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The Marshall City Council will host its first in person meeting since COVID-19 began on Thursday this week, where councilmembers for Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 will take the oath of office, before the group elects a new mayor.

Members of the Marshall City Council will reconsider items that were tabled during the last meeting regarding chattel slavery reparations and an apology for chattel slavery during Thursday’s virtual city council meeting at 6 p.m.

The item was brought onto the agenda at the last meeting by councilmember Marvin Bonner, after he was approached by Dallas filmmaker and activist Eric Williams, who authored the resolutions.

Along with the resolution regarding slave reparations, and an apology for chattel slavery in Marshall, another resolution that was previously tabled will be considered, which is consideration of approval to utilize a Chapter 380 Economic Development Grant promoting the city of Marshall.

If approved, the grant will go to Williams with his company Out the Box Production, at the cost of $186,000.

He said that the funds will be used to promote his documentary “Finding Miriam” which discusses his personal journey researching his family tree back to enslaved people in Harrison County. The money will be used to fund licensing fees for students in over 400 classrooms across Texas to watch the film for free, as well as pay for the promotion of the film across the state.

Additionally during the meeting, city council members will consider two public hearings, presented by Community and Economic Director Fabio Angell.

The first public hearing will be regarding a potential ordinance amending the official zoning map from general business and agriculture and estate to multi-family home for a location in the 2500 block of East End Boulevard South in Marshall.

The second public hearing conducted by Angell will be regarding the consideration of an ordinance amending the official zoning map from planned development to a single family detached, located at the 1300 block of South Garrett Street.

Each hearing will have a portion of time allotted for community members interested in address each ordinance to speak on it, outside of the regular citizens comments portion of the meeting.

Councilmembers will also consider approval of the allocation of 2021 hotel/motel occupancy tax funds during the meeting, which will be presented by the city’s new director of tourism and cultural arts.

Angell will also present to councilmembers Thursday on the potential approval of the city’s cradle entrepreneurship program, which was utilized in 2020 to assist mLife True, a local company, in the creation of their new COVID-19 testing kit.

Public Works Director Eric Powell will present a resolution for council approval on Thursday to suspend the effective date proposed by CenterPoint Energy to increase rates under the Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program for 45 days, and authorize the city’s continued participation in a coalition of cities known as the “Alliance of CenterPoint Municipalities”.

Powell will also present to councilmembers on a water/wastewater rate study that the department conducted on the city of Marshall during the meeting, followed by consideration of an ordinance to adopt the water/sewer rate structure, as outlined in the rate study presentation.

Additionally, a presentation of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone and consideration and action on a resolution approving a Preliminary Project Plan and Financing Plan for City of Marshall Reinvestment Zone Number One, and establishing the boundaries of such zone, will be presented to councilmembers by Angell on Thursday.

The resolutions also calls for a public hearing with regard to the creation of such a zone, providing an effective date and resolving other matters related to the issue during the meeting.

Councilmembers will also consider and act on an ordinance regulating the speed of motor vehicles upon a certain section of IH 20 within the corporate limits of the city during Thursday’s meeting, presented by Police Chief Cliff Carruth.

The ordinance would also authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to erect signs, prescribing penalties, repealing all ordinances in conflict with this ordinance and providing a savings clause; and declaring an emergency passage.

Two previously tabled items will also be considered by councilmembers on Thursday, starting with the potential approval of an ordinance amending Chapter 4 of the Code of Ordinances entitled “Animals and Fowl” Sections 4-19 through 4-25, presented by Chief Carruth.

The issue was tabled after concerns were brought up by Councilmember Amanda Abraham, which involved the spay and neuter ordinance being mandatory for all animals owned by Marshall citizens at the last meeting.

Council will also consider another previously tabled item, the approval of an ordinance amending the 2021 Annual Budget.

During the last city council meeting, councilmembers Abraham, Vernia Calhoun and Mica Fenton requested preliminary numbers from the 2020 budget and a full list of items needed to complete the new animal shelter project before they vote on the issue again this week.

This Thursday’s meeting will be hosted at 6 p.m. and will be conducted utilizing a video and audio conferencing tool, as well as, a standard conference call. Instructions and direct links to view the meeting or speak during Citizen Comment can be found at www.marshalltexas.net.

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