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Fannin County Commissioners Court approves zoning change, county wrangler issue resurfaces
By Allen Rich
Jun 12, 2019
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Fannin County, Texas -- All four county commissioners and the county judge were present for a regular meeting of Fannin County Commissioners Court June 11 and Rex Jackson of Boyd Baptist Church led the invocation and pledges.

John Vick, District Director for State Senator Bob Hall, and Jamie Baker, Director of Public Policy for Congressman John Ratcliffe, attended the meeting.

In public forum, one resident expressed displeasure at the procedure to determine what goes on the agenda for commissioners court and another resident complimented commissioners court for reimbursing a local rancher after loose cattle were rounded up by the county wrangler and the rancher was charged $2,650.

The simmering feud between the sheriff and commissioners bubbled back to the surface when Kathy Johnson, the sheriff's wife, castigated commissioners over their handling of the loose cattle incident, as well as the alleged hiring of felons and sex offenders.

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Commissioners approved minutes from a regular meeting June 4, 2019.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the Weisz family Change in Zoning applications from Residential (87.632 acres and 19.795 acres) to Retail/Commercial.

The Lake Zoning Commission of Fannin County recommended the zoning change to commissioners court and there were no objections to this change during a public hearing in Fannin County Commissioners Court.

Referring to plans by the Weisz family to develop a portion of Bois d'Arc Lake shoreline by building cabins, a wedding venue and possibly a hotel and marina, Fannin County Judge Randy Moore remarked, "This is what the lake brings to Fannin County -- revenue and construction."

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Commissioners approved an Order designating a certain area as BT Coniglio Solar, LLC Reinvestment Zone, for commercial/industrial property tax abatement under Chapter 312 of the Texas Tax Code. Commissioners approved an eight-year tax abatement that calls for annual payments of  slightly more than $55,000 from Belltown Power Texas in lieu of taxes during that time. At the end of eight years, regular taxation will begin. The solar farm, a $135 million project designed to produce 135 megawatts, will utilize existing high-voltage transmission lines.

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Commissioners approved the Final Plat for Bar D Ranch, a subdivision east of Leonard, Texas, located between State Hwy. 78 and FM 1553.

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Commissioners approved the updated Fannin County Employee Handbook. Commissioner Dean Lackey pointed out the autonomy afforded elected department heads under state provisions, as long as decisions by department heads don't impact county coffers.

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Commissioners approved the Fannin County Auditor's monthly reports for May and also approved payment of the bills.

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The final segment of regular meeting of Fannin County Commissioners Court is reserved for comments by county commissioners and the county judge.

Pct. 1 Commission Gary Whitlock expressed his support for the members of Fannin County Commissioners Court and Suzanne Stowe, administrative assistant for commissioners. Commissioner Whitlock said that Fannin County Sheriff Mark Johnson "chewed out" the commissioners' administrative assistant over a personal matter and intimated that a civil suit could be in the offing.

"I'm going to stand up for commissioners and I'll stand up for Suzanne Stowe," Commissioner Whitlock stated.

Pct. 2 Commissioner A.J. Self thanked the large crowd for attending the meeting.

"We want to do what is right," Commissioner Self commented. "We want to make a better county."

"We all have to work together," remarked Pct. 3 Commissioner Jerry Magness. "We serve you, the people. We pay respect to you and we ask that you pay respect in return. 

Pct. 4 Commissioner Dean Lackey invited everyone to attend the restoration groundbreaking ceremony at Fannin County Courthouse Tuesday morning.

"It will be a day to remember," Commissioner Lackey predicted, adding that the perimeter fence surrounding the courthouse will soon be moved out to the street to give construction crews additional space and that the scaffolding will go up in the near future.

Judge Moore reflected on Psalms, chapter 133: How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!

"We are not going to have unity as long as we are speaking against each other," Judge Moore said.