Legalities end donation of city water to Jail Museum

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By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

The 1890 Jail Museum and Heritage Center will no longer receive free water from the City of Henrietta following a vote by the city council Monday night.

More than a year ago, the city agreed to provide basic water service of 10,000 gallons at no charge to the nonprofit Clay County Historical Society for the museum. The same agreement was made with the Clay County Senior Citizen’s Center. In the agreements, each organization would pay regular price for any amount of water in excess of 10,000 gallons. While the senior center has yet to reach that limit, the museum exceeded it in establishing a new lawn in 2010 and fighting drought in 2011.

At the time the agreement was made, an attorney for the city advised against providing free water. When the Clay County Pioneer Association asked for relief of a water bill late last year, it was discovered through research that state law forbids a municipality from donating treated water to a nonprofit unless the organization provides a service.

The Clay County Senior Citizens Center will be able to keep its agreement with the city because it provide Meals-on-Wheels and is associated with the area transit program TAPS.

Alderman Mike Scott abstained from the vote because he is a member of the senior citizens’ center board of directors.

Aldermen also approved a ground disturbance fee at Hope Cemetery in an effort to control costs. The measure is part of an updated set of ordinances that govern the cemetery, approved by the city council Monday night.

The $100 fee will be paid at the time of burial, and will effect all future interments, including that of people who already own plots.

The City of Henrietta budgeted $72,343 for the maintenance and upkeep of Hope Cemetery in 2012, and expects $14,000 revenue on the sale of plots.

In other business, aldermen:

Approved a resolution to suspend the effective date for a rate increase request from natural gas supplier Atmos Energy.

Held the first of two public hearings required before a vote to allow the Henrietta Growth Corp. to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Lawn Rescue for business assistance. The second hearing will be held, and a vote taken, during the council’s March meeting.

Called a city election for May 12, and entered into a joint election agreement with Henrietta ISD.

Elected to leave the drought contingency plan for the city at stage 3, siting low water levels at Lake Arrowhead. The lake is at 58 percent capacity.

Approved Feb. 27 as a public hearing date for the Safe Routes to School, a program that will lay new sidewalks on routes to each campus. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Holman Center.

Approved a proposal to sell scrap metal and equipment located a various city locations. A company has agreed to purchase the scrap as is and remove it from the properties at $220 per ton for 100 or more tons.

Aldermen also approved a date for the annual community cleanup in Henrietta. The convenience center will be open from 3-7 p.m. on April 11-13, and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 14.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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