News

Mon
09
Oct

Contest season begins for Tiger Band

The award-winning Wills Point Tiger Band’s marching season will reach another gear beginning this weekend with the group scheduled to kick off one of its busiest months with two contest performances.

The Tiger Band will be in action at five separate contests and events total during the month of October, including an appearance at the Mesquite Invitational at Mesquite Memorial Stadium Oct. 7 beginning at 11:15 a.m. and at the Sunnyvale Marching Invitational at Sunnyvale High School Oct. 7 with a preliminary performance at 4:30 p.m.

Other upcoming events for the Tiger Band are slated to include the Mineola Invitational Marching Contest Oct. 9, the Princeton Marching Contest Oct. 14 and the UIL Regional Marching Contest Oct. 25.

Wills Point will enter the event with plenty of momentum, recording numerous top finishes at events and contests during the previous school year, including placing fourth overall among all 4A schools at the UIL State Marching Contest.

Mon
02
Oct

ESD #4, WPVFD discuss contract

The Van Zandt County Emergency Services District #4 board and Wills Point Volunteer Fire Department covered familiar ground last week, discussing the contract between the two entities at the former's monthly meeting Sept. 19.

Board business began with several bookkeeping items, including approval of minutes of minutes from past meetings and a series of administrative updates before reaching an item listed on the agenda as “discuss and act as needed on a new contract with WPVFD for 2017-’18.”

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Mon
02
Oct

JH recognizes students, staff members

The Wills Point Junior High recently launched a new tradition, honoring student-athletes that have been leaders in the classroom and on the field, as well as the teachers that have inspired them to excel.

Casey Cochran, WPJH principal, explained, “We started a new tradition where the boys football coaches choose four football players for the week that have been leaders in the classroom and on the field. Those boys get to give their jerseys away to a teacher to wear throughout the day on game day. This is a way the teachers are recognized for how hard they are working in the classroom. The boys then recognize these teachers at the pep rally.

“They discuss why they chose the teacher and give an example of why they have made a difference for them this school year. I think this a great way to recognize our staff and hold our student athletes to high expectations.”

Mon
02
Oct

VZC citizens start petition process to limit tax rate

The process to call for a possible special tax rollback election in Van Zandt County has recently begun.

Chief Election Deputy in the VZC Clerk’s office Elsa Smith confirmed that two citizens have requested information on how they can start petition efforts to force the call of a tax rollback election by the VZC Commissioners Court.

On Sept. 12, the VZC Commissioners Court approved a 2017 tax year rate of $.615847 per $100 valuation after conducting two public hearings earlier in the month.

The 2017 tax year rate exceeds the preceding year’s tax rate ($.585847), the effective tax rate ($.552805) and the rollback tax rate ($.587864).

The effective tax rate is the total tax rate needed to raise the same amount of property tax revenue for VZC from the same properties in both the 2016 and 2017 tax years.

Mon
02
Oct

October calendar falling into place

Local residents will have plenty of activities and events to keep themselves busy throughout the month, with the return of several community favorite events looming just over the horizon.

VZCRA Fly-In

The Van Zandt County Regional Airport will be the place to be for the local community from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Oct. 14 with the return of the VZCRA Fly-In.

Fly-In events are scheduled to include hands on aviation fun for the whole family, a bounce house for children, a car show, prize drawings as well as the Civil Air Patrol breakfast and lunch.

The annual fly-in, which includes a series of events for both children and adults, has been the latest addition to a lengthy airport revitalization project that began back in 2007.

Mon
02
Oct

Busted pipe results in closure

Commuters traveling just north of Wills Point were slowed briefly after a major water leak near Tennessee Street temporarily resulted in Farm-to-Market 751 being cut down to one lane Sept. 26. City workers arrived on scene at approximately 7 a.m. to assess the damage before digging up the damaged pipe a short time later. Utilities Superintendent Matthew Neely advised that water to the Hillside Drive and Highland Avenue areas was cut off for approximately 30 minutes while repairs to the pipe were conducted, and that the southbound lane of FM 751 was reopened shortly after 4 p.m.

Mon
25
Sep

Commissioners approve hike in tax rate Increase to meet budget needs

In a 4-1 vote, the Van Zandt County Commissioners Court approved an increased tax rate for the 2017 tax year during their regular meeting Sept. 12.

Commissioners approved a tax rate of $.61587 per $100 valuation which exceeds the preceding year’s tax rate ($.585847), the effective tax rate ($.552805) and the rollback tax rate ($.587864).

The effective tax rate is the total tax rate needed to raise the same amount of property tax revenue for VZC from the same properties in both the 2016 and 2017 tax years.

The rollback tax rate is the highest tax rate that VZC may adopt before voters are entitled to petition for an election to limit the rate that may be approved to the rollback rate.

The new tax rate represents an increase of 5.121 percent, according to the commissioners’ court.

Mon
25
Sep

Mayor address tax, water rate increases

As the Wills Point City Council worked its way through the annual budget, the decision was made to increase our tax rate and the water rate.

The city is faced with a very aged infrastructure. Not too long ago a clay pipe was replaced and that pipe was stamped 1912. The major challenge is how to pay for upgrades and improvements.

The current tax rate of .70 has been in effect since 2005. Inflation, regulations, labor, insurance and materials have all increased annually and we simply cannot continue on the current path without additional funds. The council has taken an in-depth look at what we can do and we are taking small steps to bring us more in line with costs in order to increase our ability to do things. Changing the rate to .75 is the first step toward that.

Mon
25
Sep

Budget, tax rate finalized by council

The Wills Point City Council charted the course for its 2017-’18 fiscal year, finalizing its budget, tax and water rates for the year ahead at their monthly meeting held Sept. 12.

Business for the meeting opened with Patricia Howard and O.B. Thompson addressing the council during public comment.

Howard raised concerns about a piece of city owned property near her home that is need of mowing, and also road signs along Bama Street that was difficult to read for drivers traveling in the area.

also spoke during the public comment portion of the agenda, raising complaints about the Wills Point Police Department’s enforcement of a stop sign near his home.

The action portion of the agenda began with the council putting the finishing touches on a month’s long process that also included a series of workshops by approving the city’s budget for the 2017-’18 fiscal year.

Mon
25
Sep

First Class Sparks sets off on first year teaching

Editor’s Note: Prior to the start of the 2017-’18 school year, the Wills Point Chronicle asked the Wills Point ISD for permission to interview a new teacher about their experiences in the classroom at the beginning, middle and end of their first-year. This article is the first of a three-part series.

From a young age, Wills Point native Sally Sparks always knew she wanted to teach. That passion followed her across the country and back, as she left in Wills Point following graduation in 2005 to attend West Texas A&M in Canyon, to New York for a time, down to Oklahoma State to pursue her Master's degree, and out west to Seattle where she and her husband settled for the past five years.

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