Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

January 13, 2014

City votes to dissolve AMWA

Authority gathers signatures to force an election on issue

Athens — The battle between the city of Athens and the Athens Municipal Water Authority continued on two fronts Monday, with the future of the 57-year-old entity still in doubt.

At the regularly-scheduled Athens City Council meeting, the members voted unanimously to pass a second reading of the ordinance to dissolve the Authority. The action came about two hours after a hearing in 173rd District Court on AMWA’s request for a restraining order to prevent the council action was appealed to a higher court.

AMWA filed a civil suit on Dec. 10 in 173rd District Court, alleging that the city wrongfully submitted invoices to AMWA for certain services relating to a contract between AMWA and the city to provide water to the citizens of Athens.

The city responded to the suit on Dec. 23 when the city council passed a first reading of the ordinance to dissolve AMWA.

  As Mayor Jerry Don Vaught called for a vote at Monday’s council meeting, AMWA Attorney Martin Bennett interrupted, and said the vote was in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. Bennett claimed the agenda’s wording, that the council would “consider” a final reading of the ordinance” did not state that the council would take action on the issue. Vaught again called for a motion, which was offered by Carol Barton and seconded by Monte Montgomery.

“Mr. Mayor, I’d like to say that this lawsuit brought by the Athens Municipal Water Authority is unacceptable to the City of Athens,” Montgomery said.

According to the Texas Local Government Code, after the Monday council vote, AMWA has 30 days to present a petition, signed and verified by a number of qualified voters of the municipality equal to at least 10 percent of the total votes cast at the most recent election for municipal officers.

That was in 2011, when a total of 1,237 cast ballots in the race between Randy Daniel defeated Joe Whatley in 2011, meaning AMWA needed about 124 signatures. Attorney Martin Bennett, representing AMWA said Monday the Authority had already gathered 374 signatures.

The Texas Local Government Code states that immediately after the presentation of the petition, the governing body shall reconsider the ordinance. If the governing body does not repeal the ordinance, the governing body shall submit it to a popular vote at the next municipal election, or at a special election ordered for that purpose.

The ordinance does not take effect unless a majority of the votes received in the election favor the ordinance.

On Monday afternoon, attorneys for the parties argued in 173rd District Court as AMWA sought a temporary restraining order to stop the city from acting to abolish the Authority in the regularly scheduled city council meeting. The hearing started at 1:30 p.m., just hours before the 5:30 p.m. council meeting was set to convene.

After the parties debated for more than an hour, the judge recessed to deliberate on whether the court had jurisdiction to hear the case.

When Judge Joe Clayton returned, he ruled against the city’s claim that the court did not have jurisdiction. After hearing the decision, the city filed an accelerated appeal to the 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler.

Because the question of jurisdiction was a threshold issue for the case, the appeal immediately stopped the proceedings until the appeal is decided.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 7-23 Victoria.jpg Emotional response given to Victoria's death

    The tragic news of 4-year-old Victoria Wyatt’s violent death set off an emotional response on Monday, with words of consolation for the child’s family and anger at the girl’s mother who admitted to taking her life. But mostly sorrow at the loss of one so young.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AISD readies for annual backpack distribution

    Athens Independent School District and the Help Center are teaming up once again to provide backpacks and supplies to students in need.
    The annual Back-to-School Bash is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Athens High School gym during the family fun day.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23 Open house grace house.jpg Open house at Grace House transition location

    Grace House of Cedar Creek Lake, a faith-based transitional home for women, held an open house on Monday evening. The facility for women is 6,000 square feet on 13 acres in Tool.
    Grace House includes a kitchen and a classroom equipped with computers for training and practice, as well as dorm-type rooms for the residents.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0007.JPG MISD approves re-election order

    The Malakoff Independent School Board of Trustees approved their order of elections on Monday, as all five members are up for re-election on Nov. 4.
    President Jason Dalrymple, Vice President Gary Woolverton, Secretary Daymon Sims and Rick Vieregge (appointed to fill Todd LaRue's seat) are the four spots up for the 4-year terms. LaRue resigned from the board on June 16.
    Tim Mattingly, who was appointed in February, is up for election to fill the remaining two years of that term.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif BISD tax rate, meal prices remain same

    The tax rate for Brownsboro Independent School District is expected to remain the same for the 2014-15 school year following Monday's school board meeting.
    Superintendent Dr. Chris Moran recommended the rate of $1.46 per $100 evaluation remain in place, despite a slight increase in the preliminary budget.
    The maintenance and operations rate will remain at $1.17, while the interest and sinking rate remains 29 cents.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif County names those to fill unexpired terms

    The Henderson County Commissioners Court named individuals to fill unexpired terms on two boards during a brief meeting on Tuesday.
    The court confirmed Gregorio Galvan as a new member of the Henderson County Library Advisory Board. Galvan, the owner and operator of Papa Tilo’s restaurant, will serve the remainder of the term vacated by Gloria Glaspy.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23 jeff howard.jpg Howard named top assistant in Region 7

    The Texas Association of Secondary School Principals recognizes outstanding principals and assistant principals from the 20 regional education service centers in the state each year.
    School administrators are nominated and chosen by their peers within their regions, and then applications from these recipients are reviewed by the TASSP Principal Image Committee who selects the finalists.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Knife-wielding man arrested

    The Athens Police Department arrested a 34-year-old man who allegedly entered an apartment early Saturday and injured another man using a pocket knife.

    July 22, 2014

  • fair Henderson County Rural Resource Fair

    When you find yourself in need of help, it's important to know where to go. The need to know is what drew a crowd to the Trinidad ISD cafeteria Monday morning.
    Approximately 30 non-profit vendors were on hand for the first Rural Resource Fair. The vendors were there to provide information to the public about available resources in Henderson County.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mission Minded

    Eight ladies are in Garland to teach the word of Christ to the area’s Arabic-speaking population.
    Makaye Key of Eustace is part of a group of ladies known as the G.M.A.’s or Girls Missionary Auxilary.

    July 22, 2014