Garden club drawing

Commerce Mayor Wyman Williams (left) drew the winner in the annual Louise Drake Garden Club raffle at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The lucky winner was Julieanna Ferrell, who’s name was drawn to receive a $1,000 Lowe’s gift card.

For the second time in as many months, the Commerce City Council tabled a measure that would establish a lien forgiveness program on properties within the city on Tuesday, and it looks as if the city will be starting from square one.

The proposed program was brought before the council in September, and they voted to table it to a later date for further discussion. The measure was brought before the council again Tuesday night and the result was the same.

Some of the requirements of the program would be a minimum lien value of $1,000, the value of improvements to a property must be at least twice the amount of the lien, and the improvements must be 80-percent masonry and a concrete driveway is required, among other items.

A formula is used to calculate how much of the lien is forgiven. The whole program is designed to spur interest in property investment in the city. The program is not mandatory and would be strictly optional.

Council member Beckey Thompson balked at the proposed program, saying that the requirements were too stringent and that it should be simplified. Thompson also believed that the program in its current state would solely provide benefit to those building new homes, and almost no benefit to those remodeling existing structures.

A few local home builders also spoke and gave their thoughts, echoing many of the sentiments that Thompson had shared.

Mayor Wyman Williams said that a new plan should be created that has different requirements for those building new homes and those remodeling existing properties.

The council unanimously voted to table the measure, and it may reappear at a later date.

Travis Ball and Arlana Martin with Texas A&M University-Commerce gave a presentation of the university’s newly-amended master development plan. The plan, which was originally adopted in 2012, is guiding the university’s development until 2032. But a few tweaks have been made.

The plan lays out current and future construction projects, as well as areas of potential development of university-owned land in Commerce, including the land around the Lone Star Eatery and the land south of the CVS Pharmacy.

A&M-Commerce President Dr. Mark Rudin spoke briefly to the council, stating that there are “plenty of opportunities for development” in Commerce.

The amended plan can be viewed online at

The Louise Drake Garden Club held their annual raffle, with Julieanna Ferrell being drawn as the winner of a $1,000 Lowe’s gift card.

A few items were passed by the council unanimously on second reading.

— An Ordinance amending Appendix “C”, “Fees, Rates & Charges” of the City of Commerce Code of Ordinances Fee Schedule; and providing an effective date. (Building permits are now $0.45 per square foot of the property instead of by property value, swimming pool permits are now $100 and there are now discounted rates at the Commerce Animal Shelter.)

— An Ordinance requesting a change in zoning by Rebecca Larsen, from A-2 Apartment Dwelling District to GB General Business District for the property known as Property ID: 37630, legal description A1140 Williams J, Tract 36, Acres 0.55, known as 210 Maple Street.

Sales tax figures for the first month of the new fiscal year were right on budget, with the city collecting $92,735. The final property tax figures for the last fiscal year came in, with the city seeing a 98.15-percent collection rate totaling $1,982,315, which is $83,761 higher than budgeted for.

The next regular meeting of the Commerce City Council is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 6 p.m.

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