By BOB PALMER
A point of order derailed a train aimed at removing Kevin Huckabee as City Administrator, but it was not the legal argument Huckabee repeatedly cited during Tuesday’s Jefferson City Council meeting.
Following an executive session, Mayor Bubba Haggard announced no action would be taken concerning a citizen petition calling for the removal of Huckabee as city administrator.
Click here to see copy of petition with all 216 signatures:
Citizen Petition to Jefferson City Council
Alderman Victor Perot explained the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting was not specific enough to let the public know what the council may do following the executive session.
Haggard said any action would be taken at the next council meeting, Sept. 4.
Jim McIntosh presented the petition which he said contained 216 signatures calling for the “immediate’ firing of Huckabee.
►Watch citizens of Jefferson present petition to the Jefferson City Council:
Huckabee objected to much of McIntosh’s remarks citing his right under Texas government code to have complaints against him heard behind closed doors.
McIntosh said his view of Jefferson changed on the night of the municipal election “when I saw city administrator Kevin Huckabee go after somebody, I didn’t really know, and his daughter.”
“Mr. Mayor, point of order,” Huckabee objected, citing Sect. 551 of the Texas government code.
City Attorney Mike Martin confirmed Huckabee’s right to have grievances against public employees heard in private.
McIntosh said he was only attempting to offer background to the petition he had a right to present.
Finally, McIntosh asked for permission to read the petition.
“Read the petition,” Mayor Haggard ordered.
“Point of order,” Huckabee enjoined.
“Read the petition,” Haggard who has been accused by Huckabee of violating voting laws said again.
A motion by Alderman Victor Perot to accept McIntosh’s petition carried 3-1-1.
“We believe the current political environment within Jefferson, Texas, as created by Kevin Huckabee, is detrimental to the future economic viability of our city,” the petition stated.
Signees asked the council to take immediate action to rectify the “adversarial environment.”
After promising to hold the council accountable, the petition called for an audit of city finances and the immediate removal of Huckabee.
►Watch Mayor Haggard announced delayed action and Alderman Perot provide explanation:
Aldermen heard from two speakers seeking additional funding in the city’s 2018-2019 budget.
Elmer Jackson, president of Marion County Community Center asked for a revenue increase from the city.
“We have a budget of $3,000 but spent over $12,000,” Jackson said. “Most of it came out of our pockets.”
Jackson also thanked the city for the center’s new roof.
“Other things need to be addressed such as the floor, air conditioning and plumbing,” Jackson said.
Caroline Wedding with Dixie Humane Society reported the costs have increased because of the number of animals being served.
“We have almost 30 puppies,” Wedding said. By strays off Jefferson streets and spaying donated puppies, Wedding claimed, “We’re stopping the problem before it gets any more out of hand.”
Wedding said $13,000 is required to get a steel building “in the dry” that could house the animals.
Huckabee said the proposed budget included a .445-cents tax rate, the same as last year.
“There is a $24,000 contingency fund,” Huckabee said.
Alderman Jim Finstrom urged that $7,000 of the reserve be allocated to the Community Center, bringing its budget to $10,000.
Alderman David Westbrook noted the addition of $3,500 to the Dixie Animal Shelter’s $10,000 line item would allow the shelter to be built.
Huckabee also noted repairs to the gazebo in Lions Club Park were a priority.
Huckabee admitted the city could go with a zero-contingency fund.
“Everyone will have to be tight on their budget,” Huckabee said.
The council set Sept. 4 at 5:30 for its first budget hearing and the second budget hearing and approval for Sept. 18.
Two speakers expressed dissatisfaction with recent city action concerning their streets during the public comment time at the start of the council meeting.
Tyrani Braddock said she had received a letter from the city claiming Titus Street was being taken into the city.
In addition to an ongoing dispute over a driveway, Braddock said city property taxes have now been added to her cost.
“I hope the city of Jefferson will not use my taxes to benefit a city councilman,” Braddock said. “This letter has you accepting the ownership of Titus Street for the benefit of a city councilman. That is illegal, and you know it.”
Alderman Shawn Humphrey lives across Titus Street from Braddock.
Tyler Owens objected to Pecan Way being removed from the list of streets included in this year’s paving program.
At the July 29 meeting, Alderman Finstrom said he could not find where Pecan Way had been accepted as a city street.
Owens claimed Haggard was mayor in 1993 when the street was accepted.
Mayor Haggard asked the council to determine the hours of the Tourism Building, complaining of a $1,200 electricity bill there.
Tourism Board Chairman Tony Jones said the interior offices were locked after business hours, but lobby and restrooms remained open.
“The reason we leave the restrooms open is we have campers who use the showers,” Jones explained.
The council voted to continue the present policy.
Doug Thompson called on the city to let the Chamber of Commerce know if there are problems with the new lights on the train trestle.
Note: An earlier version of the story was posted online August 21, 2018.
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