PALESTINE, Texas (March 22, 2017) – The Government Treasurers' Organization of Texas has awarded a Certificate of Distinction to the City of Palestine for its Investment Policy.
The City Council approved the current investment policy after it was updated to reflect best practices, meet Texas' Public Funds Investment Act requirements and address the current needs of the city.
The City was one of 16 2017 award recipients, joining 30 other Texas cities who earned the biannual award in 2016 or 2017.
Finance Director Steve Groom brought state- and nationally-recognized municipal treasurer experience to Palestine and has used that experience to improve the city's investment policy and to implement a systematic investment strategy for the city's reserve cash.
"Investing reserve cash is just good stewardship, but knowing how to invest public funds with the safety our citizens require is a specialty," Groom said. "Investing for 'Main Street' is done differently than investing for 'Wall Street,' which is why we don't ever purchase stocks, for example."
The Investment Strategy followed by the city now involves investing funds that would otherwise earn very little interest on deposit at a bank or invested in a short-term government pool.
By exercising a buy-and-hold strategy, limited city staff has purchased a portfolio of CDs and AAA-rated Federal Agency notes in a disciplined fashion, diversifying by issuer to mitigate credit risk and by maturity dates to reduce interest rate risk.
The result will be an improvement of budgeted interest earnings while maintaining safety and liquidity.
The Finance Department issues quarterly treasury reports to City Council; they are posted on the Finance Department's page of the City's website.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 21, 2017) – Don't miss the 4th Annual Egg-Normous Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Palestine Athletic Complex! Admission and all entertainment are free.
More than 20,000 eggs will be “hidden” for local children at 11 a.m. Residents are asked to arrive early to ensure a spot in the hunt and to BYOB, or “bring your own basket.”
The Egg Hunt will be divided into (3) age groups:
Ages 1-3 @ Field 7
Ages 4-7 @ Field 6
Ages 8-10 @ Field 8
Each age group will hunt on their own personal field, and each field will contain 10 "Golden Eggs" that can be redeemed for prizes at the Main Stage on Field 1.
The hunts will be staggered, beginning with ages 1-3 on Field 7 at 11a.m. sharp. Minutes later, the hunt will begin for ages 4-7 on Field 6, followed by ages 8-10 on Field 8 soon after. The Community Services Department wants to ensure that families are able to be with all of their children during their hunts even if they are hunting in different fields.
When the hunt is over, Field 1 will be open with Laser Tag, Human Foosball, Kiddie Train, Cupcake Walk, bounce houses, face painting, Kornpop Magic Show, balloon art, a dunking booth, temporary hair painting by SportClips Professionals, KYYK radio, prizes and much more!
The Easter Bunny will be there, so be sure to bring your camera!
For more information, contact the City of Palestine Community Services at 903-731-8437, on the web at cityofpalestinetx.com, or on Facebook at facebook.com/palestinecommservices/.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 20, 2017) – To better inform residents of the sales tax special election, the City of Palestine will host three Town Hall meetings for Proposition 1.
The Proposition 1 Listening Series will give residents information on the sales tax election. On May 6, voters will decide to dedicate a portion of sales tax to repair and maintain city streets. Residents will learn information on sales tax and how it is used in Palestine.
Residents will also have the opportunity to ask questions to city staff and city council members about Proposition 1. The first listening session in the series will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 at Palestine City Hall, 504 N. Queen St.
The second and third sessions will be on April 13 at Palestine ISD Central Office, 1007 E. Park Ave., and on April 20 at the Westwood ISD Fine Arts Building at Westwood High School, 1820 Panther Boulevard. Both sessions will be at 6 p.m.
For the March 30 session, the City will also host a virtual town hall meeting. Residents will be able to submit questions via Facebook and receive answers in real time via streaming video. All three listening sessions will be live streamed for residents.
For more information on the May 6 special election, visit the City of Palestine’s website at cityofpalestinetx.com. The city also has information on the general election for mayor and council members on the website.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 20, 2017) – The City of Palestine has posted an online survey asking citizens what they would like to see in Palestine’s future development.
The city’s Zoning Steering Committee, in conjunction with the city’s Development Services Department and consultants, is in the process of updating the city’s zoning code. The zoning code was implemented in 1968, and last updated 25 years ago.
The survey, found online at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/HNF8KYC
, gives residents choices on their preferences on development, like shopping centers, downtown developments, apartment complexes and residential neighborhoods. The surveys also give residents the option on how these developments might look.
Zoning consultants Stantec will collect and analyze the online and paper surveys for the Zoning Steering Committee. The committee will then advise the consultants and Development Services on the future zoning code update.
The survey will remain open until April 6. For more information on the city’s Zoning Code Update, visit the city’s website at cityofpalestinetx.com.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 20, 2017) – The City of Palestine, in conjunction with the Northeast Texas Public Health District, will host class for basic food workers.
According to state law, food employees are required to have a certificate of completion of this course. Food establishments are required to maintain those certificates.
“This is a great opportunity for local food workers,” Rickey Dorsey, Assistant Director of Community Services, said. “The class will help all our local food workers meet the state requirements.”
The classes will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Palestine Civic Center, 1819 W. Spring St. Instructors with the Northeast Texas Public Health District, Net Health, will be leading the class.
Preregistration for the class can be made in person at City Hall, 504 N. Queen St., between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is encouraged. Registration will be available at the door, but students must arrive 30 minutes early.
The cost is $20 per person and only cash, check or money orders will be accepted. No credit cards. Checks and money orders should be made payable to Net Health.
Classes begin promptly, and late arrivals will not be admitted into the class. If a student is unable to attend the class, an alternate student may be substituted. If a student is absent from the class and fails to send an alternate, the student will be required to re-register and pay for a later class.
For more information on the class and food establishments in Palestine, call Dorsey at 903-731-8492 or Net Health at 903-535-0030.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 7, 2017) – The 2017 City of Palestine Spring Cleanup Day will be Saturday, March 18 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cleanup items will be accepted at the City of Palestine Transfer Station, 30440 Hwy 79 E, located 1 mile outside of the city limits. The City of Palestine, in conjunction with Keep Palestine Beautiful, conducts a citywide Cleanup Day twice a year.
The cleanup day allows residents living within the Palestine city limits an opportunity to clear their property of unwanted items at no cost to the resident. This can make a big difference in the overall appearance of a home or lot.
“The bi-annual cleanup is a great opportunity for our residents to dispose of unwanted waste free of charge,” said City of Palestine Public Works Director Tim Perry, “This service is scheduled prior to the two major festivals each year to help provide our residents an additional way to be able to make the best impression to these visitors each year.”
Items accepted at the transfer station include:
• Yard waste including limbs, brush and leaves.
• Solid waste including household garbage, furniture, lumber, shingles and dried paint.
• Metal items including sheet metal, pipe, scrap iron and cast iron.
• Large appliances including refrigerators, washers, dryers, A/C units, televisions.
• Tires including car tires and light truck tires only. No tractor or large truck tires will be allowed.
• All tires must be separated from the rims. A limit of 10 tires per resident.
Items not accepted at the transfer station:
• Electronics - computers, laptops, mainframes, peripherals, telephones including cell phones, fax machines, printers copiers.
• No household chemicals, such as drain cleaners, liquid paint, cleaning supplies,
• Herbicides, pesticides, automotive fluids or acids
To be allowed to dump items free of charge during the clean-up day, proof of address must be shown. This could be a driver’s license or water bill. If these items cannot be produced, the person will not be allowed to drop off items. This event is not intended for commercial haulers or contractors.
Elderly and disabled residents may call the City of Palestine Public Works Department at 903- 731-8423 to apply for curbside pickup by Keep Palestine Beautiful and the Anderson County Adult Probation Services on Cleanup Day. The two organizations partner each year to offer curbside service for those residents who are unable to transport items. The city curates the list for the two organizations on cleanup day.
The deadline to get on the list for elderly and disabled pickup is 4 p.m. Thursday, March 16. All items must be at the curb by no later than 7 a.m. on the day of the cleanup.
The brush management/compost site will not be open during the cleanup; however, brush may be taken to the transfer station as part of the cleanup program. The same requirements for proof of address will be required to leave items.
For additional information please call the Public Works Department at 903-731-8423.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 3, 2017) - The Palestine City Council, based on the recommendation of City Manager Mike Alexander, named Shannon Davis the Chief of the Palestine Fire Department.
Davis, an 16-year veteran of the department, has served as the Interim Chief of the department since December. Previously, he was a Captain. Davis joined the Palestine Fire Department in 2001 where he served as a firefighter in the “C” Crew. In 2011, Davis was promoted to Engineer/Driver. A year later, Davis became a Lieutenant for the “B” Crew and became a Captain in 2014.
Davis is a certified Master Firefighter and holds EMT and Instructor certifications. He is also certified with the Public Safety Diver Association as a rescue diver, and earned an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from Trinity Valley Community College. Davis was also the department’s administrator with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Education. In 2016, his peers named him the Firefighter of the Year.
“It’s an overwhelming experience and quite an honor and privilege to even be considered,” Davis said. “I am looking forward to working with everyone in the fire department and in city government.
“I would also like to express the importance of our mission to protect the citizens and city of Palestine.”
Alexander said Davis “recognizes that being a leader does not come with position, title, or rank.”
“He recognizes that leadership is not absolute; situations dictate response, and leaders react, make decisions, continually reevaluate performance, and alter objectives and tactics as required and I’ve seen him respond accordingly,” Alexander said. “My final decision to make Chief Davis our permanent chief came when he said ‘Since the fire service is a dynamic profession, leadership is required, expected, and, when absent, extremely noticeable. We prepare for the "what if" call, situation, or incident. We spend many hours training, discussing, and executing for the moment that we can make a difference. It is unrealistic to expect people to lead who have not prepared. It is improbable that the result of a dynamically changing event will be positive if preparation was not a focus, and previous performance was not evaluated.’
“Chief Davis asked that I and his Battalion Chiefs constantly evaluate his performance and challenge him to be the fire chief they desire,” Alexander said.
A veteran and Texas native, Davis lives in Frankston with his wife and children.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 2, 2017) – The Palestine Police Department is announcing an upcoming initiative to facilitate Neighborhood Watch programs throughout the city.
The Neighborhood Watch program has been in existence as a mainstream community involvement initiative since 1972. The main purpose of these programs is to create a partnership between the citizens in a local neighborhood and law enforcement, and empower the citizens with the ability to effectively improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods in which they live. The members of a Neighborhood Watch program participate in methods of crime prevention, as well as proactive problem solving in their own neighborhoods.
The Palestine Police Department wants to cultivate these partnerships and work with the community to foster crime prevention and help improve the quality of life for the citizens of our city. By utilizing Neighborhood Watch programs, the citizens are enabled to make effective contributions to the safety and serenity of their own communities, and assist Law Enforcement simultaneously.
The first Neighborhood Watch meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on March 15 at the City of Palestine Council Chambers, 504 N. Queen St.
“The Neighborhood Watch initiative is an excellent program that allows the citizens to be directly involved in the security of their own community,” said Interim Chief of Police John Herod. “Research has shown that communities that participate in Neighborhood Watch programs and observe and report suspicious activity have experienced a reduced crime rate.”
The intent of the first meeting is to provide information to any citizen, or group of citizens from a neighborhood, on the Neighborhood Watch program and to begin to provide start-up assistance for these initiatives. There will be additional meetings to continue facilitating the watch groups and to further the partnership with the community. Once Neighborhood Watch groups have been established, small group specific meetings can be held, with involvement from the citizens and the Palestine Police Department.
“This program fits seamlessly with the Community Policing model, as does some of our current programs, such as Citizens on Patrol and Coffee with a Cop,” Herod said. “We as an agency want to work fluidly with the community to solve problems in their neighborhoods and we realize the importance of the citizen’s involvement in the quality of life in our city. We hope that this initiative and other programs to come will prove to be successful and promote a continuous improvement in our relationship with the public.”
For further information on this program, or any other community policing event, please contact Community Services Liaison Bernadette Knowles-Capron at 903-731-8614.
At 8 p.m. Wednesday, utility crews will close the southbound lanes of Crockett Road (Texas Hwy. 19) near Rambling Road for water main repair. A detour will be available in the turn lane on the road and at East Vaughn Street. The road should be closed through Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.
PALESTINE, Texas (Feb. 28, 2017) – Voters in the City of Palestine will have the opportunity to decide if a portion of the city’s sales tax will move towards infrastructure.
The Palestine City Council voted Monday to call for a special election on the May 6 ballot to dedicate .125 percent (1/8th percent) of sales tax in the city of Palestine to repair and maintain existing city streets.
There will be one proposition on the May 6 ballot. Proposition 1 asks if voters want to move .125 (1/8) percent of sales taxes set for property tax relief to repair and maintain existing city streets for four years.
According to the state comptrollers office, sales tax in the City of Palestine is 8.25 percent, allocated into three areas. The state receives 6.25 percent, while Anderson County receives .5 percent. The City of Palestine receives the final 1.5 percent of the sales tax.
In 1988, voters decided to enact the 1.5 percent tax into two areas, funding city government and property tax relief. In 1998, that 1.5 percent was split into three ways. Currently, 1 percent of the tax funds city government, while .25 percent funds economic development and .25 is set aside for property tax relief.
If voters approve Proposition 1, the money designated would go into a dedicated fund that can only be used for maintenance and repair of municipal streets. Property taxes could rise as a result of Proposition 1.
Through direction of the council, the city will hold Town Hall meetings to discuss the proposed ballot measures. Those Town Halls will be announced at a later date.