FERRIS – Representatives of the member cities of the North Ellis County Coalition of Cities met Thursday night for the second meeting since their organization began.

Meeting in Ferris this time, the representatives continued to set the foundation of their organization by adopting bylaws and selecting a chairman and vice chairman. Red Oak Mayor Alan Hugley was chosen as the chairmen with Ferris Mayor Bill Pardue accepting the vice-chairman seat.

After some discussion and clarification of terms, the group unanimously approved the bylaws with only minor changes.

The bylaws detail qualifications for membership, dues, election and duties of officers, meeting schedule and organization, and a provision for amendment procedures.

“The object of the NECCC is to cooperatively promote its member cities through regular interaction and dialogue,” according to the document.

The cities ratifying the bylaws were representatives of the member cities of Red Oak, Ferris, Palmer, Ovilla, Pecan Hill, Oak Leaf and Glenn Heights. The cities’ representatives included mayors, administrators and council members.

After the approval of the organization’s formalities, the group set out to address a list of items common the cities.

The first topic was the widening of Farm-to-Market 664.

“Widening FM 664, as I see it, is a project we need to start on very early,” Hugley said, telling the group of the difficulties it will face in getting the project funded. “You have to ask for everything you want and fight for everything you get.”

Joining the group was Pct. 4. County Commissioner Ron Brown.

“What you are doing here is long overdue,” he said, saying he has gone to Austin and talked to the Texas Department of Transportation to discuss highway funding.

Hugley continued the discussion saying there is a chance Loop 9 could die due to a lack of funding.

“I have been told reconstruction funds are easier to come by than new construction,” he said. “We need to work on this now. It’s all about timing.”

Other topics covered during the evening’s discussion were joint venture wastewater treatment facilities, regional animal control, a regional jail, joint investment in equipment and a regional park.

Both Brown and Palmer City Administrator Doug Young illustrated the necessity for wastewater improvements in the county. The discussion began with Young saying the concern is growth in the unincorporated county areas and those areas often becoming incorporated into a city.

Brown agreed, saying the concern also has been discussed in the commissioners court. 

Red Oak council member Ben Goodwin brought up the idea of a regional animal control. “We need a place for animal adoption with a regional animal control solution,” Goodwin said, with Pecan Hill Mayor Courtney Landsbaum saying animal control is a major issue with her city.

“We call the county and get very little support,” Landsbaum said.

Besides the listed discussion items, other topics brought up to the group were the financing requirement for East Texas emergency services and the possibility of a regional human resources service.

Hugley closed the meeting by asking the representatives to numerically rank each of the items so they can be discussed with the maximum benefit to all of the member cities.