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Palmer council’s tempers cooling off

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DIANA BUCKLEY
Ellis County Press
PALMER — Tempers seem to be cooling down in Palmer, in spite of a recent blow-up at a city council meeting.

During a meeting on Sept. 25, Mayor Pro-Tem Sam Knoll read out a list of code violations and ill-repaired streets before proclaiming, 'What we have is a total lack of leadership in this town! Nobody is doing their work and nobody is making them do it. But when we want something for an employee - let's go buy them a new truck!'

City Manager Scott Albert responded calmly at first, citing short-handedness and more pressing priorities in the public works department. But as Knoll continued, Albert lost patience.

'Once again, I'll stress, clean house!' Albert said emphatically. 'This is uncalled for, this is wrong in a public hearing. Clean house - start with me and go right on down the line.'

But this month's council meeting was calm. 'I'd say the results have been pretty positive,' said council member Jennifer Thomas. 'Sam has represented the city in a good way, but I still disagree with how he handled it.'

According to Thomas, Palmer has only three employees in the water department, and because of the age and condition of the plant the job is almost overwhelming. 'We're giving them a shoestring to work on,' she says. 'People don't see when Dewey goes out at midnight to fix a leak, or three in the morning.'

In one way, Thomas agreed with Knoll. 'Everything Sam brought up were issues that need to be taken care of,' she said. 'But not in that way. Sam is a good person, and I understood his frustration, but it was handled wrong.'

Palmer council members are teaming up with the police and fire departments to clean up the town. Through 'Campaign Clean-up,' residents are encouraged to mow and pick up trash on their own property and in drainage ditches and streets surrounding their property. Thomas also encourages young, healthy residents to reach out in helping those less able. 'We don't want people mowing if they are in poor health,' she said, 'But it is only going to help everybody if we increase our property values.'

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