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Lowe lays down law on citizens’ requests

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Ellis County Press
WILMER - Tonight when the Wilmer City Council meets at the community center behind the police station citizens must be listed on the agenda to speak and they will be limited to three minutes, according to Mayor Eugene Lowe.

During the last regular session, May 4, an item considering amending citizens' requests was approved, 4-1. Council member Virginia Arroyo cast the lone dissenting vote.

Arroyo represents an opposing group, including candidates who were defeated in the recent city elections.

As stated on the previous meeting's agenda, citizens' names and subjects requested must be placed on the agenda prior to the regular agenda deadline.

Each will be limited to a three-minute timetable.

By state law, council members will be permitted to respond to citizens' comments, but they will not be required to do so.

Arroyo and a citizen, Ann Hester, said citizens had been denied requests to be placed on the agenda in the past and they felt the same would occur in the future.

'I guarantee you'll be on the agenda,' Lowe said.

Prior to the discussion and passage of the citizens' request issue at the last meeting, citizens got to have their say during a public hearing concerning the Community Development Block Grant Program.

According to the council, the grant program provides funding from Dallas County to cities to be used for improvements.

The amount allotted for Wilmer was said to be approximately $166,000 with additional $50,000 left over to be put back into the fund.

A citizen, Ben Pena suggested beautifying the entrance to the city from Interstate 45.

'That's state highway or right-of-way,' Lowe said.

The mayor said he had never asked the Texas Department of Transportation about doing such.

'We got stop signs [at the same location] because I requested them,' he said.

'We're waiting on bids to do Dallas Avenue,' City Secretary Crystol Birdwell said.

'How about spending the money on the park where the baseball diamond is?' Pena said.

'Why don't we upgrade all city parks?' said Reginald Jackson, another citizen.

Citizens lodged complaints about abandoned houses.

'The code enforcement officer [Roy Earl Kendrick] has been talked to about this,' council member Tiny Lange said.

'We're trying to do an interlocal agreement with Dallas County,' Birdwell said.

'Home owners can apply for house repairs,' Lange said.

Pena asked about obtaining Dallas water.

'We're making a wish list,' Lowe said. 'The wish list will be passed on to Dallas County.'

Projects must meet county approval.

Birdwell said Dallas County denied Wilmer's request for a youth building.

Jackson asked for a list of possibilities in which grant money could be used.

'We can ask for one,' Lowe said.

'We can still ask for things,' council member Billy Wickliffe said. 'We'll take this list to them when we talk to them.'

Wickliffe said money had already been allocated for the Good Road project.

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