The Palestine City Council met on Monday, September 12, and approved a request to amend the current contract with the Anderson County Humane Society to increase the city’s annual contribution by $10,000 to support operating costs.
Humane Society Treasurer Brenda Beazley addressed the council to explain the current status of the animal shelter.
“The problems we face are no different than anyone else’s,” Beazley said. “Spending has increased. The cost of food is astronomical and we have staff costs. The way our expenses exceeded, we had to lay off two employees because we just can’t afford to keep the payroll where it was.
Beazley went on to explain that the COVID shutdown had prevented the shelter from holding its regular fundraising events, which severely limited revenue.
Police Chief Mark Harcrow highlighted the importance of the Humane Society shelter to the city.
“I haven’t seen their financials, but I’ll tell you it’s very important to us that they can operate,” Harcrow said. “We can’t do it without them. I can only imagine what it would cost if the city created its own shelter. It would be astronomical.
After some discussion, the board voted unanimously to increase the shelter’s annual funding from the Humane Society, bringing the total to $35,000.
In other business, the board approved resolutions for the 2022 PEDC Downtown Grant Awards for 201 W. Oak, Andrew Warner, At Home Furnishings LLC, in the amount of $3,000, and 213 W. Crawford, The Historic Texas Theater in the amount of $9,718. .
City Manager Teresa Herrera said the grant for At Home Furnishings was to improve the building’s signage, while the Texas Theater would replace the awning on the facade of the historic building.
Other agenda items approved by the board include:
• consent agenda items,
• authorization from the Municipal Manager to execute an airport land lease for Hangar 31 of the Palestine Municipal Airport,
• and brand new playground equipment at Larry Street Park.
The council also discussed an ordinance amending the Palestine City Ordinance Code. The amendment affected Chapter 98, Utilities, Article III Rates and Charges. This involved amending Section 98-90 Water Rates, Section 98-91 Wastewater Charges, Section 98-93 Solid Waste Collection Fees, and Section 98-94 Disconnection of service for nonpaid providing an escape clause; include a severance clause; and provide an effective date.
After extensive discussion, the board approved the amendment to Section 98-93, Solid Waste Collection Fees, and tabled the remainder of the proposed amendments for further discussion.