Alto City Council meets to discuss rezoning

by By Becky Whisenant Special Contributor

At a special called meeting of the Alto City Council May 27, city zoning maps were consulted to determine the acceptable locations for manufactured homes as residences within the city limits. Due to the extensive damage from recent storms and the loss of so many houses, mobile homes are being moved into areas not zoned for that type of dwelling. The council voted to approve the most recent zoning map – from 2009 – as a guideline for acceptable placement of newly installed manufactured homes within the city.

The zone map will be available for viewing at the city hall and more information will be posted on the city’s Facebook page and in the newspaper.
City Secretary April Comte reported that East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) is in the process of receiving approval to offer help to city residents affected by the storms. Councilman Carey Palmer pointed out their timeline could be as long as six to eight months to complete the necessary paperwork before any action could be taken. However, an application to TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) has been submitted for assistance in city-wide debris removal and the council is optimistic that state monies may be available for this.
Representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA) will be available at the city hall from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and on Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. through June 6. Persons experiencing property loss from the recent tornadoes, flood water and hail may seek counsel on financial assistance to rebuild.

Utilities Department Director Kerry Black brought up the issue of damaged and severed cable TV wires, which are no longer used, but were loosened by the storm. Plans were made to research qualified persons who can safely remove the hanging wires.
In other business, a motion was made at the meeting by Councilman El Thacker to approve committing additional local funds to increase the city’s match of community block grant funds to $3,502 in order to complete infrastructure improvements at the water treatment plant. This passed. The 90 day review for Alto Police Officer Aaron Jones was approved.
Also present at the meeting were Mayor Jimmy Allen, Councilwoman Kara Lamar-Reagan and Councilman Randy Selman.