Newly elected members seated

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 Melissa Freeman | Robertson County News Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez swears in the newly elected members of the City Council. Joyce Rattler, Hazel Embra and LaShaunda White by reading and repeating the oath of office last Tuesday night.

Between 6:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Tuesday night, the Hearne City Council assumed a new look and, most likely, a new stance. With the election of three new council members, the panel may be exploring new directions.

The council opened the session with old business having the incumbents approving a host of 4A and 4B recommended expenditures.

The council approved $170,000 for infrastructure improvements (sewer, water, electric, etc.) for a new 20-acre RV park on FM 485, a mile west of Love’s, half the funds from 4A and half from 4B. Councilman Michael Werlinger abstained from each vote since the property is owned by his mother, Judy Werlinger.

The Council next approved a payment of $15,000 from 4A/4B to Camp Hearne to bring in the Tuskegee Airmen for its October 18 event. The group will come in a semi-truck and a Mustang P-51 which is the same type of fighter plane flown by the Red Tails during WWII. The truck holds a Red Tail exhibit and area children will be invited to view the exhibit and learn the story during the three days prior to the event. On the 18, the Tuskegee Airmen will be set up at the Hearne Airport to promote the airport.

Next, the panel approved $25,000 from the 4A fund to pay for improvements to the old Smith-Welch Library which the city is selling to the Robertson County News — the only bidder for the building when advertised.

It also approved LeAnthony Dykes bid of $1,750 to purchase several lots owned by the city. City Manager Pee Wee Drake said that he had had reservations about Mr. Dykes’ proposal but his questions had been answered and he no longer objected.

The Council voted to table an inter-local agreement with the state to build a CDL licensing office off of FM 485. City Attorney Bryan Russ had some concerns about the agreement’s 45 day clause which would allow the state to withdraw from the project. Russ said the city needed a 10 year commitment from the state to make the effort to build the office pay off. He suggested Drake continue negotiations with the State of Texas for a better deal.

Before canvassing the vote and seating its new members, the council approved allowing Drake to secure a loan of about $45 k to purchase two pickups--one to replace the animal control vehicle and another to replace a city truck with a blown motor—and $100 K to purchase a used grappler truck to help with trash pick-up like fallen limbs, etc.

With other business concluded, the panel canvassed and accepted the May 10 city council election vote and called up the three new council members to take the oath of office.

Council persons Joyce Rattler, Hazel Embra, and LaShunda White swore that they had not accepted payment or promised employment or a public office in exchange for a vote (or withholding one) and assumed their places on the council.

Departing council members Larry Welch and Matt Gomez thanked the city for allowing them to serve and wished the best for both the new members and the city. Gomez said he would continue to be active in civic life.

The new members expressed their desire to do what’s right for all Hearne residents.
With its business concluded, the Hearne City Council adjourned.

Melissa Freeman | Robertson County News

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