In a joint town hall meeting of Corsicana city precincts 3 and 4, hosted by councilmen Stephen G. Andrews and Randy Dill, the topics ranged from street and drainage projects to stop signs and the bond election.

About 30 residents attended the meeting, which lasted about two hours in the civic room of the Corsicana Public Library.

Among the more emotionally-charged issues were the current status of the Interurban Car, city beautification, and city finances.

The Interurban car is an antique street car being refurbished by a workman in Alabama, a project that is about four years behind schedule. Various residents recommended putting more pressure on the firm doing the work, as well as bringing a lawsuit, a suggestion that Mayor C.L. Brown responded to quickly.

“It ain’t Exxon,” he said of the small, six-employee firm doing the work. “I think a lawsuit is a waste of time.”

However, Ron Lynch, public works director, said he is now getting weekly reports on the progress of the car, and is assured it will be finished by January.

In terms of beautification, the blame for unsightliness was widely spread between the businesses, residents and trash-collection workers.

“If we could change anything about our community it would be self-pride,” said Rick Hocker, a local businessman and president of the downtown R.O.S.E. association.

However, Dana Collins and Lewis Palos complimented the work of the Community Support department, for getting so many derelict houses demolished and cleaned up.

“You’re doing a great job on that,” Collins said. “That’s a real positive thing for the community.”’

A few residents expressed willingness to pay 2-cent-higher tax rate, if the money went into specific projects, such as beautification.

The city’s current tax rate, and the proposed 2008 tax rate, is 62 cents for each $100 in property value.

Keeping the tax rate the same as last year was one of the council’s goals in the 2007-08 budget, said City Manager Connie Standridge.

Mayor Brown pointed out that a higher tax rate puts the city at a disadvantage with other cities when it comes to recruiting businesses, and improving the city’s economy.

“But if y’all get a petition and bring it to the council, we’ll be happy to raise your tax rate,” he said, a comment which drew a big laugh from the audience.

Diana Rawlins, a former city council woman, had a series of recommendations, including that the city improve drainage around Fullerton Garrity Park and throughout the north side of town.

“There’s a first rule as regards drainage and city government,” Standridge said. “You study it before you alter it.”

The city has recently gotten a study completed on drainage in that part of the town, and now will be seeking prices on the supplies and work, Standridge added.

Some other suggestions made by residents at the meeting included:

• To install a 4-way stop sign at the intersection of Lexington and Bowie. (Ines Waggoner)

• To broadcast the city council meetings, either on cable television or the radio. (Lewis Palos)

• If the city rewrites the sign ordinance, to create a committee to work on that. (Dana Collins)

• To better communicate rules on leaf disposal. (Diana Rawlins)

• Partnering with the schools to promote civic pride and recycling efforts. (Separate suggestions from Rick Hocker and Elmeree Burrell)

• To require all residents to edge their lawns. (Diana Rawlins)

• If only the street bond item passes in November, to offer more street-related bond issues. (Ann Massey)

• Greater enforcement of existing ordinances downtown. (Rick Hocker)

• Requiring local businesses that use shopping carts to use electronic tags on their carts (Diana Rawlins)

• Speed bumps on Dobbins Road. (Babbette Samuels)

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Janet Jacobs may be contacted via e-mail at jacobs@corsicanadailysun.com

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