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City Holds First Meeting In New Building

FUTURE GROWTH -- City Council members listen to Jesswasmi Thapa present the Texas Target Team’s plan for future growth of Buffalo. Pictured are Attorney Jerry Nowlin, Dorothy Farmer, Jarrod Jones, Mayor Dawkins, Dianne Ryder, City Secretary Debbie Waters, and Thapa in the center.

Members of the Buffalo City Council met Monday, October 22nd, for their first meeting in the new City Hall. All were present except Council Person Jerry Salazar. Buffalo Mayor Royce Dawkins presided.

Although the agenda was short, discussions over the issues took considerable time. Jeewasmi Thapa, the Program Coordinator of the Texas Target Team, presented the council with copies of the completed draft of the plans for the future growth of Buffalo. Thapa asked the council to look over it and advise on any changeds, questions, or concerns.

Thapa also gave an overview of how the plan was developed over the course of the last year, involving two semesters of Texas A&M students and graduate students, Thapa, and other advisers. Much of the input for the plan came from the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) appointed by the council and from two public meetings held in Buffalo and attended by Buffalo residents.

Thapa stressed the fact that the plan is a ?living document? and is only as good as the people, the council, will use it as a guide in planning for growth. Growth is coming to the area, having a plan in place helps control that growth and helps residents retain what they want to keep.

Buffalo School Superintendent Lacy Freeman, Dr. Russell Jonas, and Chase Glick, Vice President of Citizens State Bank, and other CAC members were present and voiced support of the plan for the city. Having the plan in place also helps the city qualify for state and federal grants for many city improvement projects. The plan includes a list of some of the grants that are available for which to apply.

Representatives of Waste Connections gave the council an update of the the waste disposal in Buffalo. The city contracted with the branch in Hearne, but that business downsized, so the branch from Palestine is now servicing Buffalo. Recently the company converted to automated front end loading trucks which are designed to make trash collection faster and neater.

Most of the time spend at council was on the agenda item concerning use of the new Civic Center. The council, along with their attorney, Jerry Nowlin, discussed what restrictions they wanted to include and also how much to charge. Most council members gave input and Nowlin said he would produce a Convention Center Use Agreement to be signed by those wishing to rent the facility.

The Civic Center portion of the building can hold 200 to 225 persons. There are new round tables and some long tables and plenty of folding chairs. The kitchen is large and has an ice-maker. Interested persons have already contacted the city to use the new facility.

Buffalo Chief of Police Lance Pavelka gave a report from his department. (The police department has moved into the old city hall building. Before the new City Hall was built, the police department had one small room in the back of the city building, now it can occupy the whole building.)

Pavelka reported that there were 51 calls for service since his last report and 95 citations issued. Included in the calls were two cases of attempts to pick up a child, one at the McDonald?s and one at Tiger Mart. Pavelka also cautioned motorist to slow down on the wet roads. ?We have seen an increase in accidents,? said Pavelka. ?Also watch for deer and wild hogs on the roadway.?

The mayor said that an open house for the new City Hall/Civic Center has been scheduled for December 7th.