Justice of the Peace Judge Derry Dunn swears in re-elected incumbent John Zerko, newly elected Mayor Pete Runnels and newly elected Councilman Ron Cowling. RECORD PHOTO: Mike Louviere.

Mike Louviere
For The Record

Changes on the Pinehurst City Council were the major orders of business at the meeting Tuesday May 22.

Outgoing mayor T.W. Permenter and outgoing council member Bob Williams elected to not attend, leaving the seat of the mayor and Mayor Pro Tem unoccupied. Sitting council members Dan Barclay, Dan Mohon, and John Zerko conferred among themselves and appointed Mohon to chair the meeting until the new mayor and council members were sworn in.

Election Judge Jane Long presented the vote tabulations to the council. Mohon and the council certified the election and then City Judge Derry Dunn presented Mayor-Elect J. L. “Pete” Runnels and Councilmen-Elect Ron Cowling and John Zerko election certificates for their signatures. After the required signatures on the certificates, Judge Dunn then gave the oath of office to the trio.

After the council seats were filled action was taken to appoint Dan Barclay Mayor Pro Tem for the current term.

Councilman Bill Triggs resigned from his seat on the council, stating “it is just time for me to retire. There are other things I want to do.”

Councilman Barclay stated that he had talked with Matt Chandler who had earned the third highest number of votes in the election. Barclay recommended Chandler be appointed to fill the seat vacated by Triggs. The motion was made, seconded, and passed to appoint Chandler to the council. City Attorney Tommy Gunn informed the council that Chandler may be sworn in at the next council meeting after the proper documents have been prepared for Chandler’s signature.

The current members of the city’s budget committee, Barclay, Zerko, City Secretary Debbie Cormier, and City Administrator Joe Parkhurst, were reappointed by Runnels for the current term.

Runnels appointed Cowling, Mohon and Parkhurst to serve as the negotiating committee for the city and the Pinehurst Police Association.

Pam Scales Crew, Mary Lou Gunn and Teresa Durocher were present as some of the citizens involved with the annual Labor Day Picnic. Crew and Runnels discussed the need for a committee to plan the picnic. Crew will determine the needs and make the appropriate contacts. The picnic will be held on Labor Day.

“The picnic is always held on Labor Day. That is something that will not change,” said Runnels.

The council voted to retain the current line of credit with Orange Savings Bank. Mohon did not vote on the issue.

“I will not vote on this issue, as I serve as a director of the bank and do not want anyone to think there is a conflict of interest,” said Mohon.

Code Enforcement Officer Harry Vines reported that the city is once again in negotiations with Shawn Sadaruddin about his property on MacArthur Drive.

The property has been in violation of various city codes for a number of years. Vines and Saddaruddin were able to meet in person and discussed the code violations. Saddaruddin agrees that his property is in violation of city codes and has agreed to seek bids from contractors to do a minimum amount of repairs on the building.

Vines is concerned that some sheet metal on the building is in danger of flying off in windy conditions. Vines is wanting Saddaruddin to replace the metal as soon as possible.

Gunn reported that the situation with Saddaruddin has gone on for years without much improvement being done. Barclay stated concerns about Saddaruddin doing the necessary work since there have been so many efforts in the past top get the work done.

The council voted to give Vines authority to do the necessary work if Saddruddin does not move in a timely manner. The city would then bill Saddruddin for the work and place a lien on the property to recover the cost.

“This is the old Video Paradise building, it’s been going on for about 10 years,” said Zerko.

After reconvening from a closed session, Runnels reported that the council voted to retain Dunn as city judge for a two year period. The council took no action on entering into an agreement with Fred Thompson about use of the warehouse building adjacent to city hall.

Parkhurst reported that he has had information received from TxDOT about the possibility of placing a traffic light on MacArthur Drive. TXDOT’s report stated that there is a large amount of traffic on MacArthur Drive, but not enough crossing traffic to warrant the installation of a traffic light.

TXDOT also reported that though there have been accidents involving both vehicles and pedestrians on the stretch of highway there have not been enough to justify the installation of lighting on the roadway and the expense of keeping lights operational. TXDOT stated the city has permission to install lighting at their expense.

Parkhurst also reported on the situation of the effluent from the city’s sewage processing plant. There will have to be a major upgrade in the future to meet environmental regulations. Adams Bayou does not have enough current to keep the effluent moving as the needs of the city to process sewage increase. The closest waterway sufficient to handle the effluent is the Sabine River.

If the city is able to enter into a regional agreement with another city there may be grant funds available for the project. The City of Orange made an unacceptably high proposal to the city combine sewage processing.

The city of West Orange has approached Pinehurst about combining processes. West Orange is planning to run a line down Western Avenue to the Sabine River, as the state requires. Parkhurst is planning to meet with West Orange officials in the future about the possibility of an agreement.

Parkhurst also reported on the need to replace the sewer lines on Whippoorwill. There is a possibility of grant funds for the project.

“Street repairs are also underway. We have completed 40th Street and are working on other streets to get them ready for the state to come in and do their part,” said Parkhurst.

City offices will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday. The next regular council meeting will be held on June 26.