Several items made the agenda at the Pinehurst City Council meeting on Tuesday. The lead item on the agenda was the opportunity to join the Black Board Connect Emergency Notification System.

With the exception of the City of Pinehurst and Orange County all other entities are signed on with the system. Black Board is a system with the capabilities of sending out 3.2 million one minute messages in one hour. The system can be used to quickly notify citizens of emergencies of any type. The information may be transmitted by telephone, email, or text messaging. The cost of the system would be paid from a grant through the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission.

Data is entered into the system through a highly secure data collecting system. At present the data entered comes from landline telephone numbers. Persons using cell phones would have to opt in to have their information entered. Any citizen who did not wish to be a part of the system can opt out at any time.

The city would be mapped out in specific areas and any event in that area would be broadcast on the Black Board system. The mapping of the areas would be under the jurisdiction of the city’s emergency coordinator. An area subject to flooding conditions could be drawn; likewise an area subject to heave traffic events could be drawn as a separate area.

With the funding coming from the grant, the cost to the city would be $3.77 per year for the three year life of the grant. If the grant is not renewed, the city would have the option to opt out of the program with no penalty.

Following a presentation of the system by Jennifer Baylston, with Black Board and input from Sue Landry of SETRPC, the council voted unanimously to join the program.

Property located at 3628 was reported to be very substandard to city regulations. After negotiations with the city the owners agreed to have the property demolished at their own expense. The council voted to give them 90 days to obtain the necessary permit and do the demolition.

The council approved the date of May 12, 2012 for the election of the mayor and city councilmen. Mayor T.W. Permenter and Councilmen John Zerko and Robert “Bob” Williams will be up for reelection. The first day to pick up the election packets for anyone wishing to run for either office will be Feb. 5. The last day to obtain a packet will be March 5. If all three members up for reelection are unopposed, the city will have the option to cancel the election.

As required by state law the council voted to once again lease the jointly owned electronic voting machine. The law requires entities to have a machine available for any voter who may wish to vote by electronic machine instead of with a paper ballot.

After a report that there are two parties interested in using the former city hall on Mockingbird Street, the council decided to go into a workshop session at a later date to discuss options for leasing or sale of the building.

City Administrator Joe Parkhurst reported that the ribbon cutting and open house for the new city hall and police station will be held Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 10 a.m.

“Following the ribbon cutting we will be opening the city hall and police station from 10 until about noon for tours. We will also be serving refreshments at that time. We hope all of our citizens will come out and visit with us and enjoy our new facility,” Parkhurst said.