Mount Vernon Optic-Herald (Mount Vernon, Tex.), Vol. 140, No. 5, Ed. 1 Thursday, August 29, 2013 Page: 3 of 22
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Mount Vernon Optic-Herald
Section A, Thursday, August 29, 2013, Page 3
Hotel Occupancy Tax
is hot city budget topic
By LILLIE BUSH-REVES
The City’s Hotel/Motel Tax Ad-
visory Board’s recommendation
of funding more dollars for proj-
ects than members of the Council
feel are likely to be collected had
frustration showing among some
council members at their Monday
night budget workshop.
“I think we need to give it all
to Main Street and let Carolyn
[Teague, Main Street’s Executive
Director] decide how to split it
up,” Councilman Kenneth Shelton
said in frustration, “...we [council]
don’t know if this is really what
Administrator Tony Stonecypher
explained that certain promotions
and a portion of Ms. Teague’s sal-
ary could be funded by Hotel Occu-
pancy Tax (HOT) funds. However
some of the things the fluids are
to be used are done well by other
community organizations. “We
[city] should lump some the entire
amount into Main Street,” he told
The council had a lengthy dis-
cussion and heard brief pleas
from four organizations request-
ing fluids, who were present for
the meeting. The council proposed
looking backward in order to move
forward with the matter.
There was a two fold concern:
over estimating income and over
allocating fluids. Council members
were adamant about not delving
into the $57,000 fund balance left
from previous years. The HOT
fluids can only be used for specific
pmposes, generally stated, promot-
ing tourism and putting heads in the
beds of local hotels, motels and bed
and breakfast establishments.
The HOT board was basing their
recommendation on collecting
$41,000 in the special tax. With just
one month left in the 2012-13 bud-
get year, less than $31,000 has been
collected. The council adjusted
what they anticipate as revenue for
the next fiscal year to $31,000.
The Council then agreed to take
allocation figures from 2012-13
to set amounts to be received by
groups who applied this year.
There was $15,000 requested
for Main Street. $10,000 of that is
for various promotions and events
handled by the Main Street office.
The other $5,000 was requested by
Mr. Stonecypher to boost the direc-
tor’s salary to make her pay more
in line with that of others in her
position throughout the area.
That portion of the budget may
come from the past years balance
of HOT funds, or may be split
between past HOT fluids and the
city’s General Fluid. Council mem-
bers could not agree on that point,
and left the final decision to come
at their final amendments to the pro-
posed budget prior to its adoption
at their September meeting.
The council made several other
line item adjustments throughout
the proposed budget during their
Earlier in the evening, they
conducted a public hearing on the
proposed budget and tax rate. No
one from the public spoke either
for or against.
street proposed in grant
By LILLIE BUSH-REVES
A gathering place and open mar-
ket area away from the central plaza
is being proposed in a grant applica-
tion being made to the Texas State
Historic Commission. Carolyn
Teague, executive director for the
Mount Vernon Main Street office,
proposed the project to the Mount
Vernon City Council at their Mon-
The primary street proposed for
the closure is Houston St. between
Main and Scott streets. This is an
area formerly known as “Smokey
Row.” Rusk St. between Main and
Dallas streets was brought up as a
possible alternative during Mon-
As instructed by the council at
an earlier meeting, Ms. Teague is
moving forward with preparing the
application, which could be declined
by the council at a later date.
“The application is due this Fri-
day,” explained Ms. Teague. The
grant is for up to $5,000 to improve
downtowns in Texas Main Street
cities. The grant would be used with
private local fluids. Ms. Teague says
local families and individuals have
already expressed their desire to
assist with various portions of the
An e-mail from business owner
Jenny Hamrick was distributed
earlier to members of the council.
Ms. Teague stated that the project
could be sensitive to Mrs. Hamrick’s
concerns over loading and unloading
area next to her shop.
“I truly believe that the only im-
pact on retail businesses would be
a positive one,” Mrs. Teague com-
Many details still need to be
worked out, agreed Mrs. Teague and
the Council members. She encour-
aged council members to share their
ideas and concerns with her on the
proposed project. The subject may
well be a mute one without the grant
funding to kick-start the effort.
Library applying for instructional grant
By LILLIE BUSH-REVES
Lisa Lawrence, director of library
seivices at the Franklin Comity Library,
received the go ahead for a current
grant application as well as any future
applications not requiring local match-
ing funds. The vote of confidence came
from members of the Franklin Comity
Commissioners Court at their Monday
The application being made immedi-
ately is for a $3,000 grant from the Texas
State Library and Archive Commission.
The funding is to be used to purchase
several mobile devices, such as iPads,
to be used as training tools.
“There is a huge demand from the
public for training on these devices,”
Mi's. Lawrence explained. The devices
will stay at the library for use in computer
classes, to be taught by the library staff
and knowledgeable volunteers.
The Court authorized Mrs. Lawrence
to act as the signatory on the application.
In addition, they authorized her to apply
for other small grants. These grants range
from electronic equipment to a box of
books or series of tapes.
“Often these become available and we
have a veiy short time to make applica-
tion. There is usually not enough time to
wait on a Court meeting,” she explained.
“I would not apply for anything outside
my [library] budget. If they require more
matching funds, we would normally
have more time for the application to be
hi other matters at the meeting, not
reported in other stories in this issue, the
Court took the following action:
- Changed the date of the meeting to
adopt the 2014 budget and set the tax rate
to Sept. 16 instead of Sept. 23;
- Approved the re-deputation of LuAl-
ice Butler to make her the Chief Deputy
of the District Clerk’s office with a $1
per hour pay increase commensurate with
additional duties she is to assume;
- Gave final approval for the replat of
Lot LI 15R Section 2 in Kings Country
development for Richard and Janice
- Authorized the increase in second
and subsequent days’ pay for jurors from
$38 to $40 to comply with state laws;
- Conducted the first of two public
hearings on the proposed tax rate, with
no one speaking either in favor or against
the rate; and
- Tabled funding for the Alamo Mis-
sion Museum to be made from the Hotel
Occupancy Tax Fund.
The final public hearing on the tax rate
has been set for 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 9
during the regular meeting of the Court
at the West Courthouse Annex on Hwy.
Audit report finds county in
"strong financial position"
By LILLIE BUSH-REVES
Conway Company CPAs, which con-
ducted the required independent audits
for the comity reported that Franklin
Comity was in a “strong financial posi-
tion.” Mike Conway, principal with the
company, presented an overview of the
reports at the Monday meeting of the
Franklin Comity Commissioners Court.
“We have good news to report in that
the comity is in strong financial condi-
tion,” Mr. Conway stated. He went on
to explain that the comity has little long
term debt and liabilities, just over $1
million. The comity’s debt decreased by
$235,817 during 2012. Another $ 155,683
of the overall liabilities is from state
funding restrictions for fluids such as
Hotel Occupancy Tax ($34,058), court
use ($112,717), debt seivice ($95,863)
and library ($1,596).
The comity’s assets exceeded its li-
abilities by $ 16,570,218. Of that amount,
$12,715,100 is wrapped up in capital as-
sets, including buildings and equipment.
At the close of 2012, the comity’s
governmental funds had a combined
ending balance of $3.947 million. That is
up 4.24 percent, $158,141, from the prior
year. The comity is holding $ 1 million in
unrestricted fluids. This represents just
over the amount it would take to operate
First Presbyterian Church of Winnsboro
Invites you to a sermon series
5 points of Calvinism
All five Sundays in September
Nursery is available.
We are located at 302 S. Chestnut Street
on the corner of Myrtle and S. Chestnut St.
A Church Family to feel at Home!
with this ad
401 1/2 Hwy. 37 ~ Mount Vernon
903-537-4079 phone orders welcome
Hot valid with other os
Excludes House Sfwc’ft
Acombination of city and county crews finished the last of the
street work for the current fiscal year. All or portions of six
city streets were reclaimed and or chip sealed. Approximately
$70,000 is proposed for the 2013-2014 budget year.
Friday, Aug. 30
Dinner 6 p.m. $8 plate
Dance 7:30 p.m.
Mary Lou and the Crew
American Legion Post 243
CR 4265 off Hwy, 21, 1 mile east of 115
for 90 days without additional revenue
(25.35 percent of last year’s budget).
A second “single audit” was conduct-
ed as required for grant fluids in projects
exceeding $500,000. This gives the grant
agency a report as to how the funds
were handled. These fluids were those
received from the state for the exterior
courthouse restoration project.
Last year, the comity disbursed $1,336
million from fluids received two years
ago. This was a lag in recording of ex-
penses from the time they were incurred
and actually spent, noted Mr. Conway.
That was solved and there are no issues
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Bush-Reves, Lillie. Mount Vernon Optic-Herald (Mount Vernon, Tex.), Vol. 140, No. 5, Ed. 1 Thursday, August 29, 2013, newspaper, August 29, 2013; Mount Vernon, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth831179/m1/3/: accessed November 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .