Clarksville to see 6 new HUD grant homes, fire truck

CLARKSVILLE — Six new homes through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants will complete a whole dozen in Clarksville.

At a Tuesday Clarksville City Council meeting, grant writer Kathy Boyles presented bids from local construction companies to build the homes, and Ron Doe Home Builders of Paris was selected as the lowest bidder at $94,400. Boyles also recently worked with the City of Deport to bring new homes to Lamar County.

In other business, Police Chief Mark Gable and Fire Chief Rocky Tolison gave the council updates from the past month, both reflecting on a massive fire that broke out in a historic building in the 100 block of East Broadway in late October.

The council praised Tolison and his department, as well as Gable, for their prompt response to the blaze, and Tolison thanked the 18 fire departments and volunteer fire departments that responded to help out the Clarksville team. While the building was a total loss, the neighboring structure, owned by Mayor Ann Rushing, was saved by the firefighters and a thick fire wall.

“We always hoped we’d never need a ladder truck,” Tolison said, but told the council that a ladder truck is now available to the department by donation from PCI Enterprises. The council voted unanimously to accept the donation, motivated by the savings and the need for one revealed by the recent fire.

The council also agreed to designate an older fire truck as surplus to put on sale at $36,500. The department initially purchased the truck through a FEMA grant. Tolison also asked the council for funds to repair a set of Jaws of Life to be placed in Engine One for extractions following vehicle accidents and was granted $2,040 for the repairs.

During Tolison’s presentation, City Secretary Damien Carrasco updated the council on a recent incident that he, Tolison and Gable had responded to in the past month. Carrasco said, following a call from a resident mentioning heart problems, they arrived at the residence and after being unable to enter, were greeted by a woman with a shotgun. Carrasco and the council thanked Gable for helping to deescalate the situation.

After receiving an update from the maintenance department, the council agreed to approve the purchase of a discounted skid steer, to be financed over the course of four years with payments of $13,294. The maintenance department received some pushback from Councilman Charlie Wright after a request for more supplies. Wright said although he understood the supplies were necessary, he cautioned the council to watch spending.

A part-time community development position was extended for three months for an employee to help clear limbs from streets that could potentially obstruct emergency vehicles from accessing homes. The extension will keep the employee on for a full year and will cost an additional $4,275, but the council agreed that the city needs the extra help to maintain city property through the rest of the year.

The city currently leases property for a water supply well at Langford Lake through the Red River County Water Control Improvement District and its contract is in place until 2032, at which time it can be renewed. The council approved an easement for the property and agreed that it will likely renew the contract in the future.

Carrasco, who is the city’s former code enforcement officer who recently took on the additional role as city secretary, was approved as full-time secretary and given a salary of $33,000 by the council following an executive session. Councilman W.F. “Babe” Higgins noted that the city will need to post a notice for the position of code enforcement officer and that after 90 days, Carrasco should be evaluated for his performance in the position.

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