessarily agree with the statement toward the mayor.

While he said he found some of the mayor’s comments “irritating,” Wehrman said everyone will have to work together to benefit Paris. He added that the PEDC hasn’t gotten credit for retaining jobs that might have gone elsewhere without local efforts.

Wehrman said the PEDC wants to work with the city council to further industry recruitment and retention for the betterment of the community.

“No one cares for Paris more than Pike Burkhart,” Carr said at the meeting. “I respect his opinion and his feelings, but I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions.”

Regarding Burkhart’s comments, Hashmi said he appreciated the PEDC president’s response.

“The purpose of my presentation was to excite them, so they work hard. I think even just the response is good enough to know these people are thinking hard about it. “

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Three local contested races will be on the November ballot in Lamar County — county commissioner for Precinct 1 and Constables for Precincts 1 and 3

By CHARLES RICHARDS

eParisExtra.com

The 2012 General Election will feature three LOCAL contested races — county commissioner of Precinct 1, constable of Precinct 1, and constable of Precinct 3.

Incumbent Lawrence Malone defeated Dennis Johnson for the Republican nomination for county commissioner of Precinct 1. Running unopposed on the Democratic ballot was Cody Jones.

For constable of Precinct 1, Madaline Chance won the Republican nomination over former Precinct 1 constable Randy Boren. Rodney Smith was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

For constable of Precinct 3, Larry Cope avoided a runoff by getting more than half the votes against Republican opponents Steven C. Hill and Sam Hurst. But in November, Cope will face Chad Frazier, who ran unopposed as a Democrat.

Tuesday’s election ran smoothly, thanks in large part to state-of-the-art electronic voting under the direction of Lamar County elections administrator Russ Towers. Results from the early vote were released immediately upon the closing of polls at 7 p.m., and results from Tuesday’s voting followed efficiently through the evening.

Here is a wrap-up of the Lamar County voting on Tuesday, May 29, 2012:

CONTEST NAME TOTAL PERCENT
Presidential – REP Rick Santorum 600 8.85 %
Presidential – REP Newt Gingrich 364 5.37 %
Presidential – REP Charles Buddy” Roemer” 30 0.44 %
Presidential – REP Ron Paul 662 9.77 %
Presidential – REP Jon Huntsman 25 0.37 %
Presidential – REP Michele Bachmann 48 0.71 %
Presidential – REP Mitt Romney 4,523 66.74 %
Presidential – REP John Davis 33 0.49 %
Presidential – REP Uncommitted 492 7.26 %
Presidential – DEM Barack Obama 499 82.62 %
Presidential – DEM Bob Ely 27 4.47 %
Presidential – DEM John Wolfe 41 6.79 %
Presidential – DEM Darcy G. Richardson 37 6.13 %
United States Senator – REP David Dewhurst 3,432 53.09 %
United States Senator – REP Ted Cruz 1,306 20.2 %
United States Senator – REP Ben Gambini 79 1.22 %
United States Senator – REP Lela Pittenger 85 1.31 %
United States Senator – REP Tom Leppert 1,127 17.44 %
United States Senator – REP Curt Cleaver 31 0.48 %
United States Senator – REP Glenn Addison 61 0.94 %
United States Senator – REP Craig James 314 4.86 %
United States Senator – REP Joe Agris 29 0.45 %
United States Senator – DEM Addie Dainell Allen 111 19.44 %
United States Senator – DEM Sean Hubbard 88 15.41 %
United States Senator – DEM Paul Sadler 257 45.01 %
United States Senator – DEM Grady Yarbrough 115 20.14 %
US Representative, District 4 Ralph M. Hall 4,025 61.17 %
US Representative, District 4 Steve Clark 1,300 19.76 %
US Representative, District 4 Lou Gigliotti 1,255 19.07 %
Railroad Commissioner – REP Warren Chisum 1,445 27.11 %
Railroad Commissioner – REP Beryl Burgess 346 6.49 %
Railroad Commissioner – REP Becky Berger 834 15.65 %
Railroad Commissioner – REP Christi Craddick 1,790 33.58 %
Railroad Commissioner – REP Roland Sledge 361 6.77 %
Railroad Commissioner – REP Joe Cotten 554 10.39 %
Railroad Commissioner – DEM Dale Henry 535 100 %
Railroad Commissioner,   Unexpired – REP Greg Parker 2,419 47.46 %
Railroad Commissioner,   Unexpired – REP Elizabeth Murray-Kolb 1,054 20.68 %
Railroad Commissioner,   Unexpired – REP Barry Smitherman 1,315 25.8 %
Railroad Commissioner,   Unexpired – REP Al Lee 309 6.06 %
Justice, Supreme Court, Place   2 – REP Don Willett 3,024 59.04 %
Justice, Supreme Court, Place   2 – REP Steve Smith 2,098 40.96 %
Justice, Supreme Court, Place   4 – REP Joe Pool, Jr. 2,531 49.81 %
Justice, Supreme Court, Place   4 – REP David Medina 1,729 34.03 %
Justice, Supreme Court, Place   4 – REP John Devine 821 16.16 %
Justice, Supreme Court, Place   6 – REP Nathan Hecht 4,516 100 %
Justice, Supreme Court, Place   6 – DEM Michele Petty 518 100 %
Presiding Judge, CT Crim. Appeals – DEM Keith Hampton 526 100 %
Presiding Judge, CT Crim.   Appeals – REP Sharon  Keller 4,535 100 %
Judge, Ct Crim. Appeals, Pl 7   – REP Barbara Parker Hervey 4,442 100 %
Judge, Ct Crim. Appeals, Pl 8   – REP Elsa Alcala 4,322 100 %
Member, State BoE, District 9   – REP Randy Stevenson 2,208 41.26 %
Member, State BoE, District 9   – REP Thomas Ratliff 3,144 58.74 %
State Senator, District 1 –   REP Kevin P. Eltife 4,919 100 %
State Senator, District 1 –   DEM Stephen H. Russell 523 100 %
State Representative, District   1 – REP George Lavender 4,443 100 %
Justice, 6th CT of Appeals   DIST, P2 – REP Bailey C. Moseley 2,740 55.73 %
Justice, 6th CT of Appeals   DIST, P2 – REP H.D. Bailey 2,177 44.27 %
Justice, 6th CT of Appeals   DIST, P2 – DEM Frank L. Supercinski 507 100 %
District Judge, 6th Judicial   District – REP Eric S. Clifford 5,061 100 %
District Judge, 62nd Judicial District – REP Will Biard 4,437 63.97 %
District Judge, 62nd Judicial   District – REP Erwin Cain 2,499 36.03 %
County Attorney – REP Gary Young 5,275 100 %
Sheriff – REP Scott Cass 4,341 61.49 %
Sheriff – REP Robert Hughes 203 2.88 %
Sheriff – REP John W. Johnny” Williams” 2,516 35.64 %
County Tax Assessor-Collector   – REP Haskell Maroney 5,129 100 %
County Commissioner,   Precinct  1 – REP Lawrence Malone 1,117 68.65 %
County Commissioner,   Precinct  1 – REP Dennis P. Johnson 510 31.35 %
County Commissioner, Precinct   1 – DEM Cody Jones 98 100 %
County Commissioner, Precinct   3 – REP Kevin Jenkins 926 45.19 %
County Commissioner, Precinct   3 – REP Rodney Pollard 1,123 54.81 %
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5, Pl. 1 – REP Cindy Cooper Ruthart 2,149 68.44 %
Justice of the Peace, Precinct   5, Pl. 1 – REP Jesse James Freelen 991 31.56 %
Constable, Precinct 1 – REP Randy Boren 489 49.29 %
Constable, Precinct 1 – REP Madaline Chance 503 50.71 %
Constable, Precinct. 1 – DEM Rodney Smith 27 100
Constable, Precinct 2 – REP Vance Boehler 325 100 %
Constable, Precinct 3 – REP Larry Cope 753 59.53 %
Constable, Precinct 3 – REP Steven C. Hill 379 29.96 %
Constable, Precinct 3 – REP Sam Hurst 133 10.51 %
Constable, Precinct 3 – DEM Chad Frazier 43 100 %
Constable, Precinct No. 4 –   REP Richard E. Rick” Easterwood” 721 100 %
Constable, Precinct  5 – REP Jimmy Hodges 1,129 40.26 %
Constable, Precinct  5 – REP Gene C. Hobbs, Jr. 1,675 59.74 %
County Chairman – REP John Kruntorad 4,672 100 %
County Chairman – DEM Mike Mosher 215 35.07 %
County Chairman – DEM Brady Fisher 398 64.93 %
SCHOOL CHOICE – REP YES 5,343 81.77 %
SCHOOL CHOICE – REP NO 1,191 18.23 %
REPEALING OBAMACARE – REP YES 6,075 91.04 %
REPEALING OBAMACARE – REP NO 598 8.96 %
PUBLIC PRAYER – REP YES 6,231 91.46 %
PUBLIC PRAYER – REP NO 582 8.54 %
BALANCED BUDGET – REP YES 6,231 94.47 %
BALANCED BUDGET – REP NO 365 5.53 %
REDISTRICTING – REP YES 4,620 75.64 %
REDISTRICTING – REP NO 1,488 24.36 %
LOWER TUITION W/3 YRS   RESIDENCE – DEM FOR 524 86.75 %
LOWER TUITION W/3 YRS   RESIDENCE – DEM AGAINST 80 13.25 %
AFFORDABLE TUITION – DEM FOR 549 91.81 %
AFFORDABLE TUITION – DEM AGAINST 49 8.19 %
LEGALIZE CASINOS – DEM FOR 415 69.28 %
LEGALIZE CASINOS – DEM AGAINST 184 30.72 %