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Budget to focus on roads, rental inspections

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STAFF REPORT

The Ellis County Press

GARRETT - This eastern Ellis County town of 500’s city council last week approved a $432,000 budget that focuses on street repairs and attempts to solve the closing of a OneStop gas station by renting out a converted market into a community center.

According to City Secretary Julie Featherston, the municipal court is expected to bring in $300,000 of the budget, with $120,000 of that revenue earmarked for the state Comptroller Susan Combs’ office.

The tax rate, meanwhile, stays the same at 32 cents per $100 of property valuation, which makes Garrett the second-lowest taxed town of the 14 municipalities in Ellis County (Pecan Hill has the lowest tax rate.)

"We were awarded the grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department,"Featherston said. "And we just bought the old Garay’s Market to have more room for the park. We will be cleaning up the store, selling most of [the] equipment and [turning] it into a community center that can be rented."

Featherston said the city also moved forward on attempts to have rental properties inspected before new tenants move in and established a public works department.

"We now have a public works department that will be mowing, cleaning culverts, trim trees [etcetera]," Featherston said.

"We are focusing on cleaning up the town. We passed an ordinance that rental property must be inspected before utilities can be turned on. We are hoping this will clean up the rental properties. Our lawyer will be putting together a committee of citizens to work with him and address all abandoned homes and property that is vacant.

This committee will have a hearing with homeowners and inform them of their options."

The options include tearing down the structure or attempts to bring homes up to building codes.

"We are hoping this will take care of the homes that are left abandoned," Featherston said.

Garrett is located directly north of Ennis along Interstate Highway 45.


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