At the conclusion of Grayville city council’s meeting on Sept. 9, the mayor opened up the meeting for public comment. Len Thompson was there to express her discontent.

“I have lived in this town for 45 years of my adult life, and I have paid taxes all these years. Over 60 years I’ve spent here, and what I saw today sorely disappointed me.”

Thompson reported that she saw a cherry picker across the alley from her cutting the branches off of a pecan tree at her neighbor’s home. After seeing her neighbor piling up the branches by the curb, she decided to call city hall.

“I called JoEllen this morning and told her that this was all out on the curb, and that there had been a private cherry picker in there cutting this down. I didn’t want to see the city picking it up, and she said that they could pick it up on the fourth Friday of the month but they’d pay a fee.”

However, about an hour after Thompson had called city hall, she said a city pickup showed up at her neighbor’s house anyway.

“About 10 o’clock, I called back and told JoEllen that there was a city pickup out there and a twenty-foot trailer. And there was a backhoe or something out there picking this stuff up and putting it on the trailer and carrying it off.”

Thompson stated that she’s lodging her complaint because she’s “sorely disappointed to see that this was going on, because this was a private cherry picker that came in here yesterday and the city picked it up.”

While she may have taken issue with the fact that the city went and picked up the limbs, but her base argument is that doing so amounts to misfeasance. 

“This is a waste of our taxpayer money. Then, I was told that it was authorized by someone to do this. No, this was a private thing and you all shouldn’t be wasting our money taking care of this. The storm did not damage that. I think this should be checked into and stopped immediately.”

Thompson further branded this as the city overstepping their bounds or doing too many favors.” Utility Manager Scott Irvin was present to respond to Thompson’s claims.

“JoEllen talked to me this morning and told me what’s going on. I went and looked at it, and I called Steve Shelton—the gentleman in question. I talked to him and he said that there were limbs up there that he was worried about the safety and his kids out in his yard. He didn’t want those limbs falling down, so he had his uncle’s cherry picker. It wasn’t a contractor.”

Thompson shook her head while Irvine was speaking and then voiced her disagreement when he finished.

“No, I looked at it. There was probably half a cord of cut wood stacked in the back yard. No, I live there. I look out the windows at all times. I know what goes on in the neighborhood. Untruth! Untruth!”

Irvine responded to the Thompson’s claim that what they were told was “untruth.”

“He cut the limbs cut down, and he had to cut some other limbs to get up to the ones that broke off. With all due respect, ma’am, I saw the dead limbs. Some of it was stuff that he cut and some of it was damaged stuff.”

He explained that the community is still cleaning up after the storm that tore through town three weeks ago and that he is still helping people clear out the debris left by the storm.

“With a time like we’ve had, I’ve been trying to help everybody out. If you had a problem, we would help you; we have helped you out.”

She acknowledged as much but contested how much she thinks it’s costing the city to take care of these issues.

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