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New Kilgore city manager proposes staffing change

By Glenn Evans
Nov. 8, 2011 at 11 p.m.

KILGORE - A new city manager was not shy in his first public meeting Tuesday as Scott Sellers proposed a staff change and listened as residents who live outside Kilgore voiced concerns about being annexed.

"I'm not saying we're against it," said Terry L. Dunn, one of almost 30 residents off the city's northeast edge who attended the first of two public hearings on annexing 261 acres along FM 349. "But then, we're not going to come in on the short end of the stick."

Like many of the seven or eight speakers Tuesday, Dunn wanted to know how joining Kilgore could benefit them. Many said they raise horses, one woman asking for a grandfather clause to keep doing that after annexation.

Others raised more country comforts such as burning leaves, and about half raised their hands when resident Mark Depaepe asked how many never received a letter informing them of the proposal.

Just as when the council annexed land on the south and east earlier this year, Mayor Ronnie Spradlin noted that the extraterritorial jurisdictions of Kilgore and Longview are almost kissing now and getting closer.

"So, real soon, this area will either be in Longview's or Kilgore's (extraterritorial jurisdiction)," the mayor said, prompting Dunn to respond he'd rather be in Kilgore.

"I don't like Longview, anyway," he said.

A second public hearing is set for Nov. 22.

Sellers, who started work Oct. 31 after holding a similar post in Montrose, Colo., earlier had announced a Main Street director has been hired.

Clara Chaffin of Colorado Springs, Colo., will bring experience in downtown revitalization, business development and tourism when she begins work on Nov. 28, Sellers said.

Sellers also proposed creation of a public works director's position on city staff.

He suggested not replacing a street superintendent who retires at the end of the year, hiring a public works director who also is an engineer and therefore relying less on the city's contracted engineering services.

He proposed the salary range between $65,000 and $75,000, noting the street director slot being emptied is set at between $65,000 and $71,000.

"We would use the existing salary and benefits that have recently been (announced as) vacated," Sellers said.



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